Insurance Providers Look To Milk E-Cigarette Users For Higher Premiums

The absurd vilification of e-cigarettes and the people that use them continues. First it was power mad local and state governments rushing to regulate vaping simply because it ‘looked’ like smoking. They were quickly joined by the Federal government and their co-conspirators in big medicine and big pharma trying to protect their financial interests. Now insurance companies are itching to categorize e-cigarettes as ‘tobacco products’ despite the fact that they contain no tobacco.

Not surprisingly, its difficult to figure out anything concerning the health insurance industry. The plodding Obamacare leviathan hasn’t helped matters and has very likely made them much worse. Currently, 10 states prohibit insurers from charging a ‘tobacco surcharge’ at all. In the remaining 40 states insurers routinely charge higher premiums for several forms of insurance–primarily health and life coverage–for regular use of tobacco. Some companies cut customers a break for smoking premium cigars or pipes which despite their own vilification by the anti tobacco kooks carry significantly lower health risks. Most people don’t have a problem with charging cigarette smokers higher premiums since there are demonstrable and significant health risks associated with it. Never mind the fact that there’s been considerable research by the inimitable Jacob Sullum and others that suggests that smokers may carry a lower net cost due to the fact that they don’t live as long.

It’s obvious why the insurance companies would love to charge the ‘tobacco surcharge’ for e-cigarette use. Assuming that it’s justified for cigarette smokers due to higher risks (and that’s not a proven fact) from a profit/loss standpoint its a ‘wash’ for the insurance company. With e-cigarettes they can charge higher premiums for a product that almost certainly has lower health risks and resulting lower costs for the insurance company. In other words, the ‘e-cigarette surcharge’ would be pure profit for insurance companies.

The hypocritical and illogical rush by government regulators and their minions to classify e-cigarettes as a ‘tobacco product’ is unlikely to abate anytime soon. With the kneejerk reaction of many state and local governments to restrict vaping under anti-smoking laws the insurance companies will have perfect cover to extract more money from people for their doing what they’ve been encouraged to do for years–trying to quit smoking.