Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

July 9, 2013

Glitch may limit penalties for smokers in new health care law

(Continued)

If an insurer tries to charge more, "the submission of the (insurer) will be rejected by the system," it added.

Starting in 2014, the law requires insurance companies to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing medical problems. But it also allows them to charge smokers up to 50 percent higher premiums — a way for insurers to ward off bad risks.

For an older smoker, the cost of the full penalty could be prohibitive.

Premiums for a standard "silver" insurance plan would be about $9,000 a year for a 64-year-old non-smoker, according to the online Kaiser Health Reform Subsidy Calculator. That's before any tax credits, available on a sliding scale based on income.

For a smoker of the same age, the full 50 percent penalty would add more than $4,500 to the cost of the policy, bringing it to nearly $13,600. And tax credits can't be used to offset the penalty.

The underlying reason for the glitch is another provision in the health care law that says insurers can't charge older customers more than three times what they charge the youngest adults in the pool. The government's computer system has been unable to accommodate the two. So younger smokers and older smokers must be charged the same penalty, or the system will kick it out.

That's not what insurers had expected. Before the glitch popped up, experts said the companies would probably charge lower penalties for younger smokers, and higher penalties for older ones.

"Generally a 20-year-old who smokes probably doesn't have much higher health costs than someone who doesn't smoke in any given year," said Larry Levitt, an insurance market expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "A 60-year-old is another story."

The administration is suggesting that insurers limit the penalties across all age groups. The HHS guidance document used the example of a 20 percent penalty.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Breaking News
  • 2 men die in separate apparent drownings near Rockville and Morocco ROCKVILLE, Ind. (AP) — State conservation officers say two Indiana men have died in separate apparent drownings. Officers say 29-year-old Terry Johnson of Veedersburg died after divers pulled him Monday from Raccoon Lake near the Parke County town of

    July 22, 2014

  • Former Hartford City councilman sentenced for child molesting HARTFORD CITY (AP) — A former northeastern Indiana city councilman and retired teacher has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on child molesting charges. A Blackford County judge ordered the sentence on Monday against 66-year-old John Adams. He ple

    July 22, 2014

  • 6 Indiana projects get national humanities grants INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three universities in Indiana have been awarded a total of $1.25 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The endowment announced Monday that Indiana University's Indianapolis branch campus is receiving $1

    July 22, 2014

  • 2 in custody after Greene County man found slain in home SOLSBERRY (AP) — Indiana State Police say two men considered persons of interest have been taken into custody after a Greene County man was found slain in his rural home. Sgt. Curt Durnil says Indianapolis police took 35-year-old Jason Lee Caldwell o

    July 21, 2014

  • Hopkins to pay $190M after doc taped pelvic exams BALTIMORE (AP) — Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to more than 8,000 women whose bodies may have been videotaped or photographed by a gynecologist using a pen-like camera during pelvic exams. Dr. Nikita Levy was fired in February 201

    July 21, 2014

  • Comic Con-Toys [Duplicate] Comic-Con offers toy designers a chance to go wild LOS ANGELES (AP) — When it comes to designing the highly coveted collectible toys for sale at Comic-Con, the annual celebration of pop culture lifting off Thursday in San Diego, the sky's the limit for the designers at Mattel. Fittingly, the building

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Downed jet victim was NW Indiana exchange student DEMOTTE (AP) — An Indiana University graduate student's boyfriend who died with her on the downed plane in Ukraine had spent six months in northwestern Indiana as a high school exchange student. Jenny Jonkman says Laurens Van Der Graaff came from the

    July 21, 2014

  • New alcohol charge against John Mellencamp's son BLOOMINGTON (AP) — The 20-year-old son of rock star John Mellencamp faces an underage drinking charge while awaiting resolution of charges that he and his brother seriously injured a man in a fight. Monroe County court records show Hud Mellencamp of

    July 21, 2014

  • Dump truck crash kills 1, closes southern Indiana highway FRENCH LICK (AP) — State police say a crash that killed a dump truck driver closed a southern Indiana highway for several hours as crews worked to remove the vehicle from the roadway. Police say 28-year-old Gared Blake Allen of West Baden was driving

    July 21, 2014

  • Dump truck crash kills 1, closes southern Indiana highway FRENCH LICK (AP) — State police say a crash that killed a dump truck driver closed a southern Indiana highway for several hours as crews worked to remove the vehicle from the roadway. Police say 28-year-old Gared Blake Allen of West Baden was driving

    July 21, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller