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The Smokers’ Surcharge: Smokers Penalized with Health Insurance Premiums (New York Times)

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More employers are penalizing workers who smoke, are overweight or have high cholesterol levels by charging them more for health coverage.

Reed Abelson writes about that trend for the New York Times in an article that draws on survey data from Towers Watson and Mercer.

Abelson notes that the percentage of large employers imposing penalties has doubled in the past two years, to 19% this year. The percentage could double again next year, he writes.

Abelson quotes Kristin Madison, a professor of law and health sciences at Northeastern University, who suggests that the practice could lead to antiselection, by letting employers use the penalties to drive away employees or potential employees who are unhealthy.

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