Tobacco Surcharge for Premiums

Can I be charged higher premiums in the Marketplace if I smoke?

In most states, yes. Generally, an insurer can charge as much as 50% more for a person who uses tobacco products. For example, if the premium for somebody your age (before any tax credits are applied) would otherwise be $200 per month, if you are a tobacco user your premium could be increased to $300 per month. States can prohibit insurers from applying a tobacco surcharge or further limit the tobacco penalty and some have done so. Below we have provided the list of states that limit or ban tobacco surcharges:

States that have banned tobacco surcharges: California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont

States that have limits on tobacco surcharges: Arkansas (20%), Colorado (15%), and Kentucky (40%)

Some insurers who do charge more for tobacco users are charging the less than maximum amount they can under the law.  Check with your state Marketplace to learn more about tobacco surcharges and how they work.
If you qualify for premium tax credits to reduce the cost of Marketplace coverage, this tax credit amount will be based on the premium before the tobacco surcharge is applied, which means that a smoker must pay the full cost of the surcharge.

While we have made every effort to provide accurate information in these FAQs, people should contact the health insurance Marketplace or Medicaid agency in their state for guidance on their specific circumstances.

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