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Smoke and Work for UT? Get Ready to Pay More for Insurance

A $30 monthly health insurance premium will soon apply to University of Texas employees who smoke.
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A $30 monthly health insurance premium will soon apply to University of Texas employees who smoke.

In July, University of Texas employees who use the UT SELECT Medical plan will have to declare whether they use tobacco. And if they do, they will have to pay a $30 dollar premium every month starting in September.

The same goes for spouses and children who are on the plan. The maximum charge would be $90 per month, per family.

“During Annual Enrollment, all UT SELECT Medical plan participants will need to declare whether they are or are not a tobacco user,” the university’s Office of Employee Benefits writes. Approximately 200,000 employees, spouses and children are enrolled statewide in the UT SELECT insurance program.

This news comes just one month after the University of Texas at Austin became a smoke-free campus. That move happened in part so the university can remain eligible to receive funding from a big donor, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

The UT System says the change is to encourage tobacco users to quit, and is offering free programs, counseling and coverage for several medications including Nicorette Gum and Chantix.

After users are tobacco-free for 60 days, they can change the selection on their Medical plan and the fee will go away.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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