Some of us have already received the letter Albaro posted below. It is from Luis Lewin of Tribune Benefits.
Non-Smokers will agree that this is an unacceptable money grab by the insurance companies and our employer to control our lifestyle and the decisions we make regarding our health.
The air we breath has just as much garbage in it as any tobacco product on the market. Are we going to be charged for breathing next? I know that sounds extreme but so is this unfair decision to penalize the employee/consumer. We all know the dangers of smoking and most would prefer not to, but again, that is an individuals right to choose.
I suggest all of you, whether you smoke or not, to contact employee benefits and voice your anger over this financial penalty against our employee benefit costs.
You should also be allowed to choose and manage your health care providers and premium costs to provide coverage for your spouse regardless of whether he/she can obtain coverage through their employer. We pay additional premiums to include our spouses in our plans, so why are we being forced to remove them, or get FINED. It is obvious that their only goal is to have us drop our spouses to reduce costs for themselves, but as I said, we pay extra for their coverage, it's not free!
Many have spouses with access to coverage and also someone in their family may also smoke, so these employees are being asked to "COUGH" up (excuse the pun) $175.00 a month on top of their already high premiums. This is ridiculously incomprehensible and unreasonably expensive to maintain affordable health care coverage for our families.
Question, do you think your health care provider's costs are equivalent to the service you recieve currently? Do you think they have the right to penalize you for smoking?
What will they next consider "self-inflicted" health risk decisions that they can stick a price tag onto. Riding Motorcycles are dangerous, could Bike Riders be next? Maybe that next beer or glass of wine will be considered a financial opportunity to cash in on the choices we make in our lives.