Things One Must Know About Smoking and Health Insurance

3 min read

In India, the current health care system is experiencing drastic developments as it has changed completely from what it was until a few decades back. There is a constant increase in awareness for quality healthcare. There are numerous other growth factors responsible for the booming of the Indian health insurance industry. One of the most prominent factors is ‘awareness’ that has instigated the people to cover themselves i.e. individual health insurance under an adequate health insurance policy that gives them comprehensive coverage. Moreover, the stressful and unhealthy lifestyle that most people tend to follow these days has led to a significant increase in the incidence of lifestyle related ailments that include diabetes and hypertension. Smoking and health insurance doesn’t exactly go hand-in-hand. But understanding how one relates to the other will help you identify how tobacco use affects your finances.

As rightly said “Smoking is injurious to health”, a statutory warning printed on all cigarette packs. It’s a proven fact that smoking has been on the top habits for most of the people in our stressful and unhealthy lifestyle

For few people, smoking results only into lung cancer but they must be aware that it also results into many health disorders like it increases risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, hypertension , other lung disease and other critical illnesses.

Under life or health insurance, premiums are based on the following factors: Age of insured, Type of plan, the number of individuals in the policy, and tobacco use. When it comes to life or health insurance rates for smokers, it will always be on the higher side than comparatively to a Non- Smoker. The only reason for high premium is the risk of covering is high.

Few Important Points to be Looked at:

Rejection of proposal:

Smoking is one of the factors which impact the lifestyle. Its one of the important factor on which the policy is issued. There is a possibility of rejection if a person is a chain smoker or addicted as he is considered as unhealthy. To inform about smoking is one of the most important things as per the Principal of Utmost good faith. Insurers do ask for smoking habits. During issuance, Basis the medical test the policy is either issued or rejected. Rejection is done in case where the risk factor to the inured is too high, also if person is having some PED(Pre existing disease due to smoke) etc The insurability of smokers is determined by the seriousness of pre-existing lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Insurers may refuse policies to smokers suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.

Higher Premium is charged:

Premium is decided on the state of health. When it comes to life or health insurance premium rates for smokers, it will always be on the higher side than compared to a Non- Smoker. The only reason for high premium is because they have a higher risk of contracting multiple illnesses like lung cancer, bronchitis, etc. and also the rising cost of medicals. This makes it highly probable that smokers will face more medical complications that will in turn demand the insurer to pay the claim. Also if the person opts for family health plan then the premium is more high than individual plan.

Avoid Disputes during Claims:

It is always advisable for a smoker to get the medical tests done by the insurance company at the time of buying the policy itself to reduce area for dispute at the time of claim. A claim is rejected if you have been dishonest and this includes not updating the lifestyle changes, non-disclosure of a related ailment caused by smoking at the time of buying the policy.

Exclusion-

If a proposer is over 30-35 years or seeks a high sum assured. Many health insurance companies insist for medical tests. If the medical test reveals a particular health complication, that specific ailment is excluded in the initial years of the plan. Chain smokers and addicts may face an outright rejection

It is difficult to quit smoking but you have more immediate things to look forward like family, future goals etc. This means smokers have prevention and treatment options available to get them through their insurance and avoid big holes in their pocket to pay premium.

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Gayatri Prabhu, Head-Digital Business at Mahindra Insurance Brokers Limited (MIBL) is one those few digital leaders who has the width and depth that is required to execute an ROI driven holistic digital strategy. She cuts through the noise, identifies the critical levers and leads her team to successful execution of the defined strategy. Her core mantra to win new and retain existing customers is: understand the consumer behavior and craft experiences around it.

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