Since insurance policies offer lower rates to non-smokers, as they are less likely to contract serious diseases, a number of states have enacted policies in their state employee health insurance plans benefiting those who refrain from the usage of tobacco products. Let''s review a few of the various programs and perks that are incorporated in the state employee health insurance plans of four states: North Carolina, Indiana, Idaho and North Dakota.
North Carolina law allows non-smokers enrolled in their standard state employee health insurance plan to benefit from an 80/20 payment split (80 percent paid by the state, 20 percent paid by the employee) if they declare that no one in their household uses tobacco. The state also has an employee Smoking Cessation Plan in place to help people kick the habit, as it estimates that approximately $1,623 in medical expenses can be attributed to each smoker, thus driving up the cost of insurance. The plan includes the provision of nicotine therapy patches along with counseling in the hopes that as the cost of state employee health insurance will decrease with each success story.
In Indiana, those who benefit from state employee health insurance can enjoy even more of a savings by being a non-smoker. With the state''s incentive, enrollees can save up to $500 a year in their deductible. Additionally, Indiana''s state employee health insurance meets all three CDC guidelines: coverage for at least 4 smoking cessation counseling sessions, access to prescriptions and other agents to help people quit smoking, and counseling and medication for at least 2 annual quitting attempts.
Similar to Indiana''s incentives, the state of Idaho has tobacco cessation programs integrated into its state employee health insurance plans. The state offers counseling through a special “quit line” and also offers a $10 co-payment for each month that you utilize quitting aids, such as nicotine patches or medication.
Through a special grant, North Dakota offers 11 smoking cessation programs through its state employee health insurance plan. The programs are available for state employees and their dependents aged 18 and up and are administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. After undergoing an initial assessment, employees can enroll in a 6-8 week program, which will pay for all of their expenses from prescriptions that assist them in breaking free from tobacco, up to $500. The state employee insurance plan also offers to pay up to $200 for counseling if a charge is incurred.
Basically, all across America states are encouraging their employees to kick the habit and take better care of their health, thus not only reducing the rates of their own state employee health insurance, but also everyone who benefits from the system. Many states are bending over backwards to do so after examining the statistics that overwhelmingly reveal that a large portion of deaths stem from nicotine addictions, thus raising a major red flag. If you are a smoker, be sure to ask your employer about the cessation benefits integrated into your state employee health insurance plan.