Wal-Mart has announced it is significantly raising health insurance premiums for many employees who smoke. The New York Times reports smokers will have to pay an extra $260 to $2,340 a year if they want health insurance.
The move is part of larger changes by the company to decrease insurance coverage for part-time workers and significantly raise health insurance premiums for many full-time workers, according to the article.
Greg Rossiter, a Wal-Mart spokesperson, told the newspaper, “Tobacco users generally consume about 25 percent more health care services than nontobacco users.” Wal-Mart notes that other major companies, including Home Depot, PepsiCo and Macy’s, also charge smokers more for their health insurance.
Hospitals have been at the forefront of the trend to link employees’ eligibility for lower-cost health plans to tobacco use.