A Double Whammy for Smokers: An ObamaCare Tax
The Affordable Care Act…allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums starting next Jan. 1.
For a 55-year-old smoker, the penalty could reach nearly $4,250 a year. A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of premiums…
Take a hypothetical 60-year-old smoker making $35,000 a year. Estimated premiums for coverage in the new private health insurance markets under Obama’s law would total $10,172. That person would be eligible for a tax credit that brings the cost down to $3,325.
But the smoking penalty could add $5,086 to the cost. And since federal tax credits can’t be used to offset the penalty, the smoker’s total cost for health insurance would be $8,411, or 24 percent of income. That’s considered unaffordable under the federal law. The numbers were estimated using the online Kaiser Health Reform Subsidy Calculator.
John C. Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a free-market think tank established in 1983. The Wall Street Journal and the National Journal have called Goodman the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.” Goodman’s health policy blog is the premier right-of-center health care blog on the Internet. It is the only place where pro-free enterprise, private sector ...