Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 16, 2013
A majority of Americans thinks it's OK to charge higher health insurance rates to smokers, but not to overweight people, according to a Gallup poll released this week. That may have something to do with the fact that a majority of Americans are indeed overweight, while only 1 in 5 adults are smokers. But the attitude has implications for health plan policy designs going forward, especially in the Affordable Care Act era. The federal health care overhaul gives states the option of allowing insurers that participate in the online health care exchanges to charge higher premiums to smokers -- up to 50 percent higher than the standard rate.