Finish approved tobacco cessation program by Nov. 13 to avoid additional premium on 2016 medical plan

September 1, 2015  


Open enrollment is around the corner, and now is the time for those who are struggling or have struggled with tobacco use to get assistance and reap the benefits of lower premiums for 2016.

The $500 per person tobacco-user additional premium will continue for 2016 Purdue medical plans. The additional annual premium applies to employees and covered spouses/same-sex domestic partners (SSDPs). If both individuals in the couple use tobacco and are covered by the plan, the additional annual premium will be $1,000.

A tobacco user is a person who has used tobacco in the past 12 months. This includes cigars, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco or any other tobacco product.

Employees and spouses/SSDPs who have used tobacco during the past 12 months may qualify for a waiver of the additional premium by completing an approved tobacco cessation program. Approved programs completed between Sept. 1 and Nov. 13, 2015, qualify for a full waiver of the 2016 additional premium. Programs completed prior to Sept. 1, 2015, only qualify for a waiver of the additional 2015 premium. Certificates of completion must be submitted to Human Resources by Dec. 15, 2015, to qualify for the waiver of the 2016 additional premium.

Approved cessation programs

Tobacco users have a variety of approved cessation programs available that they may complete in time for a January 2016 waiver.

* Phone program for all campuses (Indiana Tobacco Quitline): Begin by Oct. 2.

* Health coaching at West Lafayette and Fort Wayne:
-- Begin by Oct. 2 for one-on-one health coaching at the Center for Healthy Living on Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus. To register, call 49-45239.
-- For one-on-one health coaching at Fort Wayne, begin by Oct. 2. To register, call 260-481-5748.

* Portal program for all campuses: The Center for Healthy Living will debut a new portal tobacco cessation program this fall. Participants will be paired with a health coach, an American Lung Association Freedom from Smoking facilitator, for an initial telephonic visit and continuous support throughout the duration of the program via the Center for Healthy Living portal. The program will start on Sept. 8. Participants may register no later than Friday (Sept. 4) by calling 49-45239.

* Classroom programs at West Lafayette, Fort Wayne and North Central:   
-- The next group coaching program on the West Lafayette campus begins Sept. 16 and runs through Oct. 21 on Wednesdays from noon to 12:50 p.m. at the Center for Healthy Living. Register for the program by Sept.14 by calling 49-45239.
-- Purdue North Central’s classroom program begins Sept. 30 and runs through Nov. 11. Register by Sept. 30 by calling 219-785-5519.
-- Fort Wayne’s Freedom from Smoking class begins Sept. 22 and runs through Nov. 3. Register by Sept. 22 by calling 260-705-4244 or 260-481-6647.

"Don't delay and miss out," says Eva Nodine, benefits director in Human Resources. According to Nodine, making the decision to quit using tobacco and having your premium reduced as a result is a win-win. "Get signed up and start right away to make sure the option you want is available and that you have time to finish by Nov. 13."

Employees who do not enroll in time to earn a January waiver may complete an approved program later in the year for a partial waiver of the 2016 additional premium.

For more information, including how to get started, go to www.purdue.edu/hr/Benefits/tobaccoCessation.html.

Employees will certify their tobacco-user status and that of their covered spouses/SSDPs during the online benefits open enrollment process this fall. Those covered by a Purdue medical plan who do not certify their status will be considered tobacco users and will be have the $500 additional annual premium applied in 2016. They will also have a $500 additional annual premium if they cover a spouse or an SSDP.

To qualify as a non-tobacco user and avoid the additional premium, a person must have been a non-tobacco user for at least 12 months immediately prior to completing the 2016 benefits enrollment or must have completed an approved tobacco cessation program as outlined above. Open enrollment will take place Oct.. 26 through 6 p.m. Nov. 13.

For more information, contact Human Resources at 49-42222 or hr@purdue.edu.  

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