Critical Link between Smoking and Health Insurance Policy

Published On 04 Jun 2019 By Gunjan Anand

Everything you should know related to smoking and health insurance policy!

Several myths surround the realm of health insurance plans. One of the most common one is related to and exists among regular smokers. Smokers believe that they would not be eligible for any health insurance scheme, or that they would need to pay a higher premium to get a good health insurance cover. It is not completely untrue that most of the time, a policyholder, who is a smoker, would need to pay more insurance premium when compared to a non-smoker. However, even if the insured is a smoker, these facts should not be a reason to opt for a health insurance policy. Here is some information that could help ‘clear the smoke’ around health insurance for smokers.  

Ø Is Premium Higher for Smokers? 

Given the ill effects of smoking, health cover premium is always higher for smokers. Despite this, when compared to the premium that non-smokers need to pay, the difference is not significant. The insurance providing company could however, increase the premium amount for a smoker, if the health risks are severe given the propensity to smoke. Having said this, not all insurers charge a higher premium for smokers. The charge for premium from those who smoke is treated case by case – not following an ‘umbrella’ process for all smokers. This is important since the health conditions, number of cigarettes smoked per day, and family health history, are all taken into account. Smokers would need to go through a comprehensive medical assessment before the premium amount is put in place. 

Ø Would it be a Good Idea for Smokers to opt for Health Insurance Plans? 

Smokers are generally hesitant to approach health insurers to buy insurance policies due to the fear of application rejection. This is an incorrect approach, since health insurance providing companies, turn down requests only in severe cases, which may include those with critical health conditions arising out of smoking. In addition, people who may have quit smoking would be considered as non-smokers after 2 years of giving up smoking. It is necessary to remember that even if you are a smoker, you should not hesitate to speak with health insurers with regard to buying a comprehensive health cover.

Ø Should you reveal all Relevant Information when Looking to Buy Health Insurance?

Providing accurate and true information is necessary and binding on anyone who seeks to buy health insurance. Correct information is especially necessary at the time of making an insurance claim, as this will help the speedy settlement of your claims. Incorrect / inaccurate information, is seen as willful concealment of facts, and would lead to hassles and inordinate delays claim settlement. In addition, even an occasional smoker must reveal this fact in the application form provided by the insurance firm at the time of buying insurance.

Cases of withholding facts or providing inaccurate information by prospective policyholders are on the rise. Therefore, in order to restrict fraudulent behavior and claims, investigation procedure by insurance companies is stringent, and only when they are completely satisfied, would they release the money owed in claims. In addition, since the contract between the insurer and insured are bound by law, providing correct information is essential to secure a balanced and smooth relationship with the insurance firm.

Ø How can Insurance be Helpful to Smokers with Existing Health Issues?

If you have been ignoring the significance of a health insurance plan but now feel the need to buy a policy owing to deteriorating health condition, it is advisable not to hesitate any longer, but rather approach an insurance company today to buy the most appropriate and comprehensive insurance policy. Smokers with failing health might be apprehensive in approaching an insurance company, but this is an incorrect thought process. Provide all the information in a truthful and sincere manner – that is complete and proper disclosures, the insurers could provide an insurance plan to manage your health needs, albeit following some medical tests.

As mentioned, the premiums would be higher than others and a waiting period would also be in effect, it would still be highly beneficial to own a health cover. You would save yourself an economic crisis arising out of a health emergency. However, if someone requires immediate coverage for a pre-existing disease, the person may opt for a critical illness plan to handle any medical emergency without going bearing a financial crunch. You may also like to read: Critical illness policies - How to choose the right one?

Critical Advice to Smokers:  

A health insurance policy for smokers may sound unrealistic, but it is a reality. Despite being a smoker, a person could be eligible to own a health insurance plan. Buy one as early as possible to prevent higher premiums and to avoid getting your application rejected by the insurers. This is so since a worsened health condition may lessen the chances of getting a policy quickly.