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Low entry requirements for smokers’ club

| September 19, 2013

Recent U.S. health-care reform allows insurers to adjust premiums for tobacco users, which could cost them up to 50 percent more than the cost to otherwise similar non-tobacco users, according to a story by Robin Erb for the Detroit Free Press.

Tobacco use is the only habit for which an insurer can penalize a consumer under the federal law, so the important question is: Who is a tobacco user?

Erb writes that you’re considered a tobacco user if you’ve used the product on an average of four or more times per week within the past six months.

But an insurance company cannot take tobacco use into account to set premiums if the tobacco user is younger than 18.

And insurers cannot penalize people for tobacco used for religious or ceremonial purposes.

If an insurer discovers that someone lied about his or her tobacco-use status, it cannot drop coverage but can charge for additional premiums retroactively.

Category: Breaking News

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