Non-Tobacco Use Policy

No Tobacco Use Effective January 1, 2015

On or after January 1, 2015, all individuals who complete paperwork to enroll in the County's Health Plan (including retirees enrolling upon retirement) will be subject to a surcharge if he/she certifies to using tobacco products. Failure to certify or certifying incorrectly will also subject the employee to a surcharge and penalty for each enrollee who fails to certify. Tobacco products are defined as cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, electronic or e-cigarettes that contain nicotine. Nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches are also considered tobacco products.

1.     What is considered a Tobacco product?

Tobacco products are defined as cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, electronic or e-cigarettes that contain nicotine or any other product that contains tobacco or nicotine. Nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches are also considered tobacco products.

2.      How do I certify?

Upon being hired by Monroe County BOCC and/or upon enrolling into the County’s Health Plan, you will be provided a certification form to complete for yourself in addition to any eligible dependents you wish to enroll in the County’s Health Plan.

3.      Do I complete the certification form for my eligible dependents upon enrolling them in the Health Plan?

No. All eligible dependents must complete his/her own certification form prior to being admitted to the health plan. The parent or legal guardian may complete and sign on behalf of a dependent under 18 years of age.

4.      What happens if I or my dependent fails to complete the certification form?

For employee: Failure to complete the form within 30 days of enrollment date (i.e. 30 days before the date on which the health insurance becomes effective) will result in the employee being assessed a surcharge of $100.00 in addition to a $50 penalty. Other enrollees who fail to complete the certification form will not be admitted to the health plan (including prescription benefits).

5.      I just discovered that one of my dependents uses tobacco. What do I do?

You will need to have the individual certify that he or she is a tobacco user immediately. The additional premium will start at the first of the month following the certification.

6.     Do I need to complete the Non-Tobacco Use Attestation Certification Form and attest if I use tobacco products if I was hired prior to January 1, 2018?

Yes, everyone regardless of their date of hire needs to attest to using tobacco products.

7.      Is the surcharge and penalty illegal?

 No. Many employers have enacted similar, or even stricter, rules.

8.   How do I get help if I want to quit using tobacco?

Tobacco cessation services are available through the following contacts: 

  • AHEC (Area Health Education Center)  www.ahectobacco.com www.aheceducation.com Online CME/CE Courses www.fkahec.org Keys AHEC Webpage
  • 1-87-QuitNow-6 www.smokefree.gov 
  • American Cancer Society (1-800-ACS-2345)
  • www.tobaccofreeflorida.com offers online, phone counseling and free nicotine replacement therapy. AHEC: 877-848-6696
  • Monroe County’s Prescription Provider: 1-800-361-4542 for more information
  • Facebook: facebook.com/keys.ahec 

9.   What if I quit or my dependent quits?

If a covered individual ceases using tobacco products and has not used tobacco products, the individual can change the certification to a non-tobacco user. Once the Benefits office receives the certification, the monthly surcharge and/or penalty will end on the next payroll schedule.

10.   What if I start using tobacco products after certifying as a non-tobacco user?

You must change your certification status immediately or you risk penalty or fraud.