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Health Insurance for Smokers

It is common knowledge that smoking is unhealthy and that smokers are a greater risk to health insurance companies than non-smokers are. The Surgeon General's report in 1964, Smoking and Health made the public aware of the dangers of smoking and of the relationship between smoking, medical costs and mortality. The issue of health insurance for smokers and tobacco users has created some controversy over the years.

For decades, statistics have been showing increased health care costs for smokers. When comparing medical records of smokers with non-smokers, researchers typically find that smokers have much higher hospital admission rates than non-smokers, stay quite a bit longer while in the hospital, and have outpatient costs that are much higher. There is a significant difference in costs for health care and this has implications for the cost of health insurance for tobacco users. It is not surprising to see these costs ultimately reflected in health insurance premiums as well.

Health Insurance Rates and Smokers

Health insurance companies and employers have adopted a variety of approaches to deal with the issue of health insurance for smokers. Some companies have offered policies priced according to an individual's health status, including whether they are smokers or not.

How to Save on Health Insurance if You're a Smoker

Another approach to reducing costs associated with providing health insurance to smokers is to cover programs which help smokers quit such as the South Carolina Free and Clear® Quit for Life– Program that has been very successful in helping people stop tobacco use. The Quit for Life– coach often asks the smoker's physician to authorize Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and the health insurance covers the program as well as products for smokers including patches, gums or lozenges.

Among the trends in the health insurance industry is matching health risks with insurance policies. In fact, for those who want to go more in depth, there is an amazing amount of research and information available regarding the health risks associated with smoking including the effects of second hand smoke all over the web.

If you are a smoker looking to purchase health insurance, you will probably have to pay higher premiums. Insurance companies may even refuse to cover you because you smoke. The best and healthiest decision you could make would be to quit smoking. If you need help quitting, you can find many new treatments and programs to help.


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