Ricky Batten

Does smoking affect health insurance?

Whether you smoke occasionally or are a chain smoker, you might be wondering if this habit will affect your health insurance.


Whether you smoke occasionally or are a chain smoker, you might be wondering if this habit will affect your health insurance.

If you know anything about how health insurers work, it is that they tend to reward healthy behaviors and penalize unhealthy ones, as the latter puts the individual at a higher risk for developing health conditions and, thereby, making claims. So, based on this golden rule, the answer to the question “Does smoking affect health insurance?” is, unfortunately, yes. But fret not - this doesn’t mean that you can’t get insured as a smoker. In this blog, I’ll lay down all of your health insurance options.

Even if you don't consider yourself a smoker, health insurance companies might

Health insurers typically regard those who use tobacco or nicotine in any form (cigarettes, cigars, nicotine patches, and other similar products) as a smoker - regardless of how often they use these products. To be considered a non-smoker by health insurers, you must have given up smoking for at least 2 years. Honesty is expected on health insurance application forms so you will need to make your smoker status clear.

Lying about your smoker status is not advisable

Besides the fact that lying on your health insurance application form is unethical, did you know that it can also have significant consequences? Health insurers may find out that you’ve lied about your smoker status through the results of any medical tests and/or consultation. In these situations, they may either revoke your policy or refuse to process your claims. The end result is that you’ll be left without coverage when you least expect it.

Smokers do have options for health insurance if they pay more

As alluded to previously, smoking carries health risks. From lung cancers and heart diseases to stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, the number of health conditions associated with smoking is endless. This means that smokers are more likely than non-smokers to seek healthcare and make expensive claims, which negatively affects the loss ratio of health insurers. To pass on this risk to smokers, health insurers typically charge them higher premiums. 

Quitting smoking to lower your premiums

One easy way to lower your health insurance premiums is to consider giving up the unhealthy practice. Not only will you save money on health insurance (and tobacco products as well), but you’ll also safeguard your health and the health of those around you (via second-hand smoking), which is something you can’t put a price on. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!

Tried-and-tested tips to help you quit smoking

But, alas, giving up smoking is easier said than done. Courtesy of Samitivej Hospital, here are some tips that may help you ditch the tobacco:

1) Remind yourself why you want to quit smoking. If you are determined and have a goal, your chances of success are higher. For example, one goal could be to quit smoking so that you can be a better role model for your child. 

2) Familiarize yourself with the withdrawal symptoms that may occur in the first 2 to 4 weeks so that you’re prepared for them and ready to persevere. These can include frustration, anxiety, stress, insomnia, headache, and more.

3) Divert your attention if and when you have the urge to smoke. You can exercise, breathe deeply and meditate, drink plenty of water, or take up a hobby instead. It’s also good to know that cravings generally only last for 3 to 5 minutes at a time. 

4) Make sure the environment you’re in doesn’t tempt you back into smoking. This means putting cigarette packets out of sight and staying away from your group of friends who smoke. Surround yourself with those who encourage you to quit smoking. 

If you’d like to learn more about your health insurance options as a smoker or are ready to secure a plan today, you’re more than welcome to send me an email at ajarn@pacificprime.co.th or contact my team at Pacific Prime Thailand. 




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