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Tobacco Surcharges: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Employers

Tobacco Surcharges: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Employers

About 70% of EX Program employer clients use some form of quit tobacco-incentive or surcharge.

Here’s why: When implemented successfully, a surcharge can motivate people to act who might not feel confident about quitting or might not be interested in quitting right now.

An incentive can also guide tobacco users to resources that effectively boost motivation and improve quitting outcomes.

We see from our own data that incentives are useful for engaging people more fully in the quitting process.

In fact, our clients that offer an incentive or surcharge enroll 3.5 times more of their eligible employees than clients that do not offer one.

Tobacco surcharge meaning

Quit-tobacco incentives—also called tobacco surcharges or nonsmoker discounts—are typically based on affidavits that employers collect during open enrollment. If an affidavit indicates someone uses tobacco, they pay a premium rate for their healthcare insurance premium.

Under the Affordable Care Act, group health plans (and self-insured employers) can charge tobacco users up to 50% more for their health insurance premiums than non-tobacco users, and when they do this, it is called a tobacco surcharge.

See best practices for implementing a surcharge

Download this comprehensive guide for the tools to launch or redesign your surcharge.

In this toolkit, you’ll gain:

  • 7 tips to expertly implement surcharges
  • A sample attestation form to use with employees
  • Sample language to use when announcing a surcharge to employees
  • General FAQs to share with employees about how surcharges work


For more insights on surcharges and quit-tobacco incentives, visit:

Surcharge on Health Insurance in Legal Crosshairs: Is Your Wellness Program Compliant?

Surcharge Issues When Remote Employees Secretly Work in Different States

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