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Tobacco Use Penalties Delayed

By Sean Lee, WWJ Health Reporter

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Yet another delay in the federal health care overhaul may be good news for smokers.

Some smokers trying to get coverage next year under the Affordable Care Act may get a break from tobacco use penalties that could have made their premiums unaffordable.

The Obama administration has quietly notified insurers that a computer system glitch will limit penalties that the law says the companies may charge smokers — and the fix will reportedly take at least a year to put in place.

Experts say older smokers are more likely to benefit from the glitch, but depending on how insurers respond to it, it’s also possible that younger smokers could wind up facing higher penalties than they otherwise would have.

Remember: Those new health insurance exchanges go online October 1.


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