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There are two parts to the wellness program:
Employees who complete these two steps will receive lower out-of-pocket expenses for themselves and their enrolled dependents and will avoid paying a $50 per month tobacco surcharge. Those enrolled in the Health Savings Plan will receive an additional HSA contribution.
A qualified office visit includes any office visit you have with an in-network primary care provider (such as a family, general, geriatrics or internal medicine doctor) or a specialist (such as a specialist in cardiology, OB/GYN, oncology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, hematology, pulmonology, nephrology, infectious diseases, neurologist or rheumatology). This includes any visit for:
Note: Qualified office visits do not include visits to dermatologists, allergists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists or optometrists.
No; participation is voluntary. You don’t have to see your doctor or complete the Tobacco Pledge and Notice. However, you will not receive wellness incentives unless you complete both steps. Plus you will have an extra $50 tobacco surcharge each month if you do not complete the Pledge.
No; the wellness program only applies to employees enrolled in a University medical plan. If you use tobacco and you are not enrolled in a University medical plan, the $50 surcharge does not apply.
If you have been enrolled in University medical insurance since at least June 2018, complete the wellness program steps. If your medical coverage started July 2018 or later, you only have to complete the Tobacco Pledge and Notice during Open Enrollment.
If you complete these steps, you can earn the following incentives, based on your medical plan coverage:
Note: You do not need to complete a qualified wellness exam to participate in a tobacco cessation program and avoid the $50 monthly tobacco surcharge.
Yes; to avoid the $50 surcharge you only have one step—complete the Pledge. Note: If you are a nine-month employee, your monthly tobacco surcharge amount may differ to account for the nine-month payroll period.
No, the incentives are tied to your participation. You—the employee—must complete the wellness program requirements in order for wellness incentives to be applied to covered family members.
No; only the employee can participate and receive incentives.
UMR will track your claims for a qualified office visit between November 1, 2017 and November 1, 2018. There is no form to complete and no need to contact UMR to report your visit. Log on to UMR to review your claims. Then, complete the Pledge as part of Open Enrollment.
You will need to request sick leave to cover your absence from work due to a doctor’s appointment.
Program participation tracking only includes completion status—a yes/no indicator. No individual medical information is used in determining wellness program completion.
Using tobacco contributes to chronic and serious diseases, which results in increased health care costs that affect all medical plan members. The goal isn’t to collect $50 from participants. Rather, the surcharge is intended to draw attention to tobacco use and create a financial incentive for tobacco users to begin the process of quitting.
Yes; a number of universities currently apply similar fees, including:
Employees enrolled in a University medical plan must self identify their use of tobacco. Non-users will not pay the surcharge. Also those who currently use tobacco but commit to participating in a smoking/tobacco-cessation program will not pay the surcharge.
Tobacco includes any form of tobacco products that are smoked (e.g., cigarettes, cigars, pipes); applied to the gums, chewed or ingested (e.g., dipping or chewing leaf tobacco); and/or inhaled (e.g., snuff, vaporizers or electronic cigarettes).
The wellness program is voluntary; no one has to participate. However, all employees enrolled in University medical insurance will need to complete the Tobacco Pledge and Notice to avoid the $50 surcharge.
Employees who enroll in University medical coverage on July 1, 2018 or later don’t have to complete a qualified doctor’s visit for 2018, but they still need to complete the Pledge to avoid the surcharge.
The surcharge is $50 per month. If you are paid bi-weekly, the surcharge is $23.08 (calculated as $50 x 12 months, then divided by 26 bi-weekly pay periods). Note: If you are a nine-month employee, your monthly tobacco surcharge amount may differ to account for the nine-month payroll period.
No; the tobacco surcharge will be a separate, after-tax deduction on your paycheck stub.
Employees will be asked to self-report their tobacco use status:
It is up to you to answer honestly. Remember, the program is intended to encourage your participation in better health and it makes no-cost tobacco cessation support available to you. Significant under-reporting will lead to more stringent evaluation methods—and likely more significant financial and disciplinary risks—in future years.
Visit the UAMS site for resources, including a free prescription for Chantix, patches or gum through UMR.
Successfully quitting can take three or four attempts. There’s no penalty for not quitting. Engaging in a recognized cessation program is the key.
Two things will happen if you fail to take the Pledge:
Even if you don’t smoke or use tobacco, failure to take the Pledge means you’ll pay up to $600 more each year to remain enrolled in the University’s medical insurance.
The tobacco surcharges will not apply to medical insurance premiums. Instead, those funds will be retained by each campus for health and wellness activities. Each campus will make a decision how to spend those dollars.
Dependents are not included in the wellness or tobacco surcharge program. The tobacco surcharge applies only to your use of tobacco products.
It depends on how long you’ve had University medical insurance. If you were enrolled prior to July 2018, then yes, you must also have a qualified office visit between November 1, 2017 and November 1, 2018. If your University medical coverage started July 1, 2018 or later, then no, you are excused from this step until next year.
Yes, but it won’t take effect immediately. You will have the opportunity in June 2019 to update your response. Employees who either didn’t take the Pledge in November 2018, or who indicated they use tobacco and would not enroll in a smoking cessation program, may amend their Pledge response.
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