Georgia Smokers to Pay More in Health Insurance
Excerpts from: State Employees Who Smoke Will Pay More for Health Insurance
State employees who smoke will soon have to start paying an extra $40 a month for health insurance.
The surcharge will affect state workers, public school teachers and their family members who admit to smoking or using tobacco in the past year. It will begin July 1.
Employees will be expected to use the honor system when they sign up for coverage and are asked whether they use tobacco, said Tim Burgess, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health. Those caught lying will lose their health insurance for a year, he said.
Senate Majority Leader Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, said the surcharge will help limit the increase in premiums for state employees and was adopted to fill a projected $400 million shortfall in the insurance fund. Gov. Sonny Perdue proposed a 13 percent rise in premiums, but lawmakers dropped it to 9.5 percent.
"Smokers are very expensive. In the private sector, you pay more if you are a smoker and you pay more for your spouse," Williams said.
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