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Smokers targeted again

by TONI H / January 25, 2013 8:26 PM PST

Really???? Oregon and Obamacare)



>>>>Insurers won't be allowed to charge more under the overhaul for people who are overweight, or have a health condition like a bad back or a heart that skips beats — but they can charge more if a person smokes.

Starting next Jan. 1, the federal health care law will make it possible for people who can't get coverage now to buy private policies, providing tax credits to keep the premiums affordable. Although the law prohibits insurance companies from turning away the sick, the penalties for smokers could have the same effect in many cases, keeping out potentially costly patients.>>>

Since tobacco has been ruled as 'addictive', I would think that it would also be considered to be a 'pre-existing condition'.......but, not so much, according to this administration (who also has a President who still sneaks a smoke according to him) And this law DIRECTLY affects the poor who will be subsidized by the Federal government for those premiums.

Doesn't seem to matter that smokers actually REDUCE the cost of health care by dying earlier than those who live longer and due to age collect more in benefits, both in Social Security and medical costs.

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I wonder how much smokers cost employers
by Roger NC / January 26, 2013 2:41 AM PST
In reply to: Smokers targeted again

in more days off work for illness and health insurance costs?

Cost of health care isn't limited to what that individual directly cost medicare or medicaid.

Glad I did quit, I don't know how many who do smoke can afford it today. When I quit I was smoking between 2 and 3 packs a day. I wonder how much that would cost me today?

When I was smoking, I normally got bronchitis once a year that ended up requiring antibotics and prescription cough medicine for one to two weeks to get rest. Often I missed a couple of days of work too. Haven't had that recurring problem since I did quit.

Now if I could only control my overeating. No, that didn't start when I quit smoking. I may have gained a bit more immediately afterwards, but I gained weight gradually most of my life. The last decade has been a yoyo peroid, which is often said to be even worse for you than the weight. My knees and blood pressure though both indicate when I cross a certain point (a point that is way too high itself).

The last ten pounds of my weight maximum adds 15 to 20 to my systolic and 10 to 15 to my diastolic and a huge difference in how much my knees ache. If I get 10 pounds below that point, the size of the drop may be not as dramatic, but it still drops a surprising amount, down to about 115 over 65, which has surprised doctors at being that low given how much I still weight at that point.

Odd that, but it seems even though I'm still morbidly obese at that point, I have such a huge difference if I got over it. I guess its the straw that breaks the camel's back.

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I think there are far fewer
by TONI H / January 26, 2013 4:03 AM PST

missed work days because somebody smokes than there are for diabetics or parents who have a sick kid at home or a baby sitter doesn't show up or they have to take off to take their kid for a checkup or dental appointment.

In any event, obesity and diabetes, etc are considered to be pre-existing conditions along with addictions other than smoking, and yet none of those mandate that $5000 per year penalty ON TOP of the higher premiums that pre-existing conditions will cost. By the Feds own definition since the tobacco lawsuits, smoking IS AN ADDICTION.......but it is targeted all by itself and specifically for this extra charge/fee/penalty.

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Might be a difference when considering pre-existing
by Steven Haninger / January 26, 2013 4:17 AM PST

conditions of addiction and/or chemical dependency. I'd think that, like some group insurance plans offered to workplaces have done for some time, coverage has been focused on getting a person away from addictive substances. In the case of a smoker whose choice was not to quit, I can't think employers or their health insurers would be interested in covering diseases known to be caused by the habit. It's only been recently recognized in workplaces that coverage plans designed to prevent illness were better than those designed to treat it.

There have been some services offered to executives for a while such as on site workout suites and spas as these people are considered to be more difficult to replace when they get sick or die. Some of those services are beginning to be offered to other employees now. I am wondering of Obamacare might include or try to expand to cover personal trainers for those in the worst physical shape.

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Even if those added expanded coverages
by TONI H / January 26, 2013 6:37 AM PST

were offered later on, insurance companies would probably be mandated to provide it just as they are now required to cover birth control which would cause another increase in premiums......however, that doesn't explain why only smokers are being penalized with a $5000 fine on top of their already increased premiums.

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The oddity I'm seeing is increased copays and
by Roger NC / January 26, 2013 11:43 PM PST

deductible, but with more programs aimed at one addition or behavior or the other.

