Can A Smoker Buy Health Insurance in UAE?

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It is not uncommon to come across the misconception that smokers do not get to buy health insurance in UAE or do not get the same type and amount of coverage that non-smokers do. While taking on smoking as a habit can bring significant changes to the way your insurance policy will work, it surely does not stop you from making a well-thought and worthwhile investment in your health. Depending on a plan that you choose for yourself, you will have coverage for all the treatments and facilities that any non-smoking policyholder would, in full. There are a few things you will need to know when proceeding to buy insurance as a smoker so, let us break them down further, in detail.

Who will be Considered a Smoker?

Cigarettes are not the only thing that is considered when a person is determined to be a smoker. An insurance company will consider you a smoker if you consume nicotine in any form at all. It could be chewing tobacco, cigars, nicotine patches, and even gum. The insurance company will ask you about your smoking habits at the time of insurance policy formalities. The questions may include asking whether you smoke and whether you have smoked in the past 6 months. For someone who smokes casually now and then, smoking more than 4 cigarettes in a week will make the considered person a smoker for insurance record.

Are Insurance Plans Different for Smokers?

Contrary to the popular belief, smokers can very easily take on any health insurance policy that they want to. Many people also tend to believe that even if a smoker buys health insurance coverage, the company will not cover the cost of diseases that come as a potential threat of smoking or that their claims may end up rejected. Health insurance policies offered in the UAE keep the same coverage and benefits for all insurance policyholders whether they are a smoker or not. However, there are a few things that will be different for smokers, the benefits will be the same altogether. Let us compare:

Parameters Smokers Non-Smokers
Availability of Insurance Plans Equal Equal
Benefits and Coverage Equal Equal
Premium Higher Lower
Claim Settlement Equal (in case of full disclosure) Equal (in case of full disclosure)

Do smokers pay more for Health Insurance Plans?

The premium of an insurance plan is the one thing that will get affected by a policyholder’s smoking habits. While insurance providers offer the same plans and benefits to every customer, they charge a higher premium from smokers. The amount of premium is decided as per the current health condition of the customer and whether smoking has left any damages to the generally affected organs yet. All-in-all, the insurance companies conduct a series of tests to determine how much of a risk a smoker will be depending on their current health condition. Once all these things are determined, a premium amount is decided for the plan that the customer chooses. That is the extent of the things in your insurance plan that will be affected by smoking.

What Kind of Information Do You Need to Disclose?

“Honesty is the best policy” is probably very relevant in this case. The more honest you are about your habits as a smoker and the overall condition of health, the better are chances that you will find the perfect health insurance policy for yourself. Not only that the chance of claim approvals is also high given that the company was already aware of smoking and the potential diseases that it can threaten your health with.

On the other hand, hiding information during the time of initial agreements may result in the rejection of claims and even charges like insurance frauds. The best way here is to keep your insurance provider completely aware of your smoking habits, however drastic or mild they seem to be. Not only that, if your insurance provider is aware of your health conditions and smoking routine, they generally offer several incentives and such on quitting smoking which also includes reduction of premium.

What if a Smoker has Existing Health Problems?

Not all health insurance plans available with insurance companies cover pre-existing diseases. There are special plans that offer full coverage on chronic and pre-existing diseases though. Given the fact that you have chosen one of these plans for yourself, it is certain that your pre-existing conditions will be covered by the insurance provider, whether you are a smoker or not. But again, the difference is payable premium will still be there and there may also be a small waiting period before the provider starts the coverage. However, the bottom line is that after all required tests and formalities are done, you will save a fortune on chronic and pre-existing conditions with your insurance cover.

What if you Quit or Take on Smoking After Buying Health insurance?

Keeping your insurance provider posted about your lifestyle and habits comes first in any of the two scenarios. If you happen to take on smoking after buying a health insurance plan your premium, for the time being, will increase given the fact that you become a high-risk candidate for the company. On the other hand, if you leave smoking and keep your health insurer informed about it, your premium will be decreased after a set amount of time. In case you choose not to inform the company about your recently taken smoking and happen to make a claim for diseases that are often a result of smoking, your claim will get rejected. Because the insurance companies run a thorough check before they pass such claims and any discrepancies will lead to a denied claim. If a smoker has become a chain smoker after buying the health insurance, the company may declare their policy null and void.

The Final Word

Getting a proper insurance policy is not difficult or impossible for smokers, as evident however it does come with a few restrictions. The most important thing when it comes to buying health insurance when you are a smoker is ‘full disclosure’. Health deteriorates as we head to old age and there is little one can do about it. this means that a health insurance policy is the inevitable support that we all may need at some point in our lives. This becomes a necessity in the case of smokers. A fully disclosed, honest revelation will ensure that you get the required support in the time of need from your insurer so make sure that you keep your lifestyle true and out in the open.

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