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Have you decided to kick your smoking or tobacco habit? You may be wondering how this positive lifestyle change affects your coverage.

BlueEssentialsSM and Business BlueEssentialsSM plan members may pay a surcharge for recent tobacco use. Do you still have to pay the surcharge if you quit? That depends on your plan.

BlueEssentials Annual Individual and Family Plans

Did you purchase an annual individual or family plan directly from us or through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM)? During enrollment, you answered questions about tobacco usage. If you answered yes, you may be paying a 20 percent surcharge. This charge will remain through the end of the benefit year. But you can adjust it for the next enrollment period. 

If you’ve been tobacco-free for at least six months, be sure to update this information on your application at www.HealthCare.gov. If you don’t make this change, the tobacco surcharge will apply when the plan automatically renews.

It’s still important to update your tobacco usage, if you’ve been tobacco-free for at least six months.

Business BlueEssentials

Do you have a Business BlueEssentials plan through a small employer? You can have the surcharge removed. You must enroll in or complete a quit tobacco program. Follow these steps:

  1. Enroll in a tobacco cessation program. There are several available. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) offers a free program called the South Carolina Tobacco Quitline.
  2. Complete the Tobacco Usage Form. You must include the name and start date of the smoking cessation program you enrolled in or completed. Download the Tobacco Usage Form.
  3. Submit the form. You can email it to group.membership@bcbssc.com, or ask your benefits coordinator to submit it on your behalf.

Once we receive and process this form, we’ll remove the surcharge for the next billing cycle. Note that we cannot remove it retroactively.

Need Help Quitting?

DHEC offers a free program called the South Carolina Tobacco Quitline. The program offers:

  • Free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to eligible enrollees
  • Free one-on-one coaching session with a Quit Coach
  • Help developing a personalized quit plan

Visit the South Carolina Tobacco Quitline website to learn more.

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