Effects Of Smoking On Health Insurance Premium


The visibility percentage of the omnipresent warning on all cigarette boxes — “Smoking is injurious to health” — has been increased from 40% to 85% in India, with effect from April 1, 2015. This stringent measure by the government is indicative of the rise in the percentage of major diseases due to smoking. Apart from being the root-cause of 30% of all cancer deaths, smoking has other serious perils — causative factor of 80% of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), 16-times higher risk of heart-attack, impotency or reduced fertility in men and decreased chances of conception, or eventual miscarriage among women. These are only a few of the many ailments triggered and enhanced by smoking.
If you think smoking only severely affects your health, well, the shocker is, it affects your pocket even worse! The material damage caused by smoking is to make you pay higher premiums for your health insurance. The rate of premium for smokers is 56% more than the non-smokers! Non-smokers even receive discounts or incentives from health insurance companies as against smokers who have to pay higher premiums due to raised health risks and shorter life expectancy.

Health Insurance in India is not only heavier on premiums for smokers but also offers lesser returns in comparison to non-smokers. Another warning for smokers is to not hide their smoking habit from their health insurance company for it is absolutely particular about covering smoking-related health issues and your benefits might dissolve if the company tracks your habit, or in case you pass away because of smoking related illness. Thus, to lie to the health insurer is never a good idea. What actually can be done to lower the premium is to quit smoking. Many health insurance companies consider 12-18 months of non-smoking as “quitting”, which can bring down your premium to as low as the half of what you pay as a smoker. If you cannot quit straightaway, try and opt for a healthier lifestyle and balanced diet. Add exercising to your daily schedule, which would affect your overall health and well-being.
Quitting smoking still remains the best option to considerably lower health premiums and increase returns, but if you do not find yourself to be quitting it any time soon, switch to better, healthier lifestyle.

About Keerthika Singaravel

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