When researching which health insurance is best for you, it is essential to note that insurance companies will look at the level of "risk" you may bring to the company. Risk refers to the potential you have for something severe that would make you a liability. However, every company has different expectations, thoughts, and ways of determining the amount of risk someone carries.
It should be no surprise that all insurance companies favor those with healthy and active lifestyles. After all, it pays to get fit, doesn’t it? Healthy lifestyles equal less liability. Therefore, what you choose to do between work and bed can be changing the cost of your life insurance.
We will break down free time into three main categories (active, inactive, and extremely active) and how insurance companies typically feel about each. Every company differs in what activities they choose to handle strictly or with leniency.
Those who are inactive will spend most, if not all, of their downtime doing activities that require minimal to no amount of movement. Inactivity includes watching TV, taking naps, and playing video games. So why is this important to health insurance companies, and why should they care? Well, while none of those things are bad, in moderation, the reality is that inactive people have a higher probability of using healthcare services than active people do.
The health risks that increase by being inactive are heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, little energy, stiff joints, etc. Because of this, people who live inactively may experience higher premiums because of their inactivity.
This group will find the most favor with insurance companies and most likely have the lowest premiums. This group spends a portion of their downtime running, swimming, walking, yoga, being outside, or just anything that involves moving their bodies in some way. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an active lifestyle is someone who walks at least 3 miles a day at a 3 to 4 mile an hour pace (health.gov).
The benefits of having a healthy lifestyle include lowering risks of diabetes, cancers, and heart attacks. Because this group has the highest probability of staying healthy for the most extended amount of time, this group is the lowest risk factor for insurance companies.
If possible, it is also beneficial to track your activity for insurers. Insurers love getting a glimpse into what your fitness life looks like.
Those who fall into the extremely active category are the fearless adrenaline go-getters. This group consists of those involved in extreme sports such as skydiving, surfing, and mountain biking. It may come as no surprise that insurance companies are not exactly fond of those things because it increases the risk of severe injuries and medical attention.
To sum it all up, the more you increase your chances of a medical problem – whether that is by no activity or by putting yourself in adrenaline seeking situations – the higher the risk you are to insurance companies, and the more you will pay.
Just think of it this way, additional risk equals additional premiums.
So what should you do about it? Now that you know this information, can't you just lie on your application? Sure, you can, but not without potentially very significant consequences. For example, say you were vague about your lifestyle and end up passing away. If the insurance company finds out that you were withholding information, they may take payments out of your death benefit or cancel it in full.
As we all know, there are many other ways to spend your downtime. There are other habits that impact your health insurance cost as well. For example, vaping will cause your premiums to increase. According to statistics, smokers pay 50% higher rates than non-smokers.
The amount of alcohol you intake. “Risky drinking” is considered to be 14 or more drinks a week or 4 or more drinks a day for men, and 7 or more drinks a week or 3 or more drinks a day for women.
To stay on the best terms with insurance companies, try your best to remain active, and don’t be careless. But most importantly, enjoy life and be honest. If you’re looking for a policy that best fits your lifestyle, PolicyScout is here to help.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to take control of your health. Your mind, body, and budget will all thank you for it.