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CMS recently issued a list of FAQs regarding the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FF-SHOP aka Marketplace aka Exchange) and how they will handle the issue of tobacco rating for medical plans.
Q1: If an employee or an employee’s dependent obtaining coverage through the FF-SHOP uses tobacco, how can the employee or dependent avoid the tobacco premium rating surcharge?
A1: The FF-SHOPs will not impose the tobacco rating surcharge at the time of initial enrollment (or re-enrollment) if the employee or dependent, as applicable, agrees at the time of enrollment (or renewal or re-enrollment) to participate in a wellness program meeting the standards of section 2705 of the Public Health Service Act, such as a tobacco cessation program.
Q2: If an employee or enrollee’s dependent who is already enrolled in coverage through the FF-SHOP decides to participate in a wellness program in the middle of the plan year after initially declining to participate, will his/her premium be reduced immediately or retroactively to the time of enrollment?
A2: In the FF-SHOPs, an employee’s or employee’s dependent’s premium will be established for a period of one year upon enrollment, renewal, or re-enrollment of that employee or dependent. At that time, the enrollee or dependent can agree to participate in a wellness program to avoid the tobacco premium surcharge. If the employee or dependent does not agree at that time to participate in such a wellness program, the employee/dependent will have an opportunity to avoid the tobacco premium surcharge upon renewal or re-enrollment.