Smoking and health insurance: Is it possible?
Finding an affordable health insurance policy that provides you adequate coverage is an uphill task. But getting the right health insurance for smokers is a completely different challenge.
It is a myth that no insurance company will agree to provide you insurance coverage if you are a smoker. But that’s far from the truth as health insurance plans are indeed available for smokers. However, the premium for such plans tends to be higher compared to the same for other plans. Read on to learn everything you should know about insurance plans as a smoker.
Why do smokers need a health insurance policy more than anyone else?
Every smoker needs to buy health insurance. Smoking hurts your body and can be the cause of many illnesses. Smokers are also more prone to contracting respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and lung cancer.
A health insurance policy ensures financial protection against these diseases. It can also help you pay for the medical expenses in case any other illness that may affect you.
Smoking and insurance: Learn the fine print
There are no particular insurance policies for smokers. Whenever you enquire about any health insurance plan, the insurer will ask you about your smoking habits.
The definition of a smoker is critical while looking at health insurance for smokers. According to most insurance companies, anyone who consumes nicotine in any form (including patches, gums, or cigars) is a smoker. Even if you smoke e-cigarettes or use a different form of vaporiser to smoke, you will still fall within the definition. It is not uncommon for insurers to inquire about the number of cigarettes you smoke or whether you have any respiratory or other diseases because of your nicotine usage.
You may also be asked to undergo a series of medical exams to determine the severity of your smoking. Again, this helps insurers to assess the extent of coverage and the premium.
It is also advisable to be absolutely honest about your smoking habits when asked. Don’t hide any information at the time of talking to an insurance agent. Providing false or misleading information about your health can result in the insurer rejecting your claim on the ground of fraud. There have been several cases of smokers not disclosing their smoking status at the time of availing of the policy, and at the time of claim settlement, the insurer refused to pay citing wilful non-disclosure of crucial information related to health. Make sure that you don’t face this situation.
Insurance premiums for smokers?
Smoking and health insurance premiumsM are very closely connected. While the insurance companies don’t have any special policies for smokers, the difference lies in the premium amount, which is linked to the number of cigarettes smoked every day. For example, those who smoke more than 10 cigarettes will need to pay a much higher premium than those who smoke five cigarettes. Insurance companies are also known for rejecting insurance policies of those who smoke more than two packs of cigarettes a day.
The premium for smokers is considerably higher compared to premiums paid by a non-smoker. The reason smokers pay more for health insurance is simple. Due to prolonged smoking, smokers are at a much higher risk of falling ill. They are also at a significantly higher risk of falling severely ill. As a result, the insurer needs to provide extensive coverage.
What happens if I start smoking after getting a health insurance policy?
It is good housekeeping practice to keep the insurer up to date about any changes in your lifestyle that may directly impact your health. If you pick up smoking after getting an insurance policy, inform the insurer as soon as possible, especially if you want a hassle-free claim settlement process. You can write to them or speak to a customer care executive to inform the change in status.
Depending on the frequency of your smoking, the insurance company makes modifications to your premium amount. The insurance company may also ask you to undergo medical tests to determine your current state of health.
If I am a smoker with existing health problems, can I still get health insurance?
Smoking puts you at a higher risk of falling critically ill. Therefore, it is always advisable to apply for a health insurance policy. An insurance policy ensures that you have a safety net to meet medical expenses when you suddenly fall ill and need to be hospitalised.
Keep in mind that every insurance application is examined by the insurer. There’s a chance that your application is rejected by the insurer if smoking has resulted in severe lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.
Some insurers also have quit smoking programmes and may offer you to join the same to help you kick the habit. If you successfully stay off smoking for a period of two years at least, the insurers may offer to reduce your premium. However, this varies on a case-to-case basis, and your medical history plays a significant role too.
If I only smoke one cigarette a day, do I still need to disclose my smoking habits to the insurance company?
For an insurance company, anyone who consumes nicotine in any form is a smoker. The number of cigarettes per day is only helpful in deciding the premium amount. Whether you smoke one cigarette a day or five, you need to disclose your smoking habits to the insurance company to help them make a better assessment of your health and fix the premium amount.
How do I ensure hassle-free claim settlement if I am a smoker?
Being completely transparent about your smoking habits is the best way to ensure a hassle-free claim settlement process.
When you apply for a health insurance policy, the insurer will ask you a series of questions about your smoking habits. Some of the commonly asked questions include: Do you smoke? Have you consumed nicotine or tobacco in the last six months? How much nicotine do you consume daily? Since the premium and coverage are linked to the state of your health, you must answer these questions truthfully to avoid getting charged with fraud. Hiding any relevant information can put your claim in danger.
What is the best health insurance for smokers?
The best policy is the one you take.
Even though you are a smoker, you are still eligible to apply for an insurance policy. You can minimise your chances of getting rejected by disclosing your smoking habits. Even though your premium might work out to be on the higher side, the policy still takes care of the expenses of various illnesses without putting a strain on your finances.
If you are a smoker, it is still not too late to apply for a health insurance policy. Having a medical insurance policy with higher premiums is better than not having anything to protect your finances during a medical crisis. When you speak to the insurer, make sure to be absolutely honest about your smoking habits and don’t hide anything simply because you don’t want to pay more premium. Timely and proper disclosures can go a long way in securing your health and the future of your loved ones.
Disclaimer: The above information is indicative in nature. For more details on the risk factor, terms and conditions, please refer to the Sales Brochure and Policy Wordings carefully before concluding a sale.