How Does Marijuana Use Affect Life Insurance Premiums?
We all know that certain activities and lifestyle choices can negatively affect our chances of getting a good rate on life insurance. Things like being overweight, heavy alcohol use and smoking cigarettes can seriously raise your premiums. But what about smoking marijuana?
Medical marijuana is already legal in 18 states across the country, and the drug has also been cleared for recreational use in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and D.C. With 51 percent of the U.S. population in favor of full legalization, it’s looking like a full federal pot pardon is somewhere on the not-too-distant horizon. So with the acceptability of marijuana on the rise throughout the country, many are wondering how its use might affect their life insurance premiums. Here are a few things to consider:
First things first. Whether or not you live in a state where marijuana is legal, it’s important that you tell the truth during the insurance underwriting process. Blood and urine tests are not uncommon during the medical examination process, and if your provider finds out that you misrepresented yourself when applying for a policy, you could be in danger of losing your safety net entirely.If you live in a state where marijuana use is a criminal offence and you’re worried about the legal ramifications of reporting your use to the insurance company, don’t be. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 guarantees the privacy of individually identifiable health information, which means that all of the information you provide, including illegal drug use, is completely protected by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights.
This can be tricky. Medical marijuana can be prescribed to treat anything from minor aches and pains to serious and life-threatening illnesses. If your insurance provider does not consider your condition to be serious, they’ll most likely treat you like a recreational smoker, which means a worse rating and higher premiums. However, if your medical issue is deemed too serious by your provider (as can be the case with conditions like HIV/AIDS and certain cancers), the marijuana might not matter at all because your condition alone will be enough to earn you a decline or higher premiums, at best.What it really comes down to is talking with your provider. Every insurance company goes about the underwriting process a little bit differently, and what some insurers might consider high-risk behavior might be fine with others. It will always help to cut down on any risky behaviors when applying for insurance, so if you are a marijuana user, try to limit your use as much as possible. But whatever you do, don’t give up hope, you can still find coverage. So do your homework, talk to professionals and see what sort of plan will work for you.