You may be wondering what your options are for life insurance while taking Zyban or other Bupropions. You’re not alone.
If smoking or using other tobacco products has been a daily habit in your life for a long time, quitting “cold turkey” may not be an option. Many people require the help of smoking aids and prescription drugs. Zyban is a common smoking cessation medication which could change your life for the better.
If you’re already taking Zyban, or plan to begin taking it soon, you could be wondering how this will affect your life insurance options. Will you be able to apply for a new life insurance policy while on the drug? Will you end up paying a lot more than you planned?
These are questions we can answer for you. As experienced life insurance agents, we have worked with life insurance companies who have covered clients taking Zyban. We can help you determine your chances of being approved for life insurance, and guide you through submitting your application.
How To Get Life Insurance While Taking Zyban
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports cigarette smoking, and the use of other nicotine-containing products, account for more than 480,000 premature deaths in the US each year. People know the health risks associated with using tobacco, and many of them want to quit. The problem is, they are addicted to nicotine.
Nicotine enters your bloodstream within 10-15 seconds of entering your body. It travels through the bloodstream to the brain, where it stimulates the production of chemicals making the body crave more nicotine. This becomes a vicious cycle, and is how people become addicted to nicotine.
Zyban is a prescription medication which works by interacting with the brain chemicals causing nicotine cravings. Zyban can only be prescribed by a doctor. It comes in a pill form, which you take one to two times per day, for a total of eight weeks.
Nicotine cravings can be extremely difficult for people to overcome without the help of a drug like Zyban. Nicotine withdrawal can also be quite unpleasant, with many people experiencing the following symptoms:
- Frustration and Anger
- Feeling Anxious
- Trouble Concentrating
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Increased Appetite and Weight Gain
People who have pre-existing mental health conditions can have severe reactions to nicotine withdrawal, including new or increased depression, and suicidal thoughts. This is why many people seek help through prescription medications like Zyban.
Most doctors prescribe Zyban as part of a “quit smoking plan”. This plan may include counseling by a nurse, or attending a support group with other people who are trying to quit smoking. These counseling sessions can teach you how to avoid situations making you want to use tobacco products.
Although Zyban can help you quit a deadly, costly habit, it can also have side effects which may concern a life insurance underwriter. People taking Zyban may experience any of the following side effects:
- New or Worsening Anxiety or Depression
- Suicidal Thoughts or Tendencies
- Feeling Agitated or Restless
- Being Aggressive or Violent
- Extreme Activity (known as mania)
- Paranoia and Confusion
Experiencing these side effects could make you a high risk applicant to a life insurance company. Any types of thoughts or behavior putting you at risk for death or illness will raise a red flag to the underwriter.
Although life insurance companies look favorably on people who are trying to quit smoking, they also know quitting smoking is a long process, and many people do not succeed. You need to have been tobacco-free for at least 12 months to qualify for a non-smoker life insurance rating.
Applying for Coverage
Some of the questions which will appear on your life insurance application are:
- Do you use tobacco products?
- How frequently do you use tobacco products?
- When was the date of your last cigarette (or cigar, electronic cigarette, chewing tobacco, etc.)
It is important you answer these questions truthfully, as you will be required to take a life insurance medical exam, which includes tests to determine if you are a tobacco user.
Be sure to list Zyban, along with any other medications you are taking, on the application. The application may ask for your dosage, the date you began taking the medication, and the name of the doctor who prescribed the medication (or you may be asked this during your medical exam).
You should also include the details about your plan to quit smoking. Although you have only just begun your plan, this will show the life insurance company you are taking your health seriously.
Best Possible Outcomes
Since Zyban is only used for the first eight weeks in a quit smoking plan, you will still be considered a “smoker”. You’ll receive a health class rating which is different from a non-smoker, which has a higher premium.
If you are in overall good health, with no pre-existing health conditions, are not overweight, and see your doctor regularly for check-ups, you should receive a Preferred Smoker rating. This is the best rating you can get as a smoker.
If you have some pre-existing health conditions, don’t exercise regularly, are obese, or overuse alcohol in addition to using tobacco products, you will probably receive a Standard Smoker rating. The premiums you will pay will vary, based on your specific health condition, age, weight, and alcohol use.
If you have a pre-existing mental health condition, it is possible a life insurance company will decline your application until you have completed taking Zyban. The possible side effects, in addition to your pre-existing condition, may be too high of a risk to offer you a policy.
How to Proceed
Just because you don’t qualify for a non-smoker life insurance rate now, doesn’t mean you can’t have the better rate, and your premiums, adjusted in the future. Once you have been tobacco-free for 12 months, go back to your life insurance company and let them know; they will probably re-evaluate you and give you a better rating.
For now, focus on quitting smoking and getting the best possible policy you can, at a price you can afford. We’ll help you figure out what company can get you a policy. Contact us to start the process now.