SURVEY SAYS: Do you think it is fair to impose higher health care premiums on tobacco users?

Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ordered the fiduciaries of a health benefit plan to pay restitution of $145,635 to 596 employees who paid a tobacco use surcharge as part of their medical insurance premium.

Health benefit plan sponsors may legally implement a tobacco use surcharge as part of employees’ medical insurance premiums if employees are offered a reasonable alternative standard or waiver of that alternative.


One could argue that tobacco use does not necessarily drive up health insurance costs or that it is not the only bad habit in which employees may engage that drives up costs. Employees who use too much alcohol, are overweight or obese or who do not follow prescribed medical treatments may also drive up health benefit costs.


This week, I’d like to know, “Do you think it is fair for employers to impose higher premiums for health care benefits on tobacco users?”


You may respond to this week’s survey by 6 p.m. Pacific time today at