Prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies in Kansas, and in most states, were allowed to consider health status and history when calculating premiums of individuals applying for health insurance. However, as of January 1, 2014, insurance companies are only allowed to consider the applicant’s age, geographic location and tobacco use when calculating premiums.
The ACA established a tobacco surcharge of up to 50 percent (at each state’s discretion) on premiums for tobacco users.
The Kansas Health Institute (KHI) has released an issue brief entitled States Vary on Higher Premiums Paid by Tobacco Users Under the ACA, which explores the implementation of the tobacco surcharge and the impacts on Kansas consumers. KHI based its analysis for this brief on conversations with state and national insurance industry representatives and health policy experts.