One nice thing about the Affordable Care Act which most people agree on is that it forced health care companies to get rid of “preexisting conditions,” the idea that they were allowed to deny or restrict coverage because of a chronic illness or other expensive medical condition. Even expecting mothers were given the boot by using this excuse. These days, there are only two questions a health care provider is allowed to ask before offering health plans: your age, and whether or not you smoke.
You’re probably aware of the horror stories and the scare tactics used by the government and by nonprofits which are designed to convince you to stop smoking. You’ve seen the lungs full of tar, the lumps left by mouth and throat cancer, and you may have seen someone with a tracheostomy speaking into a voice box placed at the neck. But while not every smoker dies from complications arising from tobacco smoke, there is a very good reason why health care providers are still allowed to ask that one question.
Over 50 years ago, the Surgeon General first spoke out against tobacco smoke and linked it directly to lung cancer. Over that half century, the relative number of smokers has gone down by more than half, from 43 percent to 18 percent, and recent studies have shown that we’ve saved a significant amount of health care dollars in the process.
One recent study conducted by the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education in San Francisco has shown that California saved $15.4 billion by smoking less than the national average in the year 2009. If the whole nation cut back on smoking by just 10 percent, we could save $63 billion in health care costs.
Individual smokers would benefit, too. Not only are there the immediate savings that come from not buying packs of cigarettes, they also qualify for lower premiums and their lung health will start to improve over time. Smoking is a hard habit to break, but there are plenty of reasons to try. Another way you can save on health care costs is by getting a USA Rx pharmacy discount card. Singing up is simple and free, and when you present it to any of 60,000 pharmacies across the nation, including every major chain, you’ll be able to enjoy discounts of up to 75 percent off of prescription drugs. To learn more, you can email us at [email protected] or call our toll-free number at 888-277-3911.