White Paper published by The HR Specialist, copyright 2007
For decades, employers quietly tolerated the fact that employees who smoke cost more in health care costs--about 25 percent more than nonsmokers. But with health premiums reaching the boiling point, that patience has worn out.
A small fraction of U.S. employers refuse to hire smokers, but that can be legally risky. Instead, many more employers have begun charging employees higher health premiums if they use tobacco. Forty-one percent of employer health plans now include some kind of incentive or penalty for smokers, according to a Hewitt Associates survey.
Hewitt estimates that about 10 percent of employers apply surcharges on smokers' premiums, typically in the $20 to $50 a month range. Examples: Gannett Co. charges smokers an extra $50 a month and PepsiCo charges $100 extra annually. Smoker-surcharge programs come in many varieties, s...(register to read more)