Some policyholder may be able to dodge increased premiums for tobacco users with these products.
The healthcare reforms have allowed health insurance companies to factor smoking into premiums calculations, so that tobacco users will typically be required to pay a higher amount than those who do not.
The surcharge every year for this habit can be as much as $5,000 for smokers at higher ages.
However, as of yet, electronic cigarettes have not been included in this regulation, meaning that smokers who make the switch to these devices may be able to avoid paying the higher health insurance premiums. It is not known whether or not this savings opportunity will last, as these products still provide their users with a dose of nicotine, but at the moment, the healthcare reforms have yet to include them in the same group as tobacco.
The higher health insurance costs are a part of a campaign that has two primary parts.
The first part is to help to compensate health insurance companies for the higher health risks that smoking generates, which lead to greater medical costs for their policyholders. The second part is to help to encourage smokers to quit the habit, in order to lower the risk of these illnesses in the first place.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched its most recent anti-smoking campaign two years ago. According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, from that agency “With additional effort and support for evidence-based, cost-effective strategies that we can implement now, we will have a significant impact on our nation’s health.”
Now, a part of the country’s strategy includes hitting smokers – who already spend an average of $2,190 per year on cigarettes – in the wallet once again. Statements about medical consequences are showing that they have a great deal more weight when they are backed with financial struggles associated with the habit. Paying less on health insurance may be just the incentive that some individuals need to quit.
However, for others, it may be enough to have them switch to electronic cigarettes, which are currently categorized differently from tobacco and, at least for a time, may help smokers to keep their premiums lower.