In Virginia, residents who smoke can expect most insurers to charge them more for coverage.
Virtually everyone in Virginia needs to pay for health insurance in some way, and that coverage is going to cost more for the large percentage of residents of the state who also happen to be smokers.
As a result of the considerable medical risks associated with smoking, insurers often charge more to smokers.
In Virginia, 20 percent of workers also happen to be smokers, and experts have said that the risks associated with this habit can also cause health insurance premiums to rise. While this factor is not necessarily a standard in the premiums calculations across all insurers, it often appears as a surcharge for policies within the state. The reason that this is the case is that smokers have a greater likelihood of experiencing serious and/or long term medical issues. As a result of this, a growing number of insurance companies in the state are requiring that people who smoke pay higher premiums in order to compensate for that increased risk.
This practice in health insurance premiums calculations is not without its controversy, but most smokers have accepted it.
Many people feel that it is their right to choose to smoke if they wish to do so and it should not be something for which they are penalized when it comes to the premiums that they must pay for a health plan. That said, there are others who have made the choice to smoke and accept the fact that this does come with a higher risk that also has a higher price tag. They see it as a part of what must be accepted if they choose to keep up the habit.
According to Charles Webb, who runs the insurance exchange in Virginia, “Insurers are allowed to charge up to 50 percent more for smoker versus non-smoker.” That said, he does call that upper figure quite high. On average, though, he pointed out that smokers will usually pay insurance premiums that are about 20 to 27 percent higher than their nonsmoking counterparts.
He said that “Whether we look at heart disease, cancer, etc…smokers do consume more health care over the courses of the year than a non-smoker would.”
This does not come as a surprise to the majority of smokers. Most people who smoke are more than aware that their habit comes with a risk of medical consequences and that as treatment for those illnesses costs money, they know that higher health insurance will end up being the result for it.