Today’s News: States Sue Gov’t Over Health Overhaul, Senate Votes Down NFIP and Smokers Pay More for Insurance

The government is in the process of battling state attorneys who say it does not have the Constitutional right to force people to carry health insurance while a study has found that Kansas smokers are likely to pay more for their coverage. In other insurance news, Senate has voted to not renew the National Flood Insurance Program for the time being.

States Sue Government Over Health Overhaul

The federal government is preparing to respond to at least 20 state attorneys that have filed suit against it to stop it from requiring all Americans to carry health insurance.

According to current health care reform law, nearly all legal residents who do not carry health coverage will be required to pay a penalty of at least $695 per person annually or 2.5 percent of income starting in 2014. The attorneys are arguing that the government is trying to impose a tax unlawfully but the government is denying this claim. States hope to at the very least give their citizens the right to deny coverage without penalty. (Wall Street Journal)

Senate Votes Down National Flood Insurance Program

After allowing the National Flood Insurance Program to expire with other pressing bills at the end of May, the Senate has yet to reinstate the program, which is leaving thousands without the flood insurance coverage they need. Unfortunately, when another opportunity came to reinstate the program, the Senate shot it down because it was incorporated in a piece of legislation that lawmakers did not want to pass. With hurricane season just getting started, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies is pleading with Senators to pass the legislation so that homeowners won’t go unprotected this season. (US Insurance Online)

Kansas Smokers May Pay More for Insurance

In Kansas, as well as other parts of the country, smokers are being charged more in health insurance benefits for lighting up. Employers are trying to find ways to lower health care costs and have determined that charging more for coverage benefits to smokers could offset the costs, especially since smokers have a greater likelihood of health problems in the long run. The “tobacco-user surcharge” for some is $35 per two-week pay period. And for those who want to lie about their habit, immediate termination is a strong possibility. (Claims Journal)