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Thread: Nicotine and Insurance Companies

  1. #1
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    Default Nicotine and Insurance Companies

    So, I've been trying to get life insurance for a little while now. I started the process in early January. I just got a phone call today letting me know that I have been approved for insurance, but at a higher cost than I was previously quoted for. Double the cost to be exact due to smoking. They found in my medical records that I smoked, which was true.

    I have been vaping for about 6-7 months now. Not one smoke. Not one tobacco leaf. Either way, the guy says he wants me to help him help me. "Help me help you." So I ask him what he needs. He says that after 10 months, I can reapply and get the smokers rate removed as long as I have not been smoking. I tell him no problem. I don't smoke or use tobacco products. He then says that I just need to setup 3 doctors appointments throughout the rest of the year. Spread them out over the 10 month period, so that when I reapply, they can see something from my doctors saying that I am tobacco free. I say no problem. Can do!

    Then I remember, I just had my yearly physical. One of the questions asked is, "Do you smoke or use tobacco products?" Of course my answer is no, but I let them know that I do use a nicotine product that I would relate to using the patch. They make a note in my records. I see the doc and she asks questions about the product. I show her and she's glad that I'm not smoking cigarettes anymore. Nothing much said about the product.

    So I bring this to the attention of the insurance guy and he says that insurance companies claim that e-cigarettes fall under the category of a tobacco product even though there is no tobacco. He also says that I would get a better rate if I used a smokeless tobacco product. I laughed my butt off and was about to get pissed, but realized that I can't be mad at him. He's not the company. He's just providing me the information.

    Fact of the matter is that I am pissed though. Are you really going to tell me that you believe sticking a pack of tobacco leaves in my mouth and sucking on the juice then spitting is healthier than using a product that contains nicotine? Sucks they feel that way and there isn't much I can do about it.

    In the end, I'll have to go to 0 Nic juice if I want a lower rate. Downside is that I'll be stuck with the larger rate for a year. Upside is that the e-cig was never meant to be a replacement for me. It was a way to get me off puffing on anything. Knowing that my daughter will be taken care of after I'm gone will be worth giving it up earlier than planned.

    So cheers to all who were able to quit smoking. My journey is ending and I'm taking a different path. Tomorrow is day one of 0 nic.

  2. #2
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    Ya, it sucks the way insurance co's look at things. Myself, I started cutting the nic % down over every two week period. Last 6 months I'm 0Nic0FA, Zero Nicotine Zero Flavor Added. Actually, I accidentally left the nic out while blending my DIY. Once I discovered it, I decided who needs it. Try working your way out of the Nic, Stick it back to the insurance co's. JMHO

    Cheers,
    otrpu

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    That is insurance company bull..... Just a way to get higher premiums. Inhaled nicotine has been shown in studies to not be detrimental to health in commonly used strengths.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8614291

    Sorry there's not much more you can do besides look for another insurer.

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    look at it on the bright side, by using your e-cig, you get to live longer and pay the higher premiums longer. oh wait

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    I had a conversation about this with my Insurance Advisor, a 25 year industry veteran on this topic. I have 3 kids, and pretty damn aggressive insurance coverage because I really need them to be looked after 'just in case'.

    He said that as long as there is nicotine evident in my blood test which would be required to get a non smoker rate, they classify me a smoker no matter what. I could probably claim to use smokeless tobacco, but truthfully if something ever did happen and my family had to make a claim, I just know the damn insurance companies would tie it up because of the e-cig controversy. You can't win with these guys, and ultimately there needs to be an amazing body of evidence negating the health risks before any insurance company will change there ways. Let's discuss again in 2012.

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    Would you be able to get the lower coverage by using the pharmaceutical nicotine replacement products? If so, how would the insurance company know that you are using an e-cig and not an NRT? I understand that some people would not feel comfortable with lying, but I'm asking more for myself (I feel perfectly comfortable with lying about it). I'm just wondering if there would be any way to tell e-cig use from NRT use after someone has passed away.

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    I don't see how they would tell. I know people who have been using gum or patches for YEARS and it says nonsmoker on their medical stuff.
    http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/signaturepics/sigpic69430_1.gif
    Tis mine preciousssss, you can't takes it!




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    Quote Originally Posted by JENerationX View Post
    I don't see how they would tell. I know people who have been using gum or patches for YEARS and it says nonsmoker on their medical stuff.
    I've never had to do a blood test for health insurance, but life insurance companies are a different story. They test you for cotinine (a metabolite of nicotine), which shows up whether someone is a smoker, a user of chewing tobacco, a user of snus, a vaper, or a user of any pharmaceutical NRTs. If your cotinine level is over a certain threshold, they'll classify you as a "smoker" no matter which nicotine product you use. Basically, insurance companies define "smoker" as "nicotine user".

    I've haven't had a cigarette in over 2 1/2 years and I'm healthy and my doctor has me down now as a non-smoker. But I'm still classified as a smoker on my life insurance (and pay the higher premium). It sucks. I've tried shopping around, but haven't found any insurance that actually distinguishes between smoking and nicotine. If any life insurance company ever switches to testing carbon monoxide levels in the blood instead of cotinine, all the ex-smokers will flock to them!
    Smoke-free since Oct '09 thanks to ecigs!

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    Well, I guess at least they treat the patch, gum, and e-cig the same.
    http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/signaturepics/sigpic69430_1.gif
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  10. #10
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    All good info, thanks! I am still evangelical about being smoke-free, but this is a good example of how more and more accurate vaping info is needed. Since we/everyone is really in the early stages of vaping (compared to the many generations of smoking) it probably will take insurance companies lots of time to consider us "normal".

    I am participating in a work-sponsored smoking-cessation class, mostly to learn about BP approach. This is presented by my county health department, sponsored by Roche Labs. They give us free patches and gum. To me, the underlying message is "be addicted to Our Stuff". I have not said anything about vaping in the class. Yet. I am just a fly on the wall, at this point.

    I blew a zero on the CO meter, the lady next to me blew 47.


    I feel so much better after vaping a while, and I didn't think I felt bad before.

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