Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tribune Co. 'Smoker' Fee -- and Spousal Surcharge -- Draw Union Fire

Tribune Co. 'Smoker' Fee -- and Spousal Surcharge -- Draw Union Fire By Joe Strupp Published: October 11, 2007 1:30 PM ET
NEW YORK A Tribune Company plan to assess a $100 per month health benefit fee on smokers, and a $75 fee for some spousal coverage, is drawing angry reaction among newspaper workers, including at least two Teamster locals that have filed grievances over the cost.
Tribune Company spokesman Gary Weitman confirmed that the company plans to assess the new fees in 2008, claiming they are needed to offset higher costs and promote worker health. Specifically, the assessment would require Tribune employees who smoke or have a family member covered under their policy who smokes to pay an additional $100 per month. In addition, Tribune employees who place a spouse under Tribune coverage who could be covered under their own employment plan elsewhere will be assessed another $75 per month fee.


Anonymous said...

If they are doing this for worker health,I don't smoke then they should pay me $100.00 a mo.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the extra charge for smokers kept the premium increase for nonsmokers small.

Kind of like car insurance, if you do risky behaviors (speeding tickets, accidents, DUI...) you pay more instead of just raising everyones auto premiums across the board.

This surely is a slippery slope approach to healthcare insurance (who's next...fat people??? drinkers???) but a company can make these type changes. Maybe the best approach is to take it as an incentive to quit smoking and save $3,000/ year in premiums and tobacco costs (1 pack a day.)

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone see where this leads? Next year it will be overweight people cost more because there are illnesses associated to that. Then add high cholestorol. They claim other companies do this so its ok. I can't tell you how proud I am to be on a par with Wal- Mart. The insurance company isnt charging this fee its those benevolent people at Tribune.
Imagine being able to have good insurance coverage because you and your spouse cover each other? NO GOOD says Tribune, we want to charge you $75 for that. Maybe they are trying to get you to just leave and take your spouses coverage so they can save even more. Maybe this is how they plan on funding the ESOP?
Other employers usually give you a break for quitting smoking or going under your spouses benefits but of course the dysfunctional management (Zells term) chose to charge us instead. What a disgrace.

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