Tobacco Surcharge Adds $2 per Bowl

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Member
Jul 15, 2018
122
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Well, I just finished my open enrollment for this year’s benefits and I now have to pay $540 per year because I smoke a single bowl 5 times per week. They already announced that next year will be $660 per year. This year’s surcharge comes out to just over $10 per week. I can get at least 16 smokes out of a 50g tin that costs $11. So in reality, that tin actually costs me $43.
I can’t really lie about it because every work day around 3:30pm I have chunks of tobacco laying on my desk being prepped for the commute home.
Is anyone else seeing their surcharge skyrocket? Or, do you even have a surcharge? According to the definition of tobacco use, I could literally smoke tea leaves 10x a day all year and never have to pay a penny. Ugh...

 

shanez

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2018
1,016
744
45
Las Vegas
Prep your tobacco in a different location.
First this ∆∆∆∆
I have always assumed that the "do you smoke" questions on insurance forms referred to cigarettes, so I always put down "no".
Second this ∆∆∆∆
For real regular pipe/cigar smokers this might not be true but to the occasional user it is.
When I was lying in the ER after a bilateral pulmonary embolism that was almost 100% blockage on both sides the doctor asked me if I smoked. I told him only the occasional cigar (I wasn't smoking my pipe at the time) and he looked at me and said "I asked you if you smoked". He made it quite clear regular cigarettes were the concern. This was during the diagnosis phase.
I've had similar situations during physicals for disability and life insurance. Non-cigarette occasional use is not what they are looking for.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,164
403
Lexington, KY
Agreed with what the other folks are saying. I think they actually test for nicotine in the bloodstream when they do an insurance physical, but really one could just knock off pipe smoking for a couple weeks prior, out of an abundance of caution.
This comes down under the heading of "spirit of the law vs. letter of the law". One should note, however that if you were to develop a smoking-related medical condition, your insurance would probably have every right to refuse to cover it.

 

perdurabo

Preferred Member
Jun 3, 2015
2,941
433
Refuse to do business with this insurance company. Most businesses have more than one option in the insurance department. When ANYONE ask you if you smoke say no. Of course the insurance company has a right to deny service/coverage. Remember, you have the right to deny the business transaction. Also they should notify you as to what they are blood testing you for and beat the test by not smoking for a while. Or Drink tons of water if it’s a pee test. The water dilutes the urine and throws the test off.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,164
403
Lexington, KY
Perdurabo, that's great in theory, but I don't think you'll find an insurance company that doesn't charge a premium to tobacco users. Exercising your right to deny the business transaction is great and all, but so is having insurance.

 

unkleyoda

Preferred Member
Aug 22, 2016
1,119
44
Your mom\\\'s house
Never tell a doctor or insurance company you smoke. If they piss test you, tell them you are in a cessation program that involves using nicotine gum and or patches. The gum or patch will explain the nicotine presence. In my understanding, they cannot surcharge you for nicotine gum or patches.

 

dochudson

Preferred Member
May 11, 2012
1,635
2
This all sounds good but do you really think you can fool the insurance companies?

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,315
356
Maryland
postimg.cc
Most businesses have more than one option in the insurance department
Not by my experience. Plan options yes, but not a different company. Most small businesses now struggle just to find one reasonable plan/company.
I quit for one month, and came back as a non-smoker. My wife works for the state, they definitely only offer one program.
A risk of lying, if you work for a small company is that all but eight states are "Employed at Will", which means you could be terminated at their discretion. Lying on a company insurance plan could get you in a jam.

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,908
6
What I've read considers any tobacco use, however occasional, as endangering health: snuff,. snus, cigars, cigarettes or pipe. It's all bad and there is no pattern of irregular use that protects you. Global data supports this conclusion and thus tobacco, like vermin, in being undeniably injurious, should be taxed and regulated into oblivion Though this has been very successful in the last 15 years, it would seem to amount to no more than financially taxing, though for every smoker holding on, another has let the habit go.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,164
403
Lexington, KY
Global data supports this conclusion and thus tobacco, like vermin, in being undeniably injurious, should be taxed and regulated into oblivion.
Saltedplug, I don't agree with you on this one. While I don't deny that tobacco use is overall detrimental to one's health, so are plenty of things which are not regulated or taxed in similar ways (see: red meat, too much of which can cause cancer and heart disease, or sugary drinks, which can cause diabetes, or even loneliness, which is apparently as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes per day).
The notion that the overarching 'social planner' has an obligation or a right to tax bad things into 'oblivion' is rooted more in political ideology than pragmatism, esp. when one looks at the continued use of basically any substance that governments have tried to eradicate.

 

woodsroad

Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
8,360
240
Saltedplug's statement is entirely correct. He is not affirming or endorsing the viewpoint, only stating that "global data" supports it.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,164
403
Lexington, KY
Maybe I misread the post? My interpretation of it was as follows: "Global data show tobacco use is bad (with which I agree), therefore tobacco should be taxed/regulated into oblivion (which seems like a bit of a logical leap to me)"

 

jeff540

Member
Jan 25, 2016
247
48
I prefer the new and improved Clinton defense: "I can't recall." I'm using it now as often as possible. We had open enrollment a few weeks ago - I just didn't fill out the smoking question, thus no foul.

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,908
6
I understand that other things are as injurious to one's health as tobacco, and thus the question why tobacco should be the object of regulation. But that begs the question of tobacco's injury to health. I've read that using tobacco is a form of risk-taking, like mountain climbing or race car driving. Though the participants may regulate the activity informally, there is no formal regulation. Political force used against anyone's form of risk-taking is both untowardly invasive and an abrogation of personal freedom.
Edit: Javan

 

perdurabo

Preferred Member
Jun 3, 2015
2,941
433
Hap... my insurance doesn’t blood or pee test. If asked if I smoke by a Doctor I tell them no. So my insurance company is none the wiser. We have a market place inside the employers Enrollment Database via the internet and I’m giving my opinion based off my experience. Which in the OP ‘s case is irrelevant. Different state, different company, different expectations.... etc. Sometimes we are pushed into certain circumstances because a lack of choice. Thank god I have a choice. I think the only thing you can do if you do not have a choice is follow the advice many have given, Or pay the premium.

 

perdurabo

Preferred Member
Jun 3, 2015
2,941
433
I can see this conversation has gone the way of the Dinosaur. Abortion=smoking a Pipe. Yo Javan, you still think I’m the Political Poster. :rofl:

 
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