Additional charge to health benefits
There is a change to the amount employees may be paying for health insurance. Please read the entire announcement below, because how this is administered will be complicated:
Assuming the budget provision is signed into law, a $50 monthly surcharge will be added to the employee contribution for state health insurance effective with January 2014 coverage UNLESS THAT EMPLOYEE ATTESTS that he/she is not a tobacco user (turns in a form and swears they do not use tobacco).
o This applies to employees only. Tobacco use status of dependents will not be collected.
o Under federal guidelines, tobacco use is defined as using tobacco four or more times per week. It includes any tobacco use, such as cigarettes, chew, cigars or pipes.
ALL EMPLOYEES WITH HEALTH INSURANCE must complete an attestation of tobacco use.
o If employees fail to attest that they are non-smokers and are incorrectly charged the surcharge, THE SURCHARGE WILL NOT BE REFUNDED.
o Upon discovery that a tobacco user falsely attests to being a non-tobacco user, the employee will pay surcharge retroactively to beginning of plan year or six months, whichever is less.
o “Look-back” period of six months, meaning employee must be tobacco-free for six months before changing attestation.
o There must be an exception available for an employee whose physician states that ceasing tobacco use would be harmful.
o Surcharge applies to active employees and annuitants, but not to continuants.
More information about how employees will have to sign attestations will be forthcoming. The Office of Human Resources and Diversity wants to make employees aware of the changes the Group Insurance Board has recommended. If signed in to law, the surcharge will go in to effect January 14, 2014, but attestations will be collected in the fall of 2013.