The Obama administration announced this week that because of a computer glitch, some tobacco users trying to get insurance coverage next year will face smaller penalties than were originally called for in the Affordable Care Act (Source: “A break for smokers? Obamacare glitch may limit penalties,” Associated Press via Columbus Dispatch, July 9, 2013).
According to a June 28 Health and Human Services Department announcement:
"Because of a system limitation ... the system currently cannot process a premium for a 65-year-old smoker that is ... more than three times the premium of a 21-year-old smoker."
Older smokers are more likely to benefit from the glitch because insurers would likely have charged them stiffer penalties than younger tobacco users. But depending on how insurers respond to it, it's also possible that younger smokers could wind up facing higher penalties than they otherwise would have.The announcement indicated that the computer glitch will take at least a year to fix.