Loyola University Chicago

Human Resources

Tobacco Premium - FAQs

Loyola University Chicago supports a culture of health and wellness, including promoting the university community to make healthy choices.
  • The goal of the tobacco premium is to discourage the use of tobacco products, which are harmful to your health.
  • Eliminating tobacco is a proactive way to help manage health care costs for everyone.
  • A robust offering of tobacco cessation programs and cessation drugs support this health and wellness initiative.
Beginning January 1, 2018, faculty and staff members who use tobacco products within the last three months, and are enrolled in Loyola's medical plan, will incur a $50 per month premium on your medical contributions.
  • Premium pricing is deducted from your (bi-weekly or monthly) earnings.

All Faculty & Staff covered under Loyola University Chicago medical plans who are tobacco users.

Loyola University Chicago recognizes that quitting tobacco use can be a significant personal challenge and offers numerous resources to help you. For more information, visit this page.

Each faculty and staff member enrolled in the Loyola Medical Plan for 01/01/2018, will need to complete online annual open enrollment through Employee Self-Service, November 1- 22, to certify or re-certify your spousal premium attestation, and tobacco use premium attestation for 01/01/2018.

  • The $50 tobacco premium will be automatically assessed if you do not certify online through Employee-Self Service during annual enrollment,  November 1 - 22.
  •  This certification must be renewed each year during annual open enrollment in order to receive the reduced medical premium.

A tobacco user is a person who has used tobacco in the past 3 months. Tobacco use applies to all types of tobacco products that are smoked (cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipes, electronic cigarettes, vaping products or hookah), applied to the gums (chewing tobacco, dip, and loose tobacco) and/or inhaled (snuff). 

Beginning January 1, 2018, the tobacco premium is $50.00 per month (or $600.00 per year).

The following are considered tobacco products. If you or your spouse/LDA use any of these products, you must certify as a tobacco‚Äźuser.  Tobacco products include:
  • Cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, loose tobacco smoked via a pipe, hand rolled cigarettes, or hookah, electronic cigarettes, vaping products, and any other tobacco product - regardless of the frequency or method of use.
Loyola University is pleased to offer several smoking cessation related resources designed to encourage, advocate, and assist you in your efforts to stop smoking:
The tobacco premium is not intended to be a punishment for anyone using a tobacco product. It is more of a way to communicate the serious threat that smoking has on your health, and to inform us all of its impact on our rising healthcare cost.
  • Loyola University Chicago wants to support you, and this includes providing you with a vast number of resources designed to help you quit smoking!
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the nation.  In fact, tobacco causes more deaths than AIDS, alcohol abuse, automobile accidents, illegal drugs, fires, homicide, and suicide combined.  Using tobacco also contributes to chronic and serious diseases, which results in increased health care costs for you, your family, and Loyola University.

Based on a 2012 study by Leif Associates, Inc., a healthcare actuarial consulting firm:
A number of employers, including many in the Chicagoland area, have implemented tobacco premiums. In fact, Willis Towers Watson’s annual survey of large employers, “National Business Group on Health Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey,” found that 44 percent of employers surveyed were using premiums for tobacco users in 2015. 
  • To meet federal guidelines, a tobacco premium must promote good health and prevention of disease;
  • Participants must be given a chance to avoid the tobacco premium at least once per year; and
  • Upon request, an individual must be provided with an alternative option - which the individual can satisfy in order to avoid the tobacco premium.
No. Effective January 1, 2018, the tobacco premium ONLY applies to faculty and staff members who currently use tobacco products - and they will be enrolled in a Loyola University medical plan on or after January 1, 2018.
No. The premium only applies to faculty and staff members who will be enrolled in a Loyola University medical plan on or after January 1, 2018.

The University is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct as an integral part of its mission, the promotion of learning. To achieve this goal, the University relies on faculty and staff members ethical behavior, honesty, integrity and good judgement. 

  • We expect members of Loyola University Chicago to report honestly. 

Any false statement would be considered a violation of our Code of Conduct, and could lead to disciplinary action leading up to and including termination, at the sole discretion of Loyola University Chicago.  Additionally, the consequences of a false statement, if discovered, are that you would lose all university contribution to your health premium.

Each faculty and staff member enrolled in the Loyola Medical Plan for 01/01/2018, will need to complete online annual open enrollment through Employee Self-Service, November 1- 22, to certify or re-certify your spousal premium attestation, and tobacco use premium attestation for 01/01/2018.
 
  • The $50 premium will be automatically assessed if you do not certify online through Employee-Self Service during annual enrollment,  November 1 - 22.
  • This certification must be renewed each year during annual open enrollment in order to receive the reduced medical premium.

Yes, because they may contain tobacco, or they may contain nicotine, which is derived from tobacco.

No. Nicotine replacement therapy, such as the nicotine patch or nicotine gum, does not count as tobacco use.

Yes.  Prescription drugs covered by BlueCross BlueSheild include:
  • All brand/generic OTC nicotine gum, lozenges, patches 
  • bupropion ext-release 
  • (smoking cessation) 
  • CHANTIX 
  • COMMIT** (OTC) 
  • NICODERM CQ** (OTC) 
  • NICORETTE** (OTC) 
  • nicotine gum, lozenges, patches 
  • NICOTINE TRANSDERMAL kit (OTC) 
  • NICOTROL INHALER 
  • NICOTROL NS 
  • ZYBAN** 
If you enroll in a Tobacco Cessation Program, complete the components of the program, and provide a certification of completion, you will be eligible for the lower non-tobacco premium beginning the first of the month following receipt of your notification.   

If you become a tobacco user at any time during the year, you should notify the Benefits Department at benefits@luc.edu so the surcharge can be applied.

No.  If your doctor has suggested an alternative smoking product, and we obtain a written note certifying this arrangement, you will not be subject to pay the tobacco premium. You can submit this approved arrangement to benefits@luc.edu.