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Covered California Q&A

Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Tobacco Use Surcharge and Affordability

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Question: Why is the Exchange opposed to charging higher premiums for tobacco users?

Answer: Consumer groups have advised the Exchange board that rating-up tobacco users will raise an additional obstacle (higher premiums) to a group of people who need to be insured. I think that’s a mistake. We need affordability to be job one. I believe that issuers should to be allowed to use the tobacco use rating factors (up to 50% premium surcharge) permitted by the ACA . If carriers are allowed to set their own tobacco rating factors rather than having them set by the state, premiums for all Californians will be lower.

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