Smoke-free — how to get the lower rate after quitting

How long after the day a person quits smoking does an insurance company consider that person to be smoke free? I’m signing up for coverage at work, and there are two different rates for smokers and non-smokers. I quit nine months ago, so I think I should qualify as a non-smoker. But I don’t want to get into trouble.
Buttless
Dear Buttless,
Insurance companies typically consider you to be smoke free and therefore allowed to have the non-smoker rate after 12 buttless months. Also, many require written confirmation from your doctor, so let your doctor know when you quit.
In your case, it may not be the insurance company but rather the employer who is charging smokers a higher contribution toward the plan. (Your plan may be “self-insured” or “self-funded”, which means that your employer has more control over the plan rules.) Your employer may have its own definition of smoke free. You will probably have to meet their definition (i.e. 12 months) at the beginning of the plan year, since they cannot change how much you pay for your coverage in mid-year.

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Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.