If you are currently a smoker, you are likely paying higher health insurance premiums than non-smokers. But how can you reduce those premiums? In this article, we’ll discuss how to quit smoking and other tips to keep your health insurance premiums down. In addition, we’ll discuss exclusions of health insurance coverage for smokers. Smokers face higher premiums due to the increased risk of contracting a variety of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.
Health insurance premiums for smokers are higher than those for non-smokers
In 40 states, insurers can increase the premiums of smokers by 50%. This surcharge is not eligible for subsidies and must be paid in full. However, some carriers consider smokers as “smoker-friendly” and don’t charge a smoking surcharge. As long as the insurers don’t refuse coverage to smokers, they cannot raise their premiums by more than 50%.
The higher cost of healthcare is one of the reasons that health insurers charge smokers more than non-smokers. Among other reasons, smoking is associated with higher healthcare expenses. In particular, smokers tend to fall in the low-income category. According to a recent study, the prevalence of smoking is higher in low-income communities. Smoking is the leading cause of hospitalizations. Smokers also cost hospitals more than non-smokers, which forces insurers to pass on the costs to people with insurance.
Smoking increases the risk of contracting a wide array of diseases
In one study, smokers were more likely to report the onset of symptoms of COVID-19 than nonsmokers. Smokers were also more likely to report five or more symptoms than nonsmokers, suggesting more severe cases. Compared to nonsmokers, current smokers were twice as likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19. And the risk of death from COVID-19 was twice as high among current smokers.
Moreover, smokers have higher rates of many respiratory diseases. COVID-19, for example, increases the risk of pneumonia, respiratory infection, and bronchitis. Further, patients with COVID-19 who smoke have a weakened cardiovascular system. These are serious complications of COVID-19 and can even lead to death. Smoking is known to increase the risk of contracting various diseases, including cancer.
Quitting smoking can lower health insurance premiums
Smoking increases your insurance premiums, so quit smoking to lower your premiums. Insurers consider five factors when setting your premiums: location, tobacco use, plan category, and coverage. Other factors like gender and cost of living are not considered. Nevertheless, these factors all play a role in determining the price of your monthly premium. Keeping these things in mind when selecting a plan is essential to your budget.
In the study, nearly 80 percent of respondents who had health insurance were current smokers. Of these, only 7 percent were ex-smokers who quit smoking for 30 days or more. However, the difference was not significant after the first quarter. Even after six quarters, quitting was associated with a lower health insurance premium for former smokers. So, is quitting smoking really worth the investment? Absolutely!
Exclusions from health insurance coverage for smokers
There is a growing concern that tobacco surcharges will dampen the enrollment of low-income smokers in health insurance plans. The individual mandate will fully take effect in 2016 and could severely erode low-income smokers’ enrollment rates. In addition to the health care costs, tobacco use is associated with a wide range of illnesses. Smokers are particularly susceptible to respiratory diseases, including emphysema, asthma, and lung cancer.
There are exceptions to the MEC mandate. For example, casual smokers may be exempt from the tobacco surcharges as long as they do not smoke for four hours a day or use tobacco products at all. In addition, smokers who can prove that their smoking habit is a hardship may not be penalized. But a smoker who wants to get coverage without the high premiums should know that the ACA does not require tobacco surcharges.