Tobacco user certification starts November 7

Beginning November 7 and continuing through December 9, employees and retirees enrolled in the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) health plan who use tobacco or have a covered family member who uses tobacco must sign in to their accounts at or call (866) 399-6908 toll-free to certify tobacco use.

Individuals who don’t use tobacco and who don’t cover family members using tobacco don’t have to do anything; their premiums won’t increase. Individuals who are not enrolled in the ERS health plan don’t have to do anything.

Starting January 1, 2012, under state law, tobacco users in the ERS health plan will pay higher premiums for their health insurance coverage. The ERS website includes more information, such as the definition of a tobacco user and a list of products that will be considered tobacco.

Employees and retirees can get help to quit tobacco so they don’t have to pay more for health insurance. Certain prescription tobacco cessation drugs—Zyban, its generic Bupropion, and Chantix—are now covered.