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How are Smoking and Health Insurance Related?

Smoking has emerged as one of the most serious public health issues in India. Smokers pay more for health insurance since they are more likely to fall to serious illnesses with costly treatment. Even though smokers are aware of the health concerns associated with smoking, they don’t opt for health insurance. There are several companies that offer health insurance policies with broad coverages including critical illnesses. However, due to the fact that smokers have higher chances of falling ill than non-smokers, insurance companies provide coverage at a higher premium, which makes smokers pay more for health insurance.

Need for Health Insurance for Smokers

Smoking is associated with multiple critical illnesses like lung cancer, brain stroke, respiratory disease, and so on. These are some of the illnesses that might affect a smoker and treatment of these diseases is extremely expensive. Hence, having health insurance will lessen your financial burden and save you from economic difficulties. Aside from covering these ailments, a health insurance policy will also cover some illnesses, injuries, and diseases that the insured person may have in the event of an accident.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Health Insurance Premium?

Health insurance rates for smokers are higher than for non-smokers. The reason for this is that smokers are more susceptible to health issues and illnesses than non-smokers. Smokers pay more for health insurance because smoking may lead to a variety of health issues such as lung infections, cancer, and other critical ailments. This puts smokers at a larger risk, as these health conditions may increase the likelihood of their filing health insurance claims, making them a liability for insurance companies. Hence, insurance companies charge a high premium to smokers.

 

However, your premium amount depends upon the number of cigarettes you consume in a day. For instance, if you consume 8 cigarettes in a day, your premium will be higher than the individual who consumes 4 cigarettes in a day. To obtain health insurance, you will have to undergo a pre-medical examination as per the insurance company’s policy. This helps in determining the appropriate premium value. 

Should You Opt for Health Insurance if You are a Smoker?

Individuals who smoke usually get confused thinking about whether they should get health insurance or not. But in this uncertain life, getting health insurance is no longer an optional thing, rather it has become a necessity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) study (as of 2019), tobacco consumption causes the death of more than 7 million people per year. Direct consumption caused almost 6 million fatalities, whereas passive smoking causes 890,000 deaths. In India, smoking kills over one million people each year and is the fourth major cause of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease and cancer, which account for 53% of all fatalities. This report provides a clear picture of the harmful effects that smoking is creating in people’s lives. 

 

While smoking increases the risk of critical illnesses like oral cancer or heart disease, health insurance will keep you financially prepared. Furthermore, growing inflation will further raise the expense of medical treatment in the coming years. Hence, to protect yourself from financial difficulties, health insurance is a wise option. 

What Constitutes a Smoker for Insurance Purposes?

While applying for health insurance, you are required to answer three questions:

 

  1. Do you smoke?

  2. How many cigarettes do you consume in a day?

  3. Have you smoked in the past six months?

 

These answers will help the insurance company to decide on a premium value. You will be considered a smoker if you smoke more than four times a week and have done so for at least six months. Insurance companies assess daily tobacco intake as an indicator, hence if you smoke more than 10 cigarettes daily (varies from company to company), your health insurance rates will be higher. 

Why is it Important to Disclose Smoking to Your Insurer?

While applying for health insurance, you must inform your insurance company about your smoking habits. At the time of claim, blood and urine tests are performed to verify the provided details. The most crucial part of failing to disclose that you are a smoker is that it may result in the denial of claims, especially if the treatment is connected to illnesses caused by smoking or the usage of nicotine compounds. Additionally, false information may cause you to be viewed as insurance fraud, and result in legal issues. Hence, to avoid these kinds of situations, you must disclose the right information to your insurer. 

Why Does Smoking Increase Your Health Insurance Premium?

Smoking is one of the most significant variables in determining your health insurance premium since it might cause a number of health problems such as lung infections, cancer, and other serious illnesses. This increases the health risks for smokers, making you a liability for insurers. As a result, health insurance rates for smokers are higher. The rates may increase substantially if the insurance provider determines that your smoking habits are having a negative impact on your health. The premium value may vary from insurer to insurer as per their terms and conditions. 

What about Smokers with Pre-Existing Health Conditions?

If a smoker has a pre-existing ailment such as hypertension, respiratory disease, diabetes, etc, insurers may request further medical testing to check whether these conditions have been caused due to smoking or not. The premium will then be determined depending on the severity of these health issues. Furthermore, there will be a waiting period of 1-4 years before these pre-existing conditions are covered by your health insurance. 

