RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — By a vote of 77-27, the Virginia House passed HB 675 on Monday, axing a provision of state law that allows insurance companies to charge higher premiums for smokers.
The bill sparked little discussion in the House on its third reading, proceeding to a vote without comment from the gathered delegates.
But the legislation could put a lot of money in the pockets of some Virginians – provided they use tobacco.
Under current VA law, tobacco use is one of four main criteria insurers can use to set premium rates. Smokers can pay up 50% more than comparable groups who don’t smoke, reflecting an expectation that they will suffer from higher rates of lung cancer and other health issues.
The legislation still has to pass in the Senate and get the governor’s signature. If it does, 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.