Surcharges for Smokers May Jeopardize Access to Insurance Coverage

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For consumers in most parts of the country, 2015 is the second year in which they can shop for an individual health insurance policy without being charged a higher price because of their health status. Yet under the Affordable Care Act, insurers offering plans for individuals and small businesses can still charge more based on the number of people covered under the policy, their age, where they live, and whether they use tobacco.<br /><br />
In a <a href="/blog/2015/insurance-premium-surcharges-smokers-may-jeopardize-access-coverage">new blog post</a>, Georgetown University’s Justin Giovannelli, Kevin Lucia, and Sabrina Corlette explain that states face significant choices when rating insurance premiums for tobacco use. Drawing on a <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2014/dec/implementing-affordable-care-act-state-approaches-premium-rate">recent issue brief,</a> the authors review the reasons for and against the practice, and describe how some states have chosen to limit the power of insurance companies to raise prices on tobacco users beyond the health law’s standards. Read the post