Are you a smoker looking for affordable health insurance? Well thanks to “Obama Care”, aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), things just got a little more complicated. Under the new law, the ACA allows for insurance companies to charge smokers up to 50 percent more than non-smokers through a tobacco surcharge based on a patient’s “tobacco rating”. Despite the fact that this is permitted, not all states have chosen to execute this charge. For instance, Arkansas, Colorado, and Kentucky all have respectively chosen to charge less than the allowed 50 percent premium. While California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington D.C. prohibit the Tobacco Rating completely.
Not everything about the Affordable Care Act has been negative for smokers. For instance, before the passing of the ACA, health insurance providers could take your health risks, history, and habits into account when deciding whether or not to deny coverage. Now, coverage can no longer be denied to current or former smokers. Plus, smokers can now have prevention and treatment options available to them directly through their insurance coverage.