Small Employers Often Don't Provide Tobacco Cessation Help
Yet, many of these small employers charge tobacco users up to 50% more for health insurance premiums
FRIDAY, April 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of small employers using tobacco surcharges do not provide tobacco cessation wellness programs, according to a report published in the March issue of Health Affairs.
Michael F. Pesko, Ph.D., from Georgia State University in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed 2016 survey data collected by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust on 278 employers eligible for Small Business Health Options Program. The authors sought to examine the prevalence of tobacco surcharges and tobacco cessation programs in the small-group market.
The researchers found that 16.2 percent of small employers used tobacco surcharges. However, 47 percent of employers that used tobacco surcharges failed to offer tobacco cessation counseling. In states that allowed tobacco surcharges, wellness program prevalence was lower. Additionally, in these states, 10.8 percent of employers were noncompliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by charging tobacco users higher premiums without offering cessation programs.
"Efforts should be undertaken to improve the monitoring and enforcement of ACA tobacco rating rules," the authors write.