What Can Smokers Do to Reduce their Health Insurance Premiums?

If you wish to get health insurance but are reluctant due to the higher premium, you can follow the below-listed tips to get it at a reduced cost. 

1.Do a Comparison

Several insurance companies are available from where you can purchase a health insurance coverage policy. However, before finalising on any policy, you must do a comparison between the premium costs of different companies and check their health insurance rates for smokers. This will assist you in finding a health insurance policy with a reduced premium. 

2.Quit Smoking

If you quit smoking for at least two years during the coverage period, health insurers may reduce your premiums accordingly. Always remember smokers pay more for health insurance and non-smokers pay less.

3.Participate in a Smoking Cessation Campaign

If you want to quit smoking but find it difficult, you may join a smoking cessation program. Several health insurance companies provide or have affiliations with smoking cessation groups that can assist you. However, after joining the program, you must quit smoking for at least two years in order to change your premium costs.

Benefits of Buying Health Insurance for Smokers Online

Here are multiple benefits that smokers can receive by buying health insurance online. 

1.Can Do a Comparison

Buying health insurance online allows you to do a comparison between different coverage plans and their premiums anytime, anywhere. It will help you in selecting the best policy that meets your needs.

2.Easy Application Process

The application process is hassle-free and simple. Moreover, it will take just a few steps and minutes to purchase a policy, saving you time and effort. Bajaj Markets is one of the best platforms through which you can apply for this policy.

3.Minimal Documentation

You will be saved from the time-consuming documentation process as most of the companies follow the minimal documentation policy. 

4.Discounts

Several companies offer discounts on their policy or premium rates on their online portal. It will be an added advantage to your policy. 

5.Easy Claims

You are not required to visit the office of your insurance provider as you may file your claims easily just by visiting the site of your insurer. 

6.Online Premium Calculator

Many insurance companies provide an online premium calculator on their website through which you can easily calculate your premiums. Knowing the actual amount will assist you in planning your financial expenditures accordingly. 

The Cost of Health Insurance for Smokers Vs. Non-Smokers

Smokers pay more for health insurance in comparison to non-smokers. This is due to the dangers involved since smoking increases the chance of lung infections, cancer, hypertension, and other illnesses. However, in most cases, insurance companies don't increase the premium cost until there are medical issues. Smokers' premiums vary between insurance companies. Before determining the coverage premium, the insurer may even request a medical test result. Hence, it is advisable, before you purchase a health insurance plan, you must evaluate the insurer's track record and the coverage they are offering.

Concluding Comments

Nowadays, it's critical to have a health insurance plan since healthcare costs are rising daily. You should get health insurance in order to protect yourself and your family. Remember, smoking puts you in a high risk category. Additionally, having a health insurance policy will safeguard your finances in the event of any kind of medical treatment. Since the insurance will cover the cost of the medical bills, you will undoubtedly save a significant amount of money. To further boost the coverage in your insurance policy, you can choose the critical illness add-on.

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FAQs

  • ✔️Why do smokers need health insurance?

    It is crucial for a smoker to be protected by health insurance coverage since it protects them from severe ailments caused by smoking. Lung cancer, hypertension, heart disease, and other ailments are a few of the diseases. Aside from this, health insurance coverage protects them in the case of an accident.

  • ✔️What happens if I lie about my smoking habits while applying for health insurance?

    You must notify your insurance provider about your smoking habits when applying for health insurance. Failing to do so can result in claim denial. False information may also lead to you being accused of insurance fraud and resulting in legal problems. As a result, in order to prevent such scenarios, you must provide accurate information to your insurance.

  • ✔️What if I start smoking after acquiring a health insurance policy?

    If you begin smoking after purchasing a health insurance policy, you must keep your insurance provider informed of your habits in order to avoid complications during claim settlement.

  • ✔️Will I get any tax benefits with a health insurance policy?

    Section 80D of the Income Tax Act of 1961 allows smokers to deduct the amount paid for health insurance coverage.

  • ✔️Why do smokers pay more for health insurance?

    Smokers pay more for health insurance as they are more likely to develop serious illnesses like cancer or respiratory problems than non-smokers. Health insurance rates for smokers are higher since they are more likely to file a claim.

  • ✔️How do I calculate my premiums for health insurance?

    Several insurance companies offer a premium calculator on their website. You can use them in order to get the actual amount.