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How Does Smoking Affect Your Health Insurance Premiums

by Angelina

Tobacco use poses severe health risks, including irreparable harm and serious illnesses. Health insurance providers evaluate a potential client’s smoking habits, emphasising the seriousness of this issue. According to the World Health Organization, cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use globally. While there has been a 6% decline in tobacco use in India from 2009–10 to 2016–17, the risks associated with smoking underscore the importance of having health insurance.

Smokers: Are They Eligible For Health Insurance?  

Contrary to a common misconception, smokers can indeed obtain health insurance plans, but their health insurance premiums are typically higher than those of non-smokers. Insurance companies often categorise individuals who use any form of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco, as smokers. The underwriting team assesses the smoking frequency and nicotine content in a urine sample to gauge the individual’s current or potential health risks. *

What Impact Does It Have On The Premium?  

Customers of health insurance companies are prompted to indicate on their application forms whether they smoke and, if so, for how long.

Your smoking habits won’t significantly impact your insurance application in the case of a health insurance plan. Your insurance will cost about the same. However, if you smoke compulsively, they might raise your premiums or deny your application entirely. You will have few options left in that case. You can use a health insurance premium calculator to check on the estimated costs of premiums that you would need to pay.

Regarding life insurance, smokers may face significantly higher stakess. Compulsive smokers might even face application denials. Smoking-related health issues, including cancer, lung diseases, chronic bronchitis, and heart diseases, can lead to higher premiums and extended waiting periods for pre-existing diseases (PEDs) under health insurance. This means that coverage for treatments related to a pre-existing condition may only kick in after completing the required PED waiting period.

Why Is It Not A Good Idea To Hide Your Smoking Habit?

Even if a person does not smoke frequently, it is essential to disclose their smoking habits. While making a claim, concealing one’s smoking habits may cause issues. The insurance provider can deny the claim by providing non-disclosure justifications.  

Businesses may conduct medical checks to determine recent smoking habits and can reject your application or propose a counteroffer if you’ve smoked. It is important to be honest and offer full disclosure regarding one’s health, whether for life or health insurance. Insurance companies factor in such risks when setting premiums. Concealing smoking or other habits with established health risks can negatively impact the claim settlement process. If the insured’s documents reveal such habits during a claim investigation, it may lead to claim rejection due to material non-disclosure.

Can An Insurance Provider Refuse A Health Policy For A Smoker?

A health insurance policy is typically allowed for smokers or people with a tobacco addiction. However, insurance companies support healthy living and provide wellness health insurance benefits to policyholders.

*Standard T&C Apply

Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.

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