Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Workers who quit smoking, lose weight, and eat right could have their health insurance premiums cut by as much as half, possibly saving them thousands of dollars per year, under a measure inserted with little notice this week into the Senate healthcare overhaul bill.

Under existing federal law, companies that offer group health insurance can offer a maximum 20 percent discount to employees who can show they have taken steps to improve their health. The new measure would raise that discount to 30 percent and enable the Obama administration to raise it to 50 percent.

The measure could have the most impact at larger companies that are self-insured or provide insurance through a private company, and would likely have less impact at small businesses or those with limited health plans, analysts said.


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