Financial planning is crucial in present times. One critical aspect of financial planning is getting a health insurance cover. It is a safety net for all those unexpected medical emergencies. Without a health insurance cover is like throwing caution to the wind, and you do not want to take such risk.
When purchasing health insurance policies, various factors collectively are responsible for determining the premium. Smoking is one such critical factor. There is a misconception that smokers cannot avail health insurance cover. While it isn’t true, there are a few caveats. Let us understand how health insurance and smoking tread.
What are the health hazards of smoking?
Nicotine, when consumed in any form, be it smoking or otherwise has an impact on your respiratory function. This not only leads to problems while breathing but also leads to more severe issues like oral cancer, lung cancer, coronary heart disease, arthritis (weakening of the bones), increased risk of cataract and decreased fertility. Further, the females can experience complications regarding stillbirth, premature delivery, ectopic pregnancy and even sudden infant death syndrome.
What is the impact of smoking habits on your health insurance premium?
Individuals who prefer to smoke are at a greater risk of the health ailments listed above. Thus, these individuals are at the brink of any health complications related to smoking. A higher health insurance premium is charged for such people. It is a way the insurers offset their risk while extending coverage to these individuals. The insurance companies have observed a more number of claims filed by smokers as compared to their non-smoker counterparts.
These higher premiums are not charged at a flat rate. The level of smoking determines his/her premium. Here a chronic smoker bears the highest impact of their vice and is required to pay the highest as compared to others.
Many insurance companies require a person to undergo medical tests to determine the premium to be charged. While sometimes, there is no differential pricing, some other insurers charge a higher rate in case the consumption level is above a particular threshold.
How do insurance companies know whether you smoke or not?
Most insurance plans have a pre-policy health check-up where you are asked specific questions about your health. These questions include tobacco consumption during the past six months. Although non-disclosure does not have a hefty penalty, the insurance company considers it as a fraud. In some situations, it may lead to denial of your claim. Thus, it is essential you declare correct and full information about your health. Smoking certainly has an impact on your premium but never will it be the cause of rejection of your application.
When buying an insurance cover, ensure you compare health insurance policies. The comparison will help you identify the various plans that can be purchased either at a similar price or as affordable alternatives. A health insurance premium calculator is a nifty tool that helps you in selecting a suitable policy based on your coverage requirements.
To conclude, smoking should be no reason to lie or conceal it to your insurer. Insurance companies do offer coverage to smokers but at slightly higher premiums adjusted for an individual’s smoking habits.