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lifestyle choices and health insurance costs
Mar 16, 2023

The Impact of Lifestyle Choices on Health Insurance Premiums

When you buy a health insurance policy, you are expected to pay a premium in return for the coverage provided to you. This premium may be based on several factors, the most common of which is the policyholder's age. This is because a person's age largely determines the health risks that they may be vulnerable to. Similarly, other aspects which may impact your health are also considered when calculating the premium quotes. One lesser-known factor behind your premium rates is the impact of your lifestyle choices. In that context, we discuss below the lifestyle practices that are usually considered in this scenario, and the how and why of their impact.

What Lifestyle Choices Impact Health Insurance Premiums and How? 

Usually, when buying a health insurance plan, the insurer may be interested in the following aspects of your lifestyle:
  • Age 

Not only does your age often determine the kind of life you live and the choices you make, but it also has an impact on your overall health and well-being. Generally, younger individuals tend to have stronger immunity against physical disorders in comparison to older adults, who may face more health issues due to a gradually weakening immune system. Due to a higher vulnerability to illnesses, the risk factor of older people may also increase. This may make it more likely for older individuals, especially senior citizens, to be paying a higher health insurance premium.
  • Smoking and drinking 

Unhealthy practices, such as smoking and drinking, can have an adverse effect on your health in various ways. As per the World Health Organization, consumption of tobacco may increase risks for various chronic diseases, such as cancer, strokes, cardiovascular diseases, lung disorders, and so on. [1] Excessive consumption of alcohol in the long term may also lead to disorders of the liver, kidney, digestive system, and brain as well. [2] Thus, if you practice smoking or heavy drinking, your risk factor may increase. The likelihood of you raising a claim on the health insurance plan may also be high. Hence, you may have to pay a higher premium for your health cover.
  • Occupation 

At first glance, one may not find any direct connection between a person’s occupation and their health insurance policy premiums. However, when you consider the fact that a person’s occupation can have an impact on their health or the risks to their life, the connection may become obvious to many. A person who is engaged in a profession or occupation that exposes them to harsh chemicals, or heavy machinery, or makes them susceptible to injury may have to pay a higher premium. The chances of such a person raising a claim may be more than usual, and hence, the premium they pay may be higher, too.
  • Health conditions 

If your lifestyle is such that you may be prone to health conditions or at risk for injuries, then the premium of your health insurance may increase. For instance, if you have a BMI that indicates obesity, the insurer may hike your premium. Similarly, if you participate in risky and adventurous activities that may lead to plausible injuries, you may have to pay a higher premium. Thus, the lifestyle choices and practices mentioned above may have a notable impact on your health insurance premium due to the risks they pose to your health.

Other Factors That Impact Health Insurance Premiums 

The thought that you may have to pay high premiums should not deter you from opting for a health insurance plan. Its benefits are many, and there are multiple other factors that determine the premium of your plan, such as:
  • Gender 

The health risks that one is susceptible to may also depend on the person’s gender. This particular factor may affect the kind of health issues one is more likely to suffer from, the kind of treatment they may require, their mortality risks, and so on. For instance, women require maternity coverage during their pregnancy, which may increase their health insurance premiums.
  • Geographical location 

If you reside in a locality where pollution levels are high, it may lead to frequent visits to the doctor and hospitalisation, and you may end up paying a higher premium.
  • Type of health insurance plan and coverage 

There are many types of health insurance plans, such as critical illness insurance, for instance. The premium for such a plan may be calculated a bit differently. Also, the sum insured and the extent of the coverage provided under that sum insured can also impact the premium majorly. The higher the sum assured, the more may be the premium. Ultimately, it is the insurance company and their underwriting principles that may determine your health insurance premium. Hence, doing thorough research before buying your health insurance plan can prove beneficial in the long run.   * Standard T&C Apply ** Tax benefits are subject to change in prevalent tax laws. 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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