There is a widespread misperception that health insurance companies often refuse to cover tobacco users and smokers. Yet, this is untrue. Indeed, a lot of good health insurance providers are willing to provide coverage for people who qualify, but generally at a higher cost and with more restrictions.
Smoking may have an impact on the price of medical insurance and other healthcare costs due to its harmful nature. Nonetheless, smokers need to buy health insurance coverage more than non-smokers since they are more likely to be susceptible to lifestyle illnesses. Let’s examine how smoking might impact your health insurance.
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Impact of Smoking on Health
Tobacco use and smoking cause serious illnesses such as lung cancer, mouth cancer, coronary heart disease, arthritis-causing bone weakness, blood vessel damage, an increased chance of cataracts, and decreased fertility. If they continue to smoke, pregnant women are more likely to have issues and dangers such as early delivery, ectopic pregnancy, and sudden infant death syndrome.
Heavy alcohol use and regular cigarette use might affect your medical insurance coverage in addition to having a negative influence on your health.
Do Smokers Get Health Insurance Too?
Indeed, a lot of health insurance companies cover smokers. Smokers have the legal right to apply for medical insurance, according to the IRDAI. Yet, each insurer has different terms, conditions, and premium prices.
Your insurer may request you to undergo a few medical exams if you smoke to determine your health before evaluating the premium, particularly if you are over 40 or want a bigger sum insured amount.
Do not Lie – Disclose it!
It’s crucial to tell your insurer the truth about your smoking history. False information may cause your claims to be denied, be seen as insurance fraud, and result in legal issues. Insurance companies may request additional medical testing if a smoker has a pre-existing ailment (such as diabetes or hypertension), whether the disease is caused by their smoking or not. The premium will then be determined depending on how serious these medical issues are. Moreover, there will be a 1-4 year waiting time before these pre-existing conditions are covered. Certain criteria may not apply to smokers even though this time is the same for both smokers and non-smokers.
Be honest about your smoking habits as well; even saying you only smoke 2 cigarettes a day when you smoke 6 might cause problems. Blood and urine tests performed at the time of claims may swiftly result in the claim being rejected if nicotine is found.
Impact of Smoking on Premium
As smoking increases your risk of developing lung infections, cancer, and other serious illnesses, it is one of the main variables that affect the premium to buy health insurance. As these health problems may increase the likelihood that smokers may later file claims for medical insurance, this puts them at a greater risk. Thus, a greater premium will be assessed.
Smokers may pay almost twice as much for health insurance as non-smokers. For instance, if a 25-year-old nonsmoker pays $5,577 per year for an insurance sum covered of $1 million, a smoker of the same age would spend somewhere about $9,270 per year for the same amount.
Ways to Reduce the Premium
There are a few things smokers may do to alter the fact that their health insurance rates are higher.
- Stop Smoking — Health insurers may take into account your 2-year smoking-free streak when determining your rates.
- Attending a Stop Smoking Program: If you find it difficult to stop smoking on your own, several health insurance companies provide or partner with programmes that may assist you. Once again, before your premium changes, you must demonstrate that you have not smoked for at least 2 years.
- Examine Several Insurance Providers: As there is a sizable smoking population in India, you can buy health insurance plans with comparably cheaper premium costs. Such businesses may be found by doing some investigation.
Smokers are more vulnerable to health issues since they have a higher chance of developing the vast range of ailments listed above. As a result, most insurance providers will charge smokers a greater rate than those who don’t smoke. By charging a larger premium, insurers may balance the entire expenses they spend while settling a claim, which also happens to be more likely.
Even though the insurer doesn’t specifically inquire about your status regarding smoking, there are situations when illnesses brought on by smoking are not covered by medical insurance. You really must thoroughly study the policy’s tiny print.
The effect goes beyond only medical insurance; it also affects the cost of life insurance. Smokers are more likely to submit a claim on an insurance policy owing to early death or developing a serious sickness in later life, which costs the insurer money. Again, smokers pay greater rates to insurance providers.
Niva Bupa offers various medical and cashless health insurance to smokers to safeguard their future.