Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

October 25, 2013

Smokers will pay higher premiums

Subsidies won't bring down higher costs.

[Editor’s note: On Jan. 1, 2014, significant portions of the Affordable Care Act will be implemented. Every Friday until then, Kokomo Tribune will answer common questions about how the changes will affect health care consumers, including the personal responsibility mandate, the expansion of Medicaid, new health care exchanges and more.]

Q: I heard health insurers can charge smokers higher premiums than nonsmokers. Is this true? How much more?

A: There is one pre-existing condition that insurance companies can discriminate against under the Affordable Care Act: smoking.

Insurers can charge smokers more than nonsmokers for their health insurance premiums, said Kathy Young, CEO of St. Joseph Hospital.

In fact, said Jennifer Lyons, a financial planner with Bucheri McCarty & Metz LLP, insurance companies are allowed to charge smokers up to 50 percent more. She said tobacco use is defined as the use of any tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff and pipe tobacco four or more times a week within the past six months.

“States can mandate a lower surcharge percentage or no surcharge percentage for tobacco use,” Lyons said. “However, Indiana is not one of those states.”

There is some good news for people who smoke, Craig Dunn, financial planner at Liberty Financial, said.

“The good news is that previously, smokers who might have had health conditions that may have prevented them from getting coverage at any cost will now be able to get coverage,” he said.

That’s because insurance companies can no longer deny health coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Young said the exact premium will depend on a number of factors, including what type of plan chosen, household income and the number of people living in the household.

Reuters reported the penalty for smokers goes beyond the higher premiums. Premium subsidies that the ACA makes available to the poor and lower-middle class are based on a formula that subsidizes an individual or family so they do not have to pay more than a certain percentage of their income out of pocket for their insurance. However, under the law, those subsidies cannot be applied at all to pay increased rates for smokers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Coroner searching for relatives of deceased man The Howard County Coroner’s office is trying to find a relative of Kenneth S. Crockett, who passed away Monday at his residence. Crockett , 74, died of natural causes at his residence in the 100 block of West Markland Avenue, Howard County Coroner Ja

    August 1, 2014

  • Bus crash 1 8-1-14 UPDATE: Maconaquah bus crashes on first day of school w/VIDEO

    A Maconaquah school bus transporting elementary students collided with a Jeep Liberty at the intersection of 800 South and U.S. 31 Friday morning on the corporation's first day of fall classes for the 2014-15 academic calendar.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miami County struggles through computer shutdown PERU (AP) — A northern Indiana prosecutor has harshly criticized other officials in his county for not adequately dealing with computer problems that have effectively brought some business to a halt. Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said Miami County governme

    August 1, 2014

  • Waterford Place looks to 11 senior living duplexes to campus More senior living options could be on the way in Kokomo.Waterford Place Health Campus, located in the 800 block of St. Joseph Drive, is looking to expand with 11 new senior duplexes after receiving approval from the Kokomo Plan Commission’s plat com

    August 1, 2014

  • Trial dates moved in Wagoner clinic drug case Trial dates for seven of the eight people charged in the Wagoner Clinic prescription drug case have been moved to Oct. 3.Several of the suspects – including Marilyn Wagoner, the wife of Donald Wagoner, the former head of the clinics – were set to sta

    August 1, 2014

  • NWS - Summer Fest 02 Russiaville Summer Fest starts Friday RUSSIAVILLE — You think you can knock a baseball out of the park? There's a contest for that. If you love to sing, there's an activity for that. If you're afraid to sing but know the words to your favorite song, there's an activity for that, too. The

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • July 2014 has been the coldest on record Veteran Indiana residents are familiar with the old adage as it pertains to weather: "Hang out, it's sure to change." And, change it has. Just 24 months removed from the hottest July on record in 2012, the National Weather Service announced late Thur

    July 31, 2014

  • One injured in motorcycle crash A 50-year-old man suffered chest injuries when he crashed his motorcycle at Washington and Lafountain streets Wednesday afternoon. A Kokomo Police Department accident report stated Tommie Barger of Kokomo was driving a 1983 Honda 1100 south on Lafoun

    July 31, 2014

  • BMV offering driver tests in 11 languages INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is now offering drivers tests in 11 languages other than English that are spoken across Indiana. BMV Commissioner Don Snemis said Wednesday the decision was made at the urging of businesses, un

    July 31, 2014

  • Tionna Brown 02 Kokomo celebrates Tionna Brown's gold medal victories Little boys with pretend gold medals around their necks fought Wednesday to get their pictures taken with a pint-sized superstar who had won three real gold medals for herself. Twelve-year-old Tionna Brown just returned from Texas after competing in

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
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