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Health Insurance

How drinking alcohol and smoking impacts Health Insurance


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Do you smoke tobacco or drink alcohol often? If yes,and you are wondering if you’re eligible for a health insurance plan,then read on know more.You might be under an impression that smokers and heavy drinkers face lot many obstacles in taking a medical plan. Yes, it is true that non-smokers and those who do not drink alcohol or do so in moderation find it easier to attain a mediclaim policy. They might also end up pay less for it.But remember, it is not impossible to take a health plan if you do smoke or drink alcohol. But if you follow both these habits, then there are a few hurdles that you have to face.

Below,we have discussed the effect of alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking on medical insurance policies.

Alcohol Consumption and its Effect on Health Insurance Plans

To becounted as an alcoholic, the insurer may have a few parameters foryou. If you drink occasionally or once in a blue moon, the providermay not consider you as a chronic alcoholic. However, if you are ahabitual drinker who consumes alcohol every other day or week, thenyou are at a risk at having your health plan application rejected orapproved at a higher premium.



Heavy consumption of alcohol increases risks to different non-communicable diseases such as:

  • Pulmonary and orthopaedic diseases, pancreatitis
  • Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases
  • Cancers, liver cirrhosis, ischemic stroke, etc

These risk factors along with alcohol related pre-existing ailment are usually a cause for high utilization of healthcare. Thus, the insurer may perceive an alcoholic person as the one who could raise too many claims because of following an unhealthy lifestyle. This may dissuade health insurance companies from accepting the proposal form by proposers who frequently consume alcohol.

Smoking and Its Effects on Mediclaim Policies

When an insurer states a clause regarding smoking, it conveys the amount of tobacco use. So, if you use a tobacco product including cigars, cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco, or a pipe tobacco often,then it is considered as a risk factor. The information of tobacco use helps to determine the health plan coverage and premium rate.

Consuming and smoking tobacco gives rise to many health issues such as:

  • Oral cancer, lung cancer, low fertility
  • Coronary heart disease, weaker bones, increased risk to cataract
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, damage to blood vessels, etc
  • For pregnant women it can lead to stillbirth, early delivery, ectopic pregnancy, sudden infant death syndrome, and other problems.

This is why; insurers are not keen to provide medical insurance policies at standard premium rates to those who drink often. Even if the provider does approve the policy, the cost of it will be more. Some may refuseto approve the policy for individuals who already show signs of health deterioration caused by smoking and other tobacco uses.

How Health Insurance Policies Differ for Smokers and Alcohol Dependents?

Apart from detrimental effects on personal well-being, heavy alcohol consumption and frequent smoking of tobacco can have an impact on your medical insurance policy,as follows:

  • A Higher Premium Rate:As smokers and alcoholics pose a higher risk of contacting lung cancer, COPD, liver/heart problems, bronchitis, and other medical conditions, it makes them highly probable to health complications. This is why the insurer may ask for a higher rate of premium as against those who are non-smokers and do not consume alcohol or consume the same in moderation.
    However, there is no thumb rule of charging more premium to smokers and alcoholics until a medical test reveals that their health is being affected by these habits. So, it is best not to go by general belief and speak with the health insurance provider about possible policies you can take evenif you smoke or drink alcohol.
  • Plan Exclusions:Many insurance providers do not ask lifestyle related questions but completely exclude smoking and alcohol related ailments from the scope of coverage. These exclusions are mentioned in the policy wording, so read the fine print of the policy well and understand the exclusions before filling the proposal form.

Never Lie About Smoking and Alcoholic Habits in the Proposal Form

If you are a smoker or a drinker, do not lie about this information in the proposal form. Falsifying information will cause problems during claim settlement. If the insurer gets suspicious about these habits when you raise a claim, an investigation will be carried to understand the reason for your medical contingency.

If the health condition is found to be associated with drinking or smoking habit, which you had not mentioned in the proposal form, then your claim maybe rejected. At the end of it, you will have to bear the medical expenses from your own pockets. Moreover, the insurer can take legal action against you for providing incorrect information.

Should Smokers and Alcoholics Take a Health Policy?

So what if you are a smoker or a habitual drinker, should you avoid taking a medical insurance policy? The answer is – never stay uninsured. You must definitely seek a health cover even if the asking premium rate is on the higher side. You can always quit smoking and drinking and be accounted as a non-smoker or not alcohol dependent after a few years, which can bring down the premium cost.

Once you quit both these habits, within a week you shall see great improvement in your health. An activity that used to tire you out physically will not have that negative impact anymore. If you had trouble concentrating on work, or suffered from headaches due to chronic drinking, these will not disturb you again.

Health emergencies come unannounced and need not be related to your habit of smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol. So why risk draining out funds for other medical conditions? You should rather stay insured, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and keep your finances healthy.

Final Thoughts

Alcohol consumption and tobacco usage can cause several health problems,affecting you mentally, physically, and socially. It can also have an adverse effect on those around you. Passive smoking can cause health problems in non-smokers. Alcohol drinking can directly affect the foet us.

Both these ill habits make health insurance plans costly for you.It can invite medical emergencies at the times you least expect. To improve your health and chances of securing a medical plan, you should try quitting smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol.

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