To understand how marijuana usage could impact your insurance coverage, you need understand the facts. Almost half of the adults in the United States have smoked marijuana. Additionally, 12 percent of them report doing so in the last year.
Those numbers are from a Pew Research Center survey that also reported almost 19 million U.S. citizens have used marijuana in the last month.
Clearly, attitudes toward – and usage of – marijuana have undergone a radical transformation in recent years. And these changes are beginning to have affects in ways that are unexpected.
For example, for the millions who are using marijuana regularly, life insurance can become an issue.
Marijuana & Insurance: The 2 X Rule
So how does the insurance industry look upon offering life insurance to those who smoke marijuana? That depends on the amount you smoke. For a casual smoker, there could be little to no impact.
Most insurance companies, according a Policy Genius article reprinted by the Huffington Post, stick to the “2 X’ rule. This is shorthand for saying that anyone who smokes marijuana two times or less per year will see no change to their life insurance rates.
That’s good for those who rarely smoke, but what about those who smoke frequently?
Best Alternatives for Marijuana Smokers
The best advice for cannabis users who are seeking life insurance is this: you better shop around.
According to Policy Genius, every insurance company has a different approach. For example, according to their research, MetLife allows you to qualify for the best insurance if you smoke no more than once per week.
Mutual of Omaha and Lincoln are similar, offering marijuana smokers a standard health classification – slightly below the best classification offered by MetLife – if they smoke no more than once a week.
What if you are smoking medical marijuana obtained through a prescription? You will be treated the same. Although, the insurance company could dig deeper into the condition for which you got the prescription in the first place. This potentially could lead to an increase in rates.
Federal Law Inhibits Insurers
Part of the issue is that marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law. While this has the obvious impact of making the drug illegal for possession or consumption, it also affects policies for people even if they live in a state where marijuana is legal.
For example, most insurers will not cover the cost of medical marijuana, even though it is prescribed by a medical professional and the person lives in one of the 22 states that has made medical marijuana legal. In effect, the insurance industry’s hands are tied until federal law is changed.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a policy if you smoke marijuana. Just keep the restrictions mentioned above in mind.
And because policy rules change, it’s best to research with individual companies and determine their standards for insuring those who smoke marijuana. This also hold true for federal laws governing marijuana – a change there could open the door to insurance companies having more leeway to sell policies not just for marijuana users, but marijuana prescription themselves.