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The Impact Of Lifestyle Habits On Your Health Insurance Premium

If you are an existing policyholder, then nothing except your age can lead to a pre-defined change in premium amount

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Let's start with a fact. Ever since COVID-19 impacted millions of lives, health insurance, a term that many people were earlier wary of, suddenly garnered more attention. While the pandemic might be the trigger for now, the underlining reality is that the high-pressure lifestyle does take a toll on health. In this everyday rigmarole of keeping abreast with everything and everyone, people often lead an unhealthy lifestyle that could lead to ailments such as hypertension, thyroid, diabetes, high cholesterol and even heart-related issues. 

Do you know that these habits don’t just adversely affect your health, but also your health insurance premium? Here, it’s important to note that if you are an existing policyholder, then nothing except your age can lead to a pre-defined change in premium amount. However, those looking to buy a policy are required to disclose all the information before the insurer. Since these habits could lead to a medical emergency, they play a key role in deciding your premium. Let’s know about these factors:

High Body Mass Index (BMI)

Maintaining an optimum BMI is important for good health. It is also consequential in determining your health insurance premium. BMI is a primary benchmark for comprehending if someone is overweight or obese, which is a forerunner cause of chronic diseases. Insurers see very high BMI as a pre-existing disease which could lead to a higher premium or even the rejection of a policy altogether. However, this also happens as per pre-defined grades in the policy. For instance, a BMI below 35 requires no increase in the premium and standard rates apply, a BMI of 35-38 might require a 10 or 20 percent loading on the premium, and a BMI of 38 and above might not be eligible for the policy. 

Obesity triggers conditions related to vital organs, multisystem disease and issues like arthritis, thereby raising the odds of falling severely ill and being hospitalised. Therefore, it is recommended that people follow healthy practices, maintain a good BMI, get regular medical check-ups, and take preventive action if necessary to lock in a reasonable premium at the time of purchase.

Unhealthy habits

Smoking, heavy drinking, or chewing tobacco come under the category of unhealthy habits that could lead to life-threatening diseases like cancer, ulcers, tumours, etc. It also weakens the body's immune system and advances the chances of infections, therefore causing hospitalisation. Hence, as it is a concern area for an insurance firm, they factor this element in the pricing, which hikes the premium of the health insurance product. Therefore, it’s always advisable to quit these unhealthy habits to maintain an affordable medical policy premium. 

Pre-existing medical conditions 

Pre-existing conditions like cholesterol, BP or diabetes are also a consequence of the modern lifestyle and its stress. Therefore, if you are looking to purchase health insurance and suffer from any such medical concerns, you might have to pay a higher premium. In addition, there would also be a waiting period applied before the coverage actually begins. Even though the health insurance policies are becoming more inclusive to accommodate PEDs, it’s still better to lock in a cheaper premium by following a healthy lifestyle and avoiding these conditions.

Type of Profession

If your profession exposes you to physical hazards, you are in for paying a higher premium. For example, individuals working in mining or chemical factories are considered high risk customers. Due to the high risk of accidents that they carry, they are needed to pay a higher premium. And even though corporate jobs carry mental stress, they don’t play any role in increasing your premium. 


This one is for those who have a penchant for adrenaline rush. Injury due to extreme sports is not covered under most policies. If you are into adventure sports, you might want to opt for an exclusive policy for it covering you in case of a medical emergency. 

To conclude, if you are pondering purchasing a health insurance policy, do keep a close check on your lifestyle and ailments. With work-life balance getting impacted after the pandemic, it is recommended to make modifications for better health and well-being. One key way to lock in a lower premium is to buy the policy early as the older you get, the costlier your premium is. Understand the terms of coverage carefully before signing the dotted line.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
health insurance policy medical condition

Amit Chhabra

The author is Head- Health Insurance,

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