Our insurance this year raised the deductible from $200 to $300, but added a reimbursement of up to $300 for memberships in gyms, yoga class, zumba, etc. A gotcha is you can only submit once it seems, so you have to save any eligible cost recepts until either you get $300 or the end of the year.

I think our insurance does have higher deductible for tobacco users but I don't know what it is, I quit before I started working at my current employer.

There are limited programs to help with alcoholism, drug addition, emotional problems, etc.

Now with the physical training program reimbursement, they add obesity, or physcial fitness. For a while, juob insurane was adding preventative health care, mostly in the 90's. There is a movement to raise deductible for the morbidly obese, I think the state of NC employee insurance raised the deductibe for obesity this year.

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well I guess you can choose not to have kids
by Roger NC / January 26, 2013 4:28 AM PST

I did manage to quit, though it is very difficult.

It's all a personal bogeyman isn't it? a different one for everybody perhaps.

Me? it was smoking and fat, now it's just fat.

Odd you never mentioned alcholol addiction and it's problems in equating various conditions with smoking to demostrate smoking shouldn't be different.

I don't agree second hand smoke is always as bad as they make it out. Anyone that continues to smoke after developing heart problems, lung problems, etc must be totally addicted because they're taking suicidal actions.

A man I worked with died last year. He had asbestosis, yet continued to smoke a couple of packs a day. Now while some claims against smoking may be debateable, it's pretty obvious conclusion from statistics and data that smoking when you know you have exposure to asbestos and actual lung damage is self destructive. Statistics pretty much indicate the same if you have heart conditions or other problems related to heart conditions.

Other acts perhaps should as punished as smoking, including my obesity perhaps athough so far it's only really showed up in my knee and hip joint pain.

I've not known anyone that quit smoking that didn't admit to feeling better afterwards even while they admit the attraction never totally disappears. I quit smoking in the first quarter of 86, and occasionally still feel an urge, especially when I'm next to someone smoking. I'll not risk it again even on a limited basis though.

My wife quit after we met, she quit because of the price, but admitted after a few months she felt better.

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by TONI H / January 26, 2013 6:38 AM PST

I did neglect to mention alcohol addiction, and that is also covered as a pre-existing condition and not being penalized.

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(NT) So smoking should be accepted as a nonhealth issue?
by Roger NC / January 26, 2013 6:45 AM PST
In reply to: Yes....
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I didn't say that and I don't
by TONI H / January 26, 2013 7:43 AM PST

understand where you might have thought that. I'm saying that since the Feds themselves have determined that smoking is an addiction, it should be also put into the same classification as other addictions and health issues that are considered to be pre-existing conditions and be waived from that additional $5000 penalty along with the others. Smokers is the ONLY category being targeted for that penalty.....and that penalty is in addition to the higher premium that all pre-existing conditions face.

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(NT) Insurance companies are irrational, Toni. Sorry to say Rob
by Ziks511 / January 31, 2013 3:03 AM PST
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It's NOT the insurance companies
by TONI H / January 31, 2013 6:34 AM PST

that have mandated/demanded that extra $5000 penalty/fine.....it's part of Obamacare and it's targeting a specific group just BECAUSE IT CAN and smokers have always been an 'easy' target.

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Also consider.....
by Josh K / January 26, 2013 11:32 PM PST

.....how much time smokers spend away from their desks on smoke breaks.

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(NT) About as much as time as pee breaks, I'd guess
by TONI H / January 26, 2013 11:53 PM PST
In reply to: Also consider.....
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don't know about that
by Roger NC / January 26, 2013 11:59 PM PST

most smokers I know, including me in the past, well try to get a cigarette in at least once an hour, many will if they can get one every 30 minutes. The worse will smoke even more often.

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When you have a workforce
by TONI H / January 27, 2013 12:03 AM PST
In reply to: don't know about that

where the majority of the people have quit or have never smoked compared to twenty years ago, and a smoke-free environment as most businesses are today, there are far more people taking a pee break now than the smokers are breaking. Many places of employment now also have smoke-free zones OUTSIDE so no smoke even comes wafting into the doors......so smokers would actually have to leave the premises and possibly smoke in the parking lot or in the cars or even further away. Those smoke breaks are less and less all the time so that argument from liberals just doesn't hold water anymore.

