Tobacco-User Surcharge to Increase in 2018
As part of negotiated agreements between the Montgomery County Board of Education and the employee associations, effective January 1, 2018, the Wellness Initiatives tobacco surcharge will increase to 25 percent.
MCPS imposes the surcharge to the total health insurance costs of employees who are covered by an MCPS-provided medical plan if they or their covered spouses smoke or use other forms of tobacco. To avoid the surcharge, you must satisfy both of the following requirements:
You and your covered spouse must be tobacco-free for the 12 months prior to January 1 each year.
During Open Enrollment each fall, you must attest (via the Employee Self-Service web page) to whether or not you AND your covered spouse will be tobacco-free throughout the 12 months prior to January 1 of the next calendar year.
If you do not attest for both yourself and your spouse, or you attest to one or both of you not being tobacco-free throughout the current calendar year, your contributions to your health insurance (medical, prescription, dental and vision plans) will include the surcharge.
If you do not attest during Open Enrollment, but you and your covered spouse were tobacco-free during the calendar year, you can attest after January 1 of the following year to have the 25 percent surcharge removed within two pay periods. Refunds will not be issued to non-tobacco-users who did not attest during Open Enrollment.
If you and your covered spouse reach tobacco-free status (i.e., have been tobacco free for 12 consecutive months) outside of Open Enrollment, you may re-attest online to have the surcharge removed.
Need help to quit using tobacco? Consider registering for Quit for Good, a tobacco cessation program offered to all MCPS employees, retirees and their spouses. Learn more below.
Isn’t It Time You Quit for Good?
Most smokers know that smoking is bad for their health and harmful to the people around them. They know they should quit, but they also know it is going to be hard. To help make it easier, Well Aware and Kaiser Permanente are teaming up again to bring you the Quit for Good tobacco cessation program.
Quit for Good is a free, course-based tobacco cessation program open to all MCPS employees and their spouses. The program is eight weeks long and consists of once-a-week classes led by a nurse practitioner, with assistance from Kaiser Permanente clinicians and health experts. Class size is limited to ensure the personal attention necessary to support you in your goal of quitting.
Sessions are open to all MCPS employees and their spouses, regardless of whether or not you carry Kaiser Permanente health insurance.
Class discussions cover the skills necessary to successfully live tobacco-free, risk assessment, stress management techniques and healthy weight management strategies. In addition to the classes, participants receive support through a help line, peer sponsors who understand what it takes to quit, and other resources.
The next session of Quit for Good begins on Monday, Oct. 16, from 4:30–5:30 p.m. in the Robinson Room at 45 W. Gude Dr. in Rockville. To register, email Well Aware. To learn more about the program, including the week-by-week course content, visit the Well Aware website.