The cost of smoking? VA House passes bill that could reduce insurance premiums for tobacco users

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – By a vote of 77 to 27, the Virginia House passed HB 675 on Monday, repealing a provision of state law that allows insurance companies to charge smokers higher premiums .

The bill generated little discussion in the House during its third reading, proceeding to a vote without comment from the assembled delegates.

But the legislation could put a lot of money in the pockets of some Virginians – provided they use tobacco.

Under current VA law, smoking is one of four main criteria insurers can use to set premium rates. Smokers may pay up to 50% more than comparable groups who do not smoke, reflecting the expectation that they will suffer from higher rates of lung cancer and other health problems.

The legislation still needs to pass the Senate and get the governor’s signature. If so, smokers could see their premiums drop in 2023.

According to the Virginia Legislative Information System, the bill was introduced on the recommendation of the Joint Commission on Health Care.

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