Friday, April 12, 2013

Insurance Companies Can't Charge More to Smokers

So we have all sorts of programs to discourage smoking, based on price.  We tax cigarettes, and we do it at the federal level, but we also do it at state and local levels.  Here is a map of the level of taxes on a pack of coffin nails.

So, as Art Carden says in his haikus (which he spells hiakus....), "Tax something, and you will get less of it."  I'm not sure this is an appropriate use of the tax system, to promote or discourage particular behaviors, but okay.

Still, there is surely one place where having differences in prices for smokers makes sense, right?  In insurance.  Overall, the costs of smokers may even be less than other people, because they die younger.  But in the coming year, if you are 50, the likelihood that you will need medical treatment for all sorts of things is higher if you smoke than if you don't.

But....but....but....the DC Health Commisariate, which taxes smokers extra, just for recreation, refuses to allow insurance companies to charge more for the actual higher costs that smokers impose on the health system per year.  They say the cost is "prohibitive."  But....but....but...if it is THAT expensive, why does it follow that the people who cause the cost shouldn't have to pay it?

A nod to MH

UPDATE:  spelling corrected to "hiakus"


Anonymous said...

the second link of your post points to the same address of the first, is it intentional?

Anonymous said...

Mungowitz, this would be a killer post if you had the proper sauce for the 2nd link.


charu latha said...

Thank you , Chris, I found this exercise highly interesting.

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