Although an insurance company cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums based on a person’s health status, insurance carriers may charge tobacco users up to 50% more than non-tobacco users in the individual marketplace.
Q. I only smoke a little, can I get a little break here?
A. Yes you can. The regulations define tobacco use as the use of tobacco on average of 4 or more times per week within no longer than the past 6 months. You are also not a tobacco user if you use it for religious or ceremonial services (for example by American Indians or Alaska Natives).
Q. I smoke more than that. Could I just tell a little lie?
A. Obviously, I don’t condone telling lies. Telling lies can create all kinds of problems and can even potentially get your health insurance cancelled. However, if you are caught lying about using tobacco, the insurance carrier will not cancel your coverage. Instead you will be forced to pay the tobacco user premiums back to the date you got the coverage.
Q. I have a “friend” who smokes certain “herbs” for recreation. Would this be considered tobacco use?
A. Not unless, these “herbs” have tobacco in them.
Q. Any other good news for smokers?
A. Yes. Insurance carriers can only charge higher premiums for people who can legally use tobacco. If your underage
children like to smoke, your premiums will not be affected.