Category Archives: Affordable Care Act

Oops, “Smokers’ glitch” means smokers won’t pay more for “Obamacare” coverage — for the moment

smoking coverage photoHah, OK, this is actually kind of funny. An example of government bureaucracy at its best.

Under the Affordable Care Act, smokers were looking at paying up to 50 percent more than non-smokers through government insurance plans sold to small companies or individuals.

BUT, the ACA also allows insurers to charge three times more to older workers than what they charge to younger workers. That limit is set in stone — 3X more than the lowest premium is the most an insurer can charge. So, the problem is for an older person who smokes, the formula should be 4.5X more than the minimum premium amount … but that conflicts with the 3X maximum.

So, in short, the Obama administration had to scrap the whole smokers’ surcharge for the time being until they can figure out a new formula to fix this. What I’m buffudled by is … no one thought of this or noticed it until now….? Really? They didn’t think of it when they wrote the bill to begin with?

So, possibly for another year, smokers getting insurance through ACA programs won’t see higher premiums than non-smokers, but in the long run, they will.