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State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

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State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 22, 2013 9:37 am

The committee also agreed to charge state employees who smoke a $50 monthly premium surcharge.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt ... z2U21tDjDF


I was surprised to find out that 12 other states have similar surcharges. What I don't get is how you enforce this. According to other articles, lying about it will eliminate your insurance. The other states that have similar surcharges have similar penalties, yet most did not enforce them. Georgia can even fine and imprison you, but has yet to do so.

I personally think this is an asinine approach. What constitutes a "smoker?" Is it at least one a day, two a day? What about the people who have a couple when they drink?

There are many health choices people make that increase the cost of insurance. Are we going to start putting surcharges on everything we do that is unhealthy? It appears 2 other states have obesity surcharges. Why stop there?

Ugh, I hate budget season and all that crap that gets put into these.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby wack wack » Wed May 22, 2013 10:10 am

Stebben84 wrote:I personally think this is an asinine approach. What constitutes a "smoker?" Is it at least one a day, two a day? What about the people who have a couple when they drink?


According to the insurance at my place of employment, you are a smoker if you smoked once in the last two years. As unreasonable as can be.

Fortunately, I don't smoke. Tobacco.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed May 22, 2013 10:19 am

It's nothing new, plenty of private companies have insurance discounts for non-smokers. You have to sign documentation saying you don't smoke, and the last place I worked also had a "free health screening" you had to submit to in order to qualify for another insurance discount.

I doubt they are tracking you down at the bars, but if you smoke enough that catching you would be fairly easy, you're not going to be lying about it on a form. If nothing else it cuts down on smoke breaks at work.

Sure there are plenty of other self induced health issues, but that doesn't mean we should ignore one that is pretty much universally accepted as bad for you. Alchohol would be another one, but you'd have to be drunk to think that was going to be accepted. There are a whole lot less smokers then there are drinkers now days.

They probably would have been smarter to raise the insurance premiums then
offer a discount for non-smokers, but the effect is the same.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 22, 2013 10:38 am

wack wack wrote:
Stebben84 wrote:I personally think this is an asinine approach. What constitutes a "smoker?" Is it at least one a day, two a day? What about the people who have a couple when they drink?


According to the insurance at my place of employment, you are a smoker if you smoked once in the last two years. As unreasonable as can be.



Now that is ridiculous.

Francis Di Domizio wrote:Alchohol would be another one, but you'd have to be drunk to think that was going to be accepted.


This is what I don't like. Certain lifestyles that are unhealthy shouldn't be included because we find them "acceptable?"

I'm also wondering about spouses in insurance. Are they included?
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed May 22, 2013 11:04 am

I haven't worked at a company that tracked spousal smoking as of yet. Which really does make me wonder if the idea originated as a way to cut down on smoke breaks.


Stebben84 wrote:This is what I don't like. Certain lifestyles that are unhealthy shouldn't be included because we find them "acceptable?"


Would you object less if instead of raising the price for smokers (drinker, obesity, what not), they offered discounts for healthy habits?
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby gargantua » Wed May 22, 2013 11:23 am

If one is voluntarily engaging in behaviors that are likely to increase healthcare costs, why should those costs be spread among people who do not choose unhealthy lifestyles?

People generally don't have a problem with people who have been caught speeding or ticketed for inattentive driving paying more for insurance. Basically increased risk results in increased costs. Why should health insurance be different when it involves factors that the insured has some control over?

Pack-a-day smokers pay well over $50 per month for cigarettes. Not an argument for or against, just trying to put the 50 bucks a month into some sort of perspective. It's probably 5% or less of a single policy-holder's monthly premium, based on what I pay.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby jjoyce » Wed May 22, 2013 11:27 am

If smokers pay more, then shouldn't motorcycle riders and hang gliders and alligator wrestlers?
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby doppel » Wed May 22, 2013 11:39 am

Expect more "help from the government" when they run all health insurance.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Meade » Wed May 22, 2013 11:47 am

According to the chairman of the Washington D.C. Obamacare Health Exchange Board, smoking "is a preexisting medical condition".

Pay for my medical Marlboros, bitches.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 22, 2013 11:52 am

gargantua wrote:If one is voluntarily engaging in behaviors that are likely to increase healthcare costs, why should those costs be spread among people who do not choose unhealthy lifestyles?


Then include drinking, eating unhealthy, having a hazardous job, having a hazardous hobby, having a disease your born with, being a klutz, being a reckless driver...

What I'm saying is where do you draw the line, or make it an ala cart payment system where you pay more for each bad thing you do.

Francis Di Domizio wrote:Would you object less if instead of raising the price for smokers (drinker, obesity, what not), they offered discounts for healthy habits?


Yes I would object less. Just because you don't smoke, doesn't mean you're doing healthy things.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Meade » Wed May 22, 2013 12:05 pm

Stebben84 wrote:Yes I would object less. Just because you don't smoke, doesn't mean you're doing healthy things.

You will once Obamacare fully kicks in. You'll do "healthy things" or else pay an additional tax. You vill be nudged.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby dave esmond » Wed May 22, 2013 12:07 pm

Stebben84 wrote:Yes I would object less. Just because you don't smoke, doesn't mean you're doing healthy things.


How are they gonna know any of this? Self reporting? Or are they looking to have access to my medical records?

If there was a discount I bet plenty of people would report doing any number of healthy things.

Who's gonna self report being a smoker if they know they'll get charged for it?
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby wack wack » Wed May 22, 2013 12:08 pm

Meade wrote:
Stebben84 wrote:Yes I would object less. Just because you don't smoke, doesn't mean you're doing healthy things.

You will once Obamacare fully kicks in. You'll do "healthy things" or else pay an additional tax. You vill be nudged.


Please link to the section of Obamacare where this is indicated.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby rabble » Wed May 22, 2013 12:35 pm

wack wack wrote:
Meade wrote:
Stebben84 wrote:Yes I would object less. Just because you don't smoke, doesn't mean you're doing healthy things.

You will once Obamacare fully kicks in. You'll do "healthy things" or else pay an additional tax. You vill be nudged.


Please link to the section of Obamacare where this is indicated.

It's in the Death Panel section. I saw somebody talking about it on Fox. They had quotes from emails so I know it's true.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 22, 2013 12:35 pm

dave esmond wrote:How are they gonna know any of this?


I know on my brother's health insurance, you get a discount if you belong to a gym and in his previous job, they had a gym at the facility which gave you a discount if you used it.

dave esmond wrote:Or are they looking to have access to my medical records?


If you knew you would get a discount, would you not share medical records if it showed you having good health. The opposite would not be true if you were a smoker or generally unhealthy.

wack wack wrote:Please link to the section of Obamacare where this is indicated.


Thanks for falling right into his trap.

FWIW:

Anti-smoking advocates oppose Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed $50-per-month fee for state employees who smoke...

Those groups and others also support higher cigarette taxes in general, saying every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by 4 percent in adults and 7 percent among youth.

They say such taxes are different from surcharges on insurance, which is the main way smokers get counseling, medications and nicotine replacement therapy to help them quit.

“Tax the problem, not the cure,” said Donna Wininsky, spokeswoman for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/heal ... z2U2mUo1gk
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