Remember Chandler Bing in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. trying to portray smoking to be “cool”? Well, he did eventually come to the realisation that such wasn’t the case, right?
We are hoping that you come to the same conclusion soon enough because….
Wait, do you really want us to TELL YOU WHY YOU SHOULD STOP SMOKING? Really? But, we will!
- It’s bad for your health. Like really, really bad. The list of ailments you acquire over a smoking habit is immensely long and terribly scary.
- Do you know how availing of health insurance plans is mandatory? And you know how people have this misconception that health insurance premiums eat away at your savings? Well, for smokers, this is actually true.
So, well, we obviously are advocating that in case you are a smoker, you STOP IT immediately. But then again, in that case, why are we talking about health insurance for smokers?
Here, take a look at why we chose this World No Tobacco Day to talk about health insurance plans for smokers, the best plans for them, their pros and cons, and how the premiums are affected when it comes to smokers.
Health Insurance Plans for Smokers in India
In 2022, India was looking at 267 million tobacco users in India, out of which a significant % are into smoking. While the statistics vary from one city to the other (you can find out about a city and its mysterious inclination towards smoking from our Instagram post - Smoking Problem, it’s true that India has one of the highest smoking populations across the globe.
Now, this is a FACT. One that we can strive to change but nothing immediately. Subsequently, this is a habit that breeds multiple fatal and near-fatal ailments. Considering that every and all individuals are strongly suggested to avail of health insurance plans, it is only obvious that smokers too fall into this crowd.
However, here is the problem - like in the case of any pre-existing diseases, smokers fetch a significant health risk that is a definite hurdle in the path of health insurance policies. Insurers are usually reluctant to offer any individual who is susceptible to such a queue of life-endangering ailments. So, the obvious question is are smokers at all eligible for health insurance plans? Let’s find out!
Are Smokers Eligible for a Health Insurance Policy?
To answer in a word, Yes. Smokers are eligible for health insurance policies. However, since their habit fetches a long list of near-fatal and fatal ailments, health insurers of course have financial terms and clauses associated with it.
Now, while these terms and conditions might mean a spike in your premiums to be paid towards the health insurance policy that you have, an extended waiting period, or some other repercussions, it also suggests that one gets a health insurance covearge despite having an ailment-domino effect inducing habit of smoking.
And honestly, while every individual be it a smoker or a non-smoker, requires a health insurance plan, when it comes to smokers, who are vulnerable to diseases like -
- Cardiac issues
- Oral cancer
- Lung cancer
- Respiratory troubles
- Complications in pregnancies
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cardiac issues
- Stroke, etc.
-smokers need the sum insured to meet the expenses arising out of any medical requirements.
Hence, although health insurers might be boosting the premium on health insurance plans by adding a loading charge for high-risk smoking policyholders, the plans are worth the price. But, how much of a premium spike are we talking about? Here’s a quick look -
How Does Smoking Impact Your Health Insurance Premium?
Smokers are high-risk potential policyholders. Considering the high number of smokers in the country and the ailments that they are prone to, it was only a win-win situation for insurers and potentially insured individuals to craft and avail of a customised health insurance plan. But this does not come without a cost - health insurers pose a loading charge on the premium:
(*Note: Min of 10% loading charges will be applicable. Depending on the consumption of cigarettes the insurers may increase the charges too. If the individual smokes more than 10 Cigarettes per day, then the policy gets rejected.)
Now this spike in premium of course adds to the financial burden on a policyholder. So, naturally, over and above the disease concerns, the hiked premiums are yet another reason to quit smoking. But, there’s a hush-hush cheat sheet to this.
Things to know when availing of a Health Insurance Plan as a Smoker
In case you are a smoker and are planning to approach a health insurance provider, there are a few things that you have to keep in mind. Before we delve into the details of these pointers, do understand this - as smokers, you are a high-risk policyholder seeking a health insurance plan. Insurers look at you as an individual liable for multiple hospitalisations over health complications and critical ailments. Hence, you need to expect certain compromises across your health insurance policy.
- The transparency in your disclosure is pivotal
When you are about to avail of a health insurance plan, your insurance advisor/insurer will list out a few queries regarding your existing health conditions, predisposition to any genetic health scares, and any habits that might influence your health.
If you plan to keep your smoking habit a secret and expect your health insurers never to find off, that would be a difficult move to pull off. One hospitalisation that requires you to raise a claim, the compulsory requirement to be honest with your doctor, and your secret would be out. The consequences can be devastating - claim rejection, policy cancellation, etc. So, make sure to be absolutely transparent and disclose your smoking habit.
- Expect a hike in premium
As explained above, a smoker is a high-risk policyholder who is highly vulnerable to multiple ailments that may lead to hopsitalisation over health complications. This means higher risks of payout for the health insurance providers. Thus, health insurance providers put in a loading charge as a measure to financially safeguard themselves. So, expect a spiked premium on your plans from the best health insurance providers.
- Smokers vs Non-Smoker Premium Comparison
Well, there’s nothing COOL about smoking. Plus, the financial risks when opting for any of the best health insurance plans are a growing concern. Just take a look at the premiums for the same plans, for the same sum insured, for smokers and non-smokers, and you’ll know what we are talking about.
You can also reach out to an insurance expert or to your potential insurer and you’ll know all about this.
- Smoker+ Pre-Existing Conditions
If you are a smoker with certain pre-existing health conditions, you might be looking at -
- A complete rejection of the health insurance plan
- An extensive pile-on on the loading charges leads to a substantial premium.
So, make sure to approach multiple health insurers and compare the premiums of the plans before you finalise one plan.