The majority of people who smoke know that smoking tobacco impacts their health insurance. However, marijuana might not be mentioned as often as tobacco. Although it is typical that health insurers have considered people who smoke marijuana as ‘smokers’, is medicinal marijuana covered by health insurance?
Health insurance companies currently see medicinal and recreational marijuana as the same thing, although this may change in the future, depending on where you live.
In this blog post, we are going to share with you how smoking marijuana could affect your health insurance policy.
Health insurance and marijuana usage
Laws on marijuana use naturally affect how insurers view its usage. In Canada, marijuana has been legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes since 2018. Several insurers in the country have been known not to penalise clients who use marijuana occasionally.
This is primarily due to the growing amount of scientific evidence regarding marijuana’s benefits. Likewise, it’s seen as comparatively safer than tobacco.
In accordance with a 2015 survey, approximately 33% of major American insurers class marijuana-users as non-smokers. This is hardly surprising, as the stance on marijuana has changed drastically over the years, leading to the federal government’s legalisation of medical marijuana and the decriminalisation of marijuana in 2017.
Through careful evaluations, many individual providers have weighed marijuana use against tobacco use and determined that its health impacts are far from similar.
This can be positive news for marijuana users currently wondering, “Can health insurers drop you for smoking weed?” Depending on where you are in the world and the laws surrounding marijuana, asking your insurer to review your policy might be possible.
Policyholders who use marijuana (whether for medical or recreational purposes) who were once given smokers’ premiums, could potentially be considered for non-smoker premiums.
However, marijuana users shouldn’t expect complete freedom. For example, some insurers may extend non-smoker rates to ‘occasional’ smokers. The meaning of ‘occasional’ can vary between providers, too (for instance, two joints per week or fewer). Medical marijuana users, however, will also be considered for non-smoker premiums.
It’s also worth noting that policyholders who wish to benefit from lower premiums should ensure they skip the tobacco when rolling their joints. If there’s one thing that health insurers can agree on with marijuana usage, it’s that users will only be considered non-smokers if they avoid tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes.
If you are a marijuana smoker who has used tobacco, nicotine, or e-cigarettes, then you may have to stop using them for at least 12 months before your health insurance provider will rate you a non-smoker.
Sign up for health insurance as a marijuana smoker
While perception of marijuana usage has greatly changed in recent years, filling out a health insurance application form will not be very different. Every time a prospective person replies to questions in an application form, there will be questions asking them if they use any recreational or legal substances, including marijuana.
Health insurance providers will still ask questions and prospective clients must still answer honestly and openly. Furthermore, they will likely be asked to disclose specific details around the manner and frequency of their marijuana usage.
With that said, the application process involves more than simply ticking a box that says ‘non-smoker’. Applicants must answer all standard questions regarding health and lifestyle when applying for the change. A health insurance company will consider all the information from the application before deciding how to proceed.
If you don’t have any health changes, you probably don’t need to worry. Conversely, you might not get any help with your premiums if you:
- Have been diagnosed with a new medical condition
- Gained a significant amount of weight
- Drink more heavily/frequently than in the past
Note that health insurance companies typically cannot increase rates for an existing policy based on this type of information.
If I don’t reveal my cannabis usage, what will happen?
When it comes to being honest about your substance usage, you must be uncertain about its necessity. However, if you are dishonest about your drug use and it eventually appears in a blood or urine test, your health insurance policy will be ceased for fraud or nondisclosure.
Moreover, health insurance providers can contest or rescind a policy, as well as deny a claim, if you weren’t upfront in your application. The insurance industry also has a 24-month contestability period that allows insurers to rescind a policy within the first 24 months without needing to prove fraud.
In this scenario, they must only provide evidence of false or undisclosed information, which is also known as ‘material misrepresentation’.
Remember that any time you sign an application, you’re saying that all the information you have provided is accurate and to the best of your knowledge. If you’re unsure about something, always raise your questions or concerns with an insurance expert before going further.
Lying or misrepresenting yourself during the application process can be considered insurance fraud and have consequences for you. You could get higher rates or be denied coverage altogether as a result. Therefore, it’s important to always be honest with your health insurer about your marijuana use. There’s no reason to lie since you can still get an affordable policy if you smoke it.