Are health insurance premiums higher for smokers? If they are, what’s the reason? Find out more about it below.
Lung cancer is the number 1 cancer threat to both men and women. Despite the dangers of smoking, millions of people are still smoking regularly.
Even if you are vaping, it’s still considered smoking. In 2016, the FDA labeled vapes as tobacco products.
With the FDA labeling vaping nicotine inhalers as tobacco products, most health insurance companies followed suit. As a result, the policies about tobacco products have been changed.
Thus, if you smoke or vape, expect to pay higher premiums for your health insurance.
Are Health Insurance Premiums Higher for Smokers?
Unfortunately, your health insurance premiums are higher than for non-smokers.
Health insurance companies will consider you a smoker if you are using tobacco products several times a week in the past 6 months.
Regular smokers know that they will pay higher health insurance premiums. Because of that, some of them won’t tell the truth during the interview.
However, if you do so, you are increasing your risk of being charged with insurance fraud. It’s a misdemeanor. If you are found guilty, you will face probation or jail time.
You’re also likely to lose your health insurance.
The insurance company won’t investigate whether you are a regular smoker or not. But your doctor will note in your medical records that you are a tobacco user based on the result of your blood and urine examinations.
Your health insurer can uncover that note when it reviews your treatment before it pays your bill.
Thus, be honest with your answer when ask if you’re a smoker or not.
Why Health Insurance Premiums are Higher for Smokers?
The reason insurance companies charge smokers with higher premiums is that they want to convince smokers to quit this nasty habit.
However, if you’re a casual smoker, you can avoid the higher premium charges. Your use of tobacco can increase to a certain point before your health insurers can penalize you.
But not all states charge smokers extra.
If you live in Arkansas, Kentucky, or Colorado, expect to pay for a higher premium.
Are There Smoke-Friendly Health Insurance Companies?
Health insurance companies can charge smokers up to 50% more for premiums. But you can find health insurers that don’t charge more. They are so-called smoker-friendly carriers.
Thus, if you are worried about health insurance premiums, you can shop for smoker-friendly carriers.
Will Your Application for Health Insurance Be Rejected?
With the passing of the Obamacare health plans, no insurance companies can reject tobacco users. But they are allowed to boost their premiums.
Health insurance companies are not allowed to raise their coinsurance or copayments.
In that case, they can only charge you more for your health insurance premiums.
What If You Quit Tobacco Use?
There are cessation programs that can help you quit smoking.
When you participate in one of those programs, you won’t pay any out-of-pocket expenses. These programs will include prescription medicine to stop smoking, replacement therapies, and counseling.
Is It Ethical for Health Insurance Companies to Charge Smokers Higher Premiums?
Diseases related to smoking can cause hundreds of billions of dollars per year in medical expenses. They can also cause productivity loss.
Because of the toll of smoking, 58% of Americans want health insurance to charge smokers with higher rates. In that way, smokers will be encouraged to stop smoking.
But the question is it even ethical to charge them with higher premiums?
Some people think that it’s not ethical. But others do consider it as an ethical practice. For one, it encourages smokers to quit, resulting in an improvement in public health. It also reduces smoking-related costs.
Studies showed that monetary incentives could increase smoking cessation.
However, healthy individuals still have the highest lifetime health care expenses.
Do You Really Need Health Insurance?
Health insurance can be expensive. However, having a health insurance policy can make a difference when you need to undergo medical treatment.
If you need routine care, the service will be covered by your insurance.
If you need prescription medicines, your health insurance can reduce the cost of out-of-pocket expenses. Furthermore, you have options when you visit the hospital for non-emergency purposes.
Is It Worth It to Obtain Health Insurance?
Yes, health insurance is worth it. If you’re a smoker, health insurance can still help pay for your medical expenses.
But it is still important that you choose to stop smoking. It’s for your own health.
Are health insurance premiums higher for smokers? Yes, they are. The rates are justifiable to encourage smokers to stop. However, some think that it’s unethical to charge smokers higher premiums.
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