The Herald Bulletin

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May 6, 2013

ISU may charge tobacco users more for insurance

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Next year, Indiana State University employees who smoke or use other tobacco products could face a $1,200 per year surcharge if they have university health insurance.

Also, employees who voluntarily agree to health screenings and health risk assessments would receive a discount on their health insurance, according to recommendations proposed by a committee looking at wellness options.

It's all part of an effort to help employees become healthier and curb increases in health insurance costs. A university committee has been meeting since December to develop wellness recommendations, Diann McKee, ISU vice president of business affairs, told trustees during a seminar Friday.

The recommendations, which have gone before faculty and staff economic benefits committees, are still under review and would have to go before the board of trustees for approval, the Tribune-Star reported.

One of the goals is to limit increases in the health plan to less than 5 percent each year. ISU pays about $16 million for health care costs.

In another change, there would be one base rate for all faculty and staff regardless of salary; currently, there is a three-tier structure based on salary.

Under the proposals, ISU would provide a subsidy for faculty and staff with household incomes that are 150 percent or less of federal poverty guidelines.

ISU doesn't know how much of a discount it would provide for those who agree to health screenings until it knows what health insurance costs will be next year, she said.

The health screenings would be for such things as cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides. They also would look at blood pressure, heart rate, height and weight.

Results of the health screening and health risk assessments would not be shared with any ISU personnel, but would be retained by an independent contractual third party.

Those who get the screenings would be informed about what the results mean.

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