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HEALTH INSURANCE

Can Smoking Affect Your Health Insurance Cover?

Neha Gadoo Neha Gadoo 09 February 2017

To smoke or not to smoke is in itself a very sensitive debate. But can this habit burn a hole in your health insurance cover too?

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Our lifestyle deeply affects our overall health. So if you cultivate unhealthy habits like binge eating, alcohol drinking, smoking, etc., you stand higher chances of facing health hazards as compared to those who cultivate healthy habits like daily exercising, maintaining a balanced diet, etc. Unhealthy habits are like a double edged sword. They cut into our pockets when we indulge in these habits and also increase the chances of various ailments which damage our overall health.

Having unhealthy habits also lower our chances of availing a comprehensive insurance plan at lower rates of premium. Whether it is health insurance or life insurance, such individuals are charged higher premium because they present a higher risk. Take smoking for instance. My friend, a chain-smoker, once complained that his insurance company charged him a higher premium as compared to his colleague, who was also of his age and had opted for the same plan. On research, we found that the company had charged a higher premium because he was a smoker and thus was considered more susceptible to medical complications.

Apart from the belief that smoking is perhaps the most expensive way to one’s grave, here’s how this habit affects your health insurance policy:

  • Higher Rates of Premium: As seen in the case of my friend, health insurance companies charge higher premium from smokers because they have a higher risk of contracting multiple illnesses like lung cancer, bronchitis, COPD, etc. This makes it highly probable that smokers will face more medical complications that will in turn entail the insurer to pay the claim.

  • Exclusions: Some insurers do not ask you any lifestyle related questions in the proposal form. This is because they exclude smoking-related ailments from the scope of coverage altogether. Such exclusions are often mentioned in the policy wording and must be considered if you are planning to buy the health plan.

It is because of these factors that some individuals end up hiding their smoking habit while filling up the proposal form for buying a health insurance policy. If you ask us, that is not a wise idea!

Falsifying any information about you in your proposal form is foolish. Always remember that if the insurer gets suspicious when a claim arises, an investigation would be carried out to decipher the cause of the medical contingency. If found to be associated with your smoking habit, something that you had not mentioned in the proposal form, the company will reject your claim. Ultimately, you would have to foot the bills.

Rather than trying to hide or misrepresenting your lifestyle habits, it is advisable to quit smoking altogether. Because a health insurance company will require you to pay higher premium if you smoke. Ultimately, smoking will prove to be an expensive habit that will not only include the money spent on the indulgence, but also for paying off the higher premiums.

Neha Gadoo
Written by Neha Gadoo
Daring and Bold, Neha loves philosophy, trekking and walking bare feet in the rain. Loves talking and can stare out of a car window for hours continuously.