Share This Page

Pennsylvanians sound off on Obamacare: Penalty won't be enough to make smokers kick habit

| Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, 11:53 p.m.
Sterling Carlisle

For health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Sterling Carlisle and thousands of other smokers will have to pay an annual penalty of hundreds of dollars.

Yet Carlisle doesn't think that will be enough to deter many people who are addicted to cigarettes. Pack-a-day smokers in Pennsylvania pay more than $2,400 a year toward their habit.

The law will keep smokers from paying higher insurance premiums as a result of pre-existing conditions.

β€œIt sounds fair,” said Carlisle, 24, of Highland Park. He pays about $200 a month for individual health insurance, provided through his employer, and would want to see whether online, government-run insurance exchanges offer a better price.

Exact rates through the exchanges will hinge on a participant's age, location and income, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services won't release those prices until Tuesday.

Government figures show smokers' premiums could run as much as 50 percent higher than regular individual rates. The difference could amount to an effective smoking penalty of $1,500 or more each year.

β€” Adam Smeltz

Related Content
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.