Insurance companies raising premiums for smokersFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - There are plenty of reasons to quit smoking and to eat healthier and your monthly healthcare premium may be one of them.
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - There are plenty of reasons to quit smoking and to eat healthier and your monthly healthcare premium may be one of them.
Natasha Penner is one of 50 million Americans with no health insurance.
NATASHA PENNER – Student: "Because I can't afford it, I'm looking into it."
Penner was quoted between 100 and 150 dollars for a monthly premium, but that was before she started smoking, now she could be paying up to 20-percent more than that depending on the insurance company.
GREG OMDAHL - Warner and Company Insurance: "They have higher chances for example lung cancer, heart disease."
SARA OLSON – Smoker: "Basically if you're a non-smoker, you can get exactly the same thing as a smoker, everybody should be treated equally."
But not all smokers agree.
"That's our fault, that's our responsibility. It's our health, no one else should be taking care of us if we're not taking care of ourselves."
There's another twist to this healthcare issue. Not only do smokers pay higher premiums, but high risk individuals such as those suffering from obesity may find it hard to get insurance at all.
"Either deny or accept individuals with pre-existing conditions."
State group insurance is available to those who are denied standard coverage, but it typically costs about 20-percent more due to higher claims.
“It's just a way that protects people so no matter what they can have health insurance."
Insurance that may be pricey depending on your lifestyle. Many employers are now offering smoking cessation and weight loss programs to help offset premiums.