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Whom Will Hit Health Law Smoking Penalties

By Expert Author: Bernard Fowler

Cassil, a former smoker, said tobacco users can quit if they put all their effort on that. Their health gets improved immediately when they quit and if they don't quit, premiums for everyone else rise because many smokers start suffering from various chronic health conditions.

Thus these people have higher costs because they engage in an unhealthy behavior. This was made to try to keep insurance affordable for as many individuals as possible. Linda Blumberg, who focuses on health insurance research at the Urban Institute said that the federal exchange includes 26 states that will use the tobacco penalty. However, 8 states have decided not to use it at all.

She said that state exchanges may also decide to charge a lower-than-50% surcharge. Through the Affordable Care Act, the extra tobacco cost is not eligible for the subsidies that low-income policyholders can receive to help them pay for insurance.

Georges Benjamin, executive director at the American Public Health Association, a public health advocacy group considers that penalties will touch some groups harder than others. Tobacco disproportionately targets low-income groups which are more likely to suffer from a number of tobacco-related conditions.

That means low-income people may be taking a harder financial hit when they may need more help, especially if they are dealing with conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or lung cancer.

Instead of penalizing smokers financially, sit would be a good idea for states to provide therapy to help them quit as addictions don't work like that.

The American Lung Association also opposes tobacco surcharges, said Jennifer Singleterry, the group's manager of lung health policy. Smokers should be helped to quit, but not punished for not doing so.

The surcharge could cost people hundreds or even thousands of dollars more, depending on a person's policy and if they are already being charged more for age..

People don't usually quit when they're forced to, they quit when they're ready.
Singleterry said she also worries that smokers' family members, who have higher rates of asthma and other health issues, would also go without care.

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