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article imageQuitting smoking provides Obamacare incentives

By Tim Sandle     Dec 11, 2014 in Health
A company called ValuePenguin.com has published a study which found that Obamacare enrollees who have quit or reduced their smoking could see their premiums cut by as much as one-third with a non-tobacco rate.
Quitting smoking is difficult, but it can lead to health benefits. It might also cost less too in terms of insurance. Last month Digital Journal reported that scientists identified a primary reason why many cigarette smokers struggle to kick the nicotine habit. This was to do with the "feeling" of happiness (or “anhedonia” in psychology-speak.)
Although there is a recognized biochemical pathway for addiction, evidence suggests that health promotion is working in several counties, like the U.S. This month the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that cigarette smoking rate for U.S. adults had fallen, over an eight-year period, from around 21 percent (in 2005) to just under 18 percent in 2013.
Reducing smoking delivers health benefits (and arguably this is more important for men than for women). There are also potential economic benefits, depending upon the health system that a person uses. To be officially classed as a smoker, by the U.S. government for the purposes of insurance, this means “the use of a tobacco product or products an average of four or more times per week within a period no longer than the past six months.” This does not include the use of tobacco products for religious ceremonies.
The website ValuePenguin (a consumer finance site) has commissioned a study into smoking and insurance. The data indicates that many existing enrollees into the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare” health insurance) are unaware that opportunities for lower premiums exist (if they have given up smoking) or that they are paying more because of their tobacco use.
This partly relates to a lack of clarity in terms of the information provided by the U.S. government. The anonymous shopping tool on Healthcare.gov, for instance, does not explain clearly what a Smoker vs. non-Smoker is. Sates using Healthcare.gov will automatically renew enrollees if they take no action by Dec. 15. Therefore, it is important that U.S. citizens who could achieve lower premiums take action this week.
More about Obamacare, Smoking, Health insurance
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