When you apply for a health plan, insurers determine your premium by considering where you live, how old you are and if you smoke. Your premium must be paid every month (or in one lump sum if you prefer, but monthly seems to please most policyholders) in order to stay insured. In the past, Body Mass Index (BMI) could have a major impact on your premium rate, as people who are underweight, overweight and obese are considered an increased risk and potentially require more medical care than someone of a healthy weight. Also, if you were female in most states, your rates could go up. Premiums were subject to increase if you had a pre-existing condition or a hazardous profession, as well, but none of these factors affect your rates now. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers are only permitted to increase premiums as you get older and if you smoke.
Insurance premiums change depending on your zip code, even within the same state and the same city! The cause of this regional price shift depends on the basic cost of living, variation in medical practices, how much competition is in the region, and how specialized the providers’ services are. Your zip code is always a requirement when searching for health insurance quotes to ensure the most accuracy in cost.
Whether you are buying an increasingly expensive pack of cigarettes or a health insurance policy, tobacco makes life more expensive. In any form, tobacco products are taken into high consideration when computing your insurance premium. The decision is not reserved solely to those who smoke cigarettes, but also snuff, chewing tobacco, pipe and cigar smoking. Any use of tobacco will be taken into consideration, and will cost 27% more on average than a non-tobacco user for their health insurance premium.
This is because tobacco use is one of the most preventable causes of death in the nation. Smoking cigarettes has been linked to asthmatic bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, heart disease and lung cancer, so it’s understandable that a medical insurance company would take necessary precautions for (and funds from) a tobacco-using policyholder.
It’s obvious that as anything ages, whether a car, a house or a body, its condition is bound to worsen. As such, with increasing age, our health is in a state of decline. When immune systems weaken, the risk of catching the common cold and a host of other illnesses is on the rise. This is why your premium will increase as you grow older. Even if you are an older adult who takes care of yourself, and your health is in good standing overall, your insurance will still be more expensive than someone twenty years younger. Generally, there are still going to be more risks involved with being older, and it is important to prepare for the future.