Many people think that smokers can’t get a health insurance policy. This is perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions in the field of personal finance. Companies offering health insurance do offer policies to people who smoke. However, the terms and conditions are different when compared to those offered to people who don’t smoke. Read on to find out how you, a smoker, can get health insurance for yourself.
The policy terms are different for a smoker
Insurance companies do offer health insurance to smokers. But as we said earlier, the terms will be different. You will have to pay higher premiums. Even so, this should not keep you from getting a policy. Considering that smokers are more prone to getting lifestyle diseases when compared to non-smokers, it becomes all the important for you to get one.
How insurance companies look at your smoking habit
If you use nicotine in any form, then by definition, you are a smoker in the eyes of health insurers. When you apply for a policy, insurers will ask you whether you smoke or not. They will also ask you if you have smoked in the last 6 months.
Some of the other details they require include the number of cigarettes you smoke per day and whether you face any health conditions because of it.
If you mention your smoking habit, the insurer will also ask you to take a few tests to confirm the effects of smoking. These tests are mandatory. The results of these tests are considered when calculating your insurance premiums. They also look at your age and the sum assured when they offer you a policy.
The biggest reason why you should get these tests done is so that there will not be any disputes when it comes to settling a claim later.
Your health condition is a driving factor when it comes to determining your policy premiums. In fact, insurance companies will look into your existing illnesses (if any) before they give you a policy. They look especially at conditions like hypertension and diabetes. In fact, if you have type 2 diabetes, the insurer may not even give you a policy.
If you don’t smoke at all, you can get a policy with ease. If you smoke only a bit each day and have no smoking-related illnesses, you can still get one without any hassle. But if you’re someone who goes through about 20 cigarettes or more per day, most insurers will reject your application outright.
The premiums make all the difference
Insurers offer the same policies to both types of individuals. But the differences are seen in the premiums. The more you smoke, the higher the premium you will have to pay.
It all depends on how much tobacco you consume on a daily basis. If the medical tests show that you have an existing illness, your policy will not include it for at least a few years.
If you want to get a health insurance policy at a lower premium, you need to prove that you are trying to quit smoking. There are various programs that help smokers kick the habit. Stay away from smoking for at least 2 years and you can see your premiums reducing.
So why does a smoker like you need a health insurance plan?
The main reason why many smokers don’t even consider applying for a health insurance policy is that they think that they will be rejected right away. But this is not necessarily true. You can get a policy unless you smoke more than 20 to 30 cigarettes a day.
You need to make sure you’re covered against illnesses that may crop up in the future. These include hypertension, respiratory illness, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
Your premiums may be higher, but it is wiser to get a policy. Your hospitalisation bills can financially ruin you if you don’t have the right insurance plans.
Why disclosures are important
When you fill up the policy application, be honest and open. If you fail to disclose an existing illness or condition, your future claims may be rejected by the insurer. You normally would have to wait for at least 3 years before you can get coverage for your existing illnesses.
If there are any lifestyle changes, you need to reveal them as well. For example, if you smoke 10 cigarettes a day and you disclose that you smoke only 4, your future claim will be rejected. Why? Because your medical tests can reveal exactly how many cigarettes you smoke every day.
The level of nicotine in your urine and blood samples will reveal this. When you put up a claim, medical tests will reveal whether you are a smoker or not. So, if you do smoke and put down that you don’t, your claims will eventually be rejected since the truth will come out anyway.
All said and done, insurers do offer health insurance policies to smokers. Find out which policy you’re eligible for and what your premiums are. Smoking is not a cheap habit. So why not put in a little more money and protect your future as well? You don’t want to be in a situation where you desperately need medical aid but have no money and no insurance policy to help you out. Think wisely and act today. And if you can, kick the habit today.