State workers who smoke won’t be charged more for insurance

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s health insurer for 230,000 state workers, teachers, retirees and their family members has scrapped plans to charge smokers more for their coverage.

Attorney General Jeff Landry challenged the legal authority of the Office of Group Benefits levying a surcharge on tobacco users for insurance coverage. After Landry raised the concerns, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration withdrew the proposal, at least for now.

The Advocate reports the smoker surcharge was part of a proposal from the Office of Group Benefits to raise more than $24 million to cover costs.

It wasn’t clear how many smokers would have faced a surcharge. Landry’s office argued the proposal discriminates against smokers, which state law specifically prohibits.

The Edwards administration says Landry’s concerns played a part in its decision, but wasn’t the only reason.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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