E-Cigarette Users May End Up Paying More For Insurance

A customer holds the electronic cigarette he purchased at a store in Miami.i i

hide captionA customer holds the electronic cigarette he purchased at a store in Miami.


Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A customer holds the electronic cigarette he purchased at a store in Miami.

A customer holds the electronic cigarette he purchased at a store in Miami.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

People may think that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco, but insurers might not agree.

Tobacco use is one of just four things that insurers that sell health plans on the individual market can take into account when determining someone’s premium: age, geographic location, and family size are the other three. People who use tobacco can be charged up to 50 percent more than nonsmokers.

Under the rules, use of any tobacco product four or more times a week on average in the past six months could subject someone to the tobacco surcharge.

But 10 states prohibit or restrict insurers from applying the tobacco surcharge in the individual market, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

So the big question will be if insurers end up classifying e-cigarettes as tobaco products. The battery-powered devices simulate cigarette smoking, producing a smoke-like vapor that usually contains nicotine and flavoring agents.

The Food and Drug Administration moved toward deeming

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/05/20/314228497/e-cigarette-users-may-end-up-paying-more-for-insurance?ft=1&f=131849999

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