Vaping and Insurance Premiums
Historically, smokers have had higher insurance premiums than non-smokers. This fact didn’t change when the Affordable Care Act rolled out last year. The average smoker will pay up to twofold what a non-smoker will shell out for health insurance starting this year with the enactment of the “tobacco surcharge.”
Since most people feel that electronic cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking traditional tobacco filled cigarettes, it comes as a shocker to some vaping users that many life insurance and health insurance companies continue to categorize both products as the same when calculating premiums. In fact, according to a survey orchestrated last year by Munich American Reassurance Company, most insurance spokespeople (roughly 9 out of 10) felt that electronic cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes should be labeled the same.
This number may be high mainly due to the fact that electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices are still relatively new. Many insurers are still not sure how to proceed with classifying them, since they’ve only been around since 2007 in the United States and Canada. Also, there isn’t much information about the effects of long-term usage.
The controversial nature of vaping in general is causing insurance companies to label these devices the way they’re already adapted to doing so. In addition, e-cigarettes are still being unregulated, which (unfairly) makes it easy for insurance companies to label vaping the same as traditional cigarettes.
Until we can get further information about electronic cigarettes, these policies aren’t likely to change all that much. This is because it’s safer for these insurance companies to stay in the “grey” area so-to-speak, rather than take a chance in favor of them.
However, vaping users can also gain from the Affordable Care Act’s insurance consideration factors. Insurance companies can only inquire about your age, location, family size and whether you use tobacco before selling you a plan. Since these vaping device don’t contain tobacco, vaping users out there can honestly respond that they don’t use tobacco products.