Penalties will hit in January of 2014
If you smoke or are overweight, you are going to be penalized when the Affordable Care Act really kicks into gear in eleven months.
Insurance companies, depending on how old you are, could penalize you by as much as $5100 if you smoke, and we haven’t even talked about higher premiums, which are coming as well. Lisa Dahm of the South Texas College of Law told KTRH there has to be a better way to go.
“I’d rather see somebody be rewarded for the good behavior that they have and give them something to strive for. In other words, maybe your premiums would be 50% less,” Dahm said.
Former State Representative Patricia Gray, now the Director of Research of the Health Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston, told KTRH that smokers and the overweight need support, not punishment.
“We need support programs to help people change their behavior,” Gray said.
Gray says hurting people financially isn’t the answer.
“The penalty itself isn’t going to be very effective,” Gray explained.
And Dahm says these penalties would get the same results as overcrowding our jails.
We put people in jail, but unfortunately they continue to be crowded and they get released early. It’s not the deterrent that it was at one time,” Dahm stated.
Analysts say that one result of these higher penalties would be that some people would simply be unable to afford to have health insurance.