30 Second Insurance Tips©

Tip 163- Premiums Based On Age & Smoker Status

Small groups – those with from 2 to 50 employees – applying for health insurance, no longer have to complete health statements. Subject to regional variation, insurers set rates based only on age and smoker status.

For a ‘typical’ silver plan, for example, the single premium for a 21 year old is $295 per month; for a 64 year old, $885. Note the spread between the oldest and the youngest can be no more than three times; before ‘Obamacare, that spread could be a factor of ten.

Insurers can charge more for smokers. Looking again at a typical rate chart, premiums for smokers under age 35 are no different but diverge every year after that. At age 40 the difference is about 12 1⁄2% ($424 vs $376); at age 60, 22 1⁄2% ($981 vs $800).

Thus, to accurately quote a group today, we need birthdates and smoker status of all covered employees and dependents.