There are numerous ways in which substance use can negatively impact your life. Some of the biggest repercussions of drug use include the negative effects it can have on your health, well-being, relationships, finances, and employment. However, there’s another way that drug use could negatively impact your life, and that’s securing health insurance.
Whether you have a long history of substance abuse or you have used drugs recreationally, if you are applying for a new health insurance policy, you might be wondering if your prospective provider will require you to take a drug test before they grant you a policy. As with all matters regarding the health insurance industry, the answer is: it depends.
Health insurance providers do reserve the right to require would-be policyholders to take a drug test; however, it is not required by all companies, nor is it a requirement for all policies. If a drug test is required, you will be asked to submit samples of your blood or urine, and these samples will be analyzed to determine if there is a presence of illicit drugs in your system. If it is determined that there is a substance in your system and the levels are indicative of abuse, you may be granted coverage, but there’s a very good chance that your premiums will be higher; or, the insurance company may refuse to provide you with coverage.
As stated, whether or not a drug test is required depends on the insurance company and the type of policy you are applying for.
Group Health Insurance
If you are joining an employer-sponsored group health insurance policy, more than likely you will not be required to take a drug test. Since group policies generally cover a large amount of people, companies that provide these types of policies typically take a number of factors into consideration when determining premiums and acceptance. One of the factors that are often taken into consideration is the drug use. Therefore, if you have recently acquired a new job that offers health benefits, you probably won’t have to take a drug test; as long as you meet the criteria that your employer has set forth regarding your benefits, it is likely that you will be granted coverage.
Individual Health Insurance
If you are seeking a health insurance policy on your own; that is, not through your employer; there is a chance that you will be required to take a drug test. If you are asked to undergo drug testing and it is found that you do have a substance or substances in your system, there could be ramifications. As mentioned, you will likely have to pay a higher premium; or, if it is determined that there are high levels of drugs in your system, the insurance company may refuse coverage altogether.
In the event that you are applying for an individual health insurance policy and the provider doesn’t require a drug test, there is a very good possibility that you will end up paying higher premiums than you would have if you were required to take a drug test and it was determined that there weren’t any substances in your system. Just like with a group policy, insurance companies that don’t require drug tests for individual policies take a number of factors into consideration when determining premiums. Drug use is one of those factors, and by charging their policyholders higher premiums, they are able to mitigate the risks that are associated with substance use.
What to Expect
If you do find out that a prospective insurance provider requires a drug test, you might be wondering what to expect. Typically, the health insurance company will arrange for the drug test to be conducted shortly after applying for a policy. By scheduling the drug test soon after an application has been filed, prospective policy holders have less time to cleanse their systems of substances.
Should you fail the drug test, don’t panic; you will not be in any legal trouble. The results of drug tests are private and generally, it is against the law for insurance providers to share the results. However, do be advised that, as stated, you may end up having to pay more for coverage, or you may not be granted coverage at all.