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Wed Apr 10, 2013, 12:40 PM

 

Smokers will pay same rates as nonsmokers in D.C. insurance exchange

With less than six months until the District’s health insurance exchange is set to debut, policymakers have made another momentous decision that will affect how much residents pay for coverage.

On Monday, the D.C. exchange’s executive board voted to prevent insurers from charging higher premiums to smokers than to nonsmokers — meaning nonsmokers are likely to pay modestly higher rates than if smoking surcharges were permitted. The District joins three states — Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont — that have banned tobacco surcharges on their own exchanges.

Mohammad N. Akhter, chair of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange board and a former city health director, said the authority had no hard data on what cost impact banning tobacco surcharges might have on nonsmoker premiums. But he said the vote furthers the board’s policy of encouraging broad participation in the exchange.

“It makes public-health sense to make sure we do the right thing by the people,” he said. “Smoking is an addiction, and we just want to give people a fair shot to participate in the health care exchange.”


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/mike-debonis/wp/2013/04/09/smokers-will-pay-same-rates-as-nonsmokers-in-d-c-insurance-exchange/

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Smokers will pay same rates as nonsmokers in D.C. insurance exchange (Original post)
Paul E Ester Apr 2013 OP
bemildred Apr 2013 #1
HappyMe Apr 2013 #2
bemildred Apr 2013 #3
Kurska Apr 2013 #4
Paul E Ester Apr 2013 #5
Kurska Apr 2013 #7
HiPointDem Apr 2013 #6
timdog44 Apr 2013 #8

Response to Paul E Ester (Original post)

Wed Apr 10, 2013, 12:50 PM

1. Everybody should pay the same rates.

Otherwise you will have cherry-picking of the healthy.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 10, 2013, 12:52 PM

2. I agree.

Different rates would also be a logistical nightmare.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 10, 2013, 12:54 PM

3. It turns it into a racket. nt

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Response to Paul E Ester (Original post)

Wed Apr 10, 2013, 01:12 PM

4. Excuse the extreme analogy: But should someone addicted to heroin pay a higher rate? n/t

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Response to Kurska (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 10, 2013, 01:30 PM

5. Assuming they have the means to pay, yes.

 

Take a run of the mill junkie, who is constantly going to the ER to scam pain pills.

Getting abscesses from shooting drugs of unknown quality.

Getting rescued after ODing,

Going to medically based rehab ordered by the court over and over.

Assuming they have the ability to pay for all those extra services they use, they should pay for it. In some ways they do through co-pays.

What's wrong with providing incentives for being sober, losing weight and stopping smoking? Why charge non smokers for the illnesses of smokers when there is a giant revenue stream from cigarette sales that can pay for it instead.

Add a tax to high fructose syrup next.



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Response to Paul E Ester (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 10, 2013, 05:34 PM

7. Because a heroin junkie is going to be even less able to average person to pay for health insurance.

Is it not cruel to charge them an even higher rate?

I think the question strikes to philosophy of the health system.

Is health insurance something provided only to those who are able to pay and willing to work for it?

Or is health insurance a human rights, but one that you should contribute monetarily to so that everyone else can get it aswell?

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Response to Kurska (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 10, 2013, 01:33 PM

6. the purpose of insurance is to spread risk. when you start picking through everyone's risk

 

factors and tiering charges, two things happen:

1. you increase the cost of insurance (it takes a lot of personnel to do all that picking and more to monitor when a claim is made)

2. you provide incentive for removing supposedly high-risk persons from the system.

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Response to Paul E Ester (Original post)

Wed Apr 10, 2013, 07:16 PM

8. All people's addictions are diseases that

need to be conquered. Whether drugs, sugar, salt, over eating. We all need to pay equally because we all suffer equally, whether directly or indirectly. And all can share the blame, if that is what some want to call it, for the health problems of others. Poverty is a big problem that leads to diseases. We all share in that. So, those that can pay, should pay and those who can't, should not be forced to pay even more. We are obliged to help.

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