Health Insurance – Another Reason to Quit Smoking

In case you needed another reason to ditch your ashtray… Did you know that smokers pay more for their health insurance than non-smokers, if they have to get an individual/family policy? If you’re currently covered on a group plan through your employer, you may not have given this much thought over the years. But what if you leave your job and your new employer doesn’t offer health insurance, or you become self-employed? Or if you decide to retire before you’re 65 and eligible for Medicare? Then you’ll be in a situation where you need to find an individual policy. These plans are medically underwritten, and the insurers can and do charge more for tobacco users. In some cases, it may only be 10% more, but in general the older you get, the bigger the difference. For example, United HealthCare’s current price for a 56 year-old male in good health who does not use tobacco is $368/month for a traditional plan with a $1500 deductible. That same man would be charged $497/month if he smoked. That’s $129/month. More than $1500/year that could have been put in an IRA or a vacation fund or tickets to the movies. In Colorado, Humana would charge this man $557/month for a $1000 deductible policy as a smoker, but only $389/month as a non-tobacco user. That’s over $2000/year that he’d save just on health insurance premiums by not smoking. We all know a hundred different reasons to quit smoking, and now you have one more.

About Louise Norris

Louise Norris has been writing about health insurance and healthcare reform since 2006. In addition to the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, she also writes for,, Verywell, Spark by ADP, and Boost by ADP, and Gusto. Follow on twitter and facebook.


  1. If dying isn’t a concern for them, but saving money on their health insurance is – that’s f’d up.

  2. It’s not that dying isn’t a concern, but (take it from someone who’s trying to talk a loved one out of smoking right now) you’ll tell them whatever you need to to make it stick. It’s hard to get through to people with an addiction, and dying can be too hard to conceptualize. Your wallet, on the other hand, is much easier to understand.

    I just found this (though I know it’s old), and I’m adding it to my Delicous page/arsenal (for my next ‘when are you thinking about quitting’) convo. Thanks for the post!

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