Smoking, obesity may cost state employees

N.C. lawmakers, hoping to keep the beleaguered State Health Plan solvent, target its most costly members.

February 20, 2009
by Dan Kane
The Charlotte Observer

North Carolina - a state where tobacco and barbecue have long reigned - may soon hit state employees who smoke or are seriously overweight with higher health insurance costs.

Legislative leaders introduced a bill Thursday that seeks to keep the State Health Plan solvent by reducing some benefits and raising premiums less than 8 percent each year over the next two years. Smokers or obese people would be forced into the coverage option that carries the highest deductibles and co-payments.

More Information

50 percentage of state health plan members who are chronically ill

90 percentage of the plan's spending devoted to the chronically ill

27 percentage of obese North Carolinians, 2005-207

21 percentage of adult North Carolinians who smoked in 2007

Sources: N.C. Department of Public Health, Trust for America's Health

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