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the ones that have quit save the company money?
by Roger NC / January 27, 2013 12:18 AM PST

so all the anti smoking campaign is helping business?

The comparison would be between the ones that can't smoke at work and the ones that can. Obviously if no one is allowed to smoke on company property, pee breaks are more. Stacking the deck?

Claiming pee breaks cause more lost time than smokers using smoke free properties in the equation is one of those statistical tricks to prove what you want.

Didn't realize that smoking was a Democrat/liberal vs Republican/conservative issue.

I smokd for over 15 years and was close to 3 pack a day average when I quit. There wasn't much daily pressure in 87 to quit, but I'm thankful for any influences that help me to decide to quit. I'm still not convinced that second hand smoke is as serious and deadly in general as it has been made out to be, but I do believe everyone would be better off not to actively smoke. I won't vote for outlawing it, but I urge anyone that does to stop.

I do believe it makes illness worse, respiratory illness and heart disease certainly. It may not even be a primary cause, but it's a major and deadly contributor to illness and death.

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About those "pee breaks" and just to make trouble
by Steven Haninger / January 27, 2013 12:21 AM PST

Men take far less time than women and also tend to go into the restroom solo rather than in pairs. Go figure. Happy

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(NT) one point in favor of men I guess.
by Roger NC / January 27, 2013 12:37 AM PST
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there have been times
by James Denison / January 27, 2013 2:40 AM PST

I wished they also had perfume free zones. Wink

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(NT) a few individuals....... amen
by Roger NC / January 27, 2013 2:44 AM PST
In reply to: there have been times
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Once again, ridiculous, Toni
by Josh K / January 27, 2013 10:21 AM PST

I know of nobody who goes for a pee break anywhere near as often as smokers go for smoke breaks, for for nearly as long.

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So you focus on the pee breaks
by TONI H / January 27, 2013 7:20 PM PST

regarding lost time at work because I happened to sarcastically mention it and choose to ignore how much time is lost at work for family or personal time off that usually is an entire day or more each time. OK.......have it your way......smokers are the reason companies lose money so they SHOULD be targeted with heavy fines by the government when company alcoholics, obese, drug users, etc. are given a free pass by this same government.

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Take all the breaks that non-smokers take....
by Josh K / January 27, 2013 9:37 PM PST

....and then add roughly ten minutes per hour for smoke breaks (which can quickly turn to more if a group of people are outside smoking at the same time and start chit-chatting), and that's how much more time smokers are costing their employers than non-smokers. Some companies have rules that smokers have to use their lunch hour for smoke breaks and eat at their desks.

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So you concede
by TONI H / January 27, 2013 10:16 PM PST

>>>Some companies have rules that smokers have to use their lunch hour for smoke breaks and eat at their desks.>>> that at least THOSE companies are losing more money by people taking personal or sick family members time off than smokers? Glad that's settled.

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Not at all
by Josh K / January 27, 2013 10:22 PM PST
In reply to: So you concede

Nice attempt at adding 1+1 and getting 5 though.

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In any event
by TONI H / January 27, 2013 11:48 PM PST
In reply to: Not at all

You seem to be just fine with having ONLY smokers targeted for that additional $5000 fine imposed by the Feds as a punishment for risky behavior, but no other group? Since when does the government have that much control over any private citizen's behavior and that a specific group of citizens can be targeted.......since THIS president evidently.

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RE:having ONLY smokers targeted for that additional $5000
by JP Bill / January 29, 2013 11:54 PM PST
In reply to: In any event
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88 years old?
by James Denison / January 30, 2013 12:27 AM PST
In reply to: In any event

Darn, I'm gonna eat more often at Burger King!

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How do you compare people taking
by Roger NC / January 28, 2013 7:13 AM PST
In reply to: So you concede

personal or sick family members time of to smokers anyway?

No smokers take personal or time off for sick family members?

As a former heavy smoker, and knowing many others in the 70's and 80's, I have to believe that smokers take as much time off as anyone else for other reasons, and then need their smoke breaks too.

BTW, is that also a complaint against the family medical leave act?

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Shouldn't that be up to each business?
by James Denison / January 28, 2013 3:01 PM PST

As to what they allow in the way of smoke breaks or not?

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