Smoking is one of India’s most serious public health issues. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey conducted in 2016-17, India has nearly 267 million tobacco users. Despite the health risks, many smokers lack health insurance. Most people believe the myth that smokers cannot obtain health insurance plans for family or for self. Continue reading to find out if this myth is true.
Can smokers get health insurance?
Smokers can purchase health insurance plan. In India, several insurance companies provide medical insurance to smokers, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has ordered insurance companies to offer health plans to smokers.
According to insurance providers, a smoker smokes cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, pipes or snuffs or chews tobacco more than four times per week. Furthermore, anyone who has smoked more than four times per week in the previous six months is considered a smoker.
Do smokers have to pay more for health insurance?
Yes. Smokers pay a higher premium for the same critical illness insurance policy as nonsmokers. The simple reason is that smokers are more susceptible to various health conditions than nonsmokers. Smokers, by definition, pose a higher risk to any insurance company because they are more likely to file a claim.
The difference in the premium amount, however, is determined by the number of cigarettes smoked in a day or week. The higher the number of cigarettes consumed, the higher the insurance premium charged by the company. For example, a person who smokes seven cigarettes per day will pay a higher premium than someone who smokes three cigarettes per day.
This is why smokers must have a pre-policy medical check-up before purchasing a critical illness insurance policy. It assists the insurance company in determining the appropriate premium amount.
Why is health insurance required for smokers and not an option?
According to the 2016-17 survey, active and passive smoking kills approximately 1.2 million people in India each year. This graphically depicts the harmful effects of smoking on the human body. To name few, smoking has been linked to the following conditions:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cancer of the Lungs
- Complications of Respiratory Diseases
- Heart problems
- Cancer of the Oral Mucosa
- Complications Associated with Pregnancy
Tobacco-related diseases necessitate long-term treatment, which can take years. They can potentially deplete a person’s life savings in a matter of months. Furthermore, rising inflation will only increase the cost of medical treatment in the coming years.
The only way to protect one’s hard-earned savings while remaining financially prepared for any smoking-related medical complications is to purchase smoker health insurance.
Health insurance advantages for smokers
Consider the following health insurance benefits for smokers:
- Financial assistance for medical expenses:
The most significant advantage of purchasing health insurance plans is the insurance company’s financial assistance in a medical emergency. The policy ensures that the insurance company pays for the smoker’s medical expenses if they are injured in an accident or are diagnosed with an illness.
- Hospitals that do not accept cash:
Medical insurance also provides insured smokers across the country with the benefits of cashless hospitalisation. To receive cashless treatment, all required is admission to a network hospital of the insurance company.
- Free health examinations:
Most health plans provide free preventive health check-ups to insured members regardless of smoking habits. While some plans offer this facility annually, others provide it after a certain number of claim-free years.
- Tax advantages:
Section 80D of the Income Tax Act of 1961 asks smokers to deduct the premium paid for a health insurance plan.
* Standard T&C Apply
** Currently, there are 2 tax regimes in India – new and old. To get the tax benefit you desire, choose the correct one after consulting an expert. You can opt for a regime change during the next financial year.
# Visit the official website of IRDAI for further details.
## All savings are provided by the insurer as per the IRDAI-approved insurance plan. Standard T&C apply
Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.
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