More than 40% of Americans smoke (or have tried) marijuana. Which makes it the most popular drug in the country after tobacco and alcohol. With such common use, this leads many families to wonder if they have any legal protections for marijuana confidentiality with life insurance or any other type of disclosed health information.
Many states have approved the legal use of marijuana for medical use and/or recreational purposes. Although the Federal government made marijuana illegal in 1937. They have not yet changed their stance.
Because of the legality as well as employment issues, many marijuana smokers avoid applying for life insurance. That’s reasonable. You have to be a free person with income to support your family. Life insurance is rightly secondary to that. So the next important question is, “Do I have any sort of marijuana confidentiality with life insurance?”
People skip applying life insurance because they worry their admission can be passed on to the police, employer, or some government database.
This can be a pointed concern if you live in a state where marijuana is still illegal for either medical or recreational use. Or, you might be smoking marijuana recreationally in a state where only medical marijuana has been approved.
Stating that you smoke marijuana on a life insurance application is fully confidential and protected by law! All aspects of the life insurance application process are completely confidential.
When you contact MJ Life Insurance to apply for life insurance or even to ask some questions about marijuana use and life insurance, all information you provide to our independent agents is strictly and completely confidential.
Life insurance agents and life insurance companies will never disclose your marijuana use to any other outside party except the Medical Information Bureau or MIB. We will explain their role shortly.
Quick Tip: If you smoke marijuana less than 3 times per week, see your rates now by using the Instant Quotes tool on the left. (Top if you’re on mobile.) Enter your information then select “NO” for smoker and “Regular Plus” for health class. Scroll down to the rate for “Prudential”. This will give you an idea of cost.
Federal Laws that Protect Marijuana Confidentiality with Life Insurance
Have you heard of the HIPAA Privacy Rule? It is the law which protects any and all information you provide about yourself, including any past or present marijuana use.
HIPAA is an acronym for The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. (It also covers life insurance.) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services manages legal matters regarding HIPAA.
In summary, the HIPAA Privacy Rule protects your rights for complete marijuana confidentiality with life insurance. Official description below:
The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information and applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically. The Rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information, and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization. The Rule also gives patients rights over their health information, including rights to examine and obtain a copy of their health records, and to request corrections.
This relates to any and all aspects of your personal health information that you disclose. This includes smoking marijuana for either medical purposes or recreational use. It applies to all states and territories in America.
Which means that it does not matter whether you reside in a state where marijuana has been legalized or not, HIPAA fully protects all health/medical information you give. Your agent can’t (and won’t) tell any one. You employer will not find out. Most importantly, the government is not keeping tabs on you.
So who will know if I say that I smoke cannabis on my life insurance application?
As far as your life insurance application is concerned, this law applies for any and all stages of the life insurance process including:
- Life Insurance Agents
- Your Life Insurance Medical Exam
- Life Insurance Company
- Life Insurance Policy
- Medical Information Bureau (MIB)
- Rx Prescription Data Base (only applies if you have a prescription for medical marijuana)
The only outside agency which will be aware of your marijuana use is the MIB and possibly the Rx Database (medical marijuana prescription). The HIPAA Privacy rules also apply to both of these agencies.
The general public cannot access the MIB database except for their own records. Only member companies such as life insurance companies have access to these agencies. You, as an individual, can access your medical data. Applications can only be made through a very strict application process.
What is the Role of the Medical Information Bureau?
The role of the MIB is as follows:
MIB’s Underwriting Services are used exclusively by MIB’s member life and health insurance companies to assess an individual’s risk and eligibility during the underwriting of life, health, disability income, critical illness, and long-term care insurance policies.
The MIB operates as a nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency. They are also regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). It cannot and does not sell or provide information to any third party except for its member insurance companies.
The MIB does not collect and store a person’s actual medical records in its database. The MIB receives information through an encrypted code process.
How do I know if the insurance company sends my information to the MIB?
If a member insurance company either provides or requests report information on a life insurance applicant, the MIB must first provide the applicant with a MIB Pre-Notice. The notice outlines the MIB’s role in the both the application and underwriting process.
The process to protect your confidential information and to keep you informed is regulated as follows:
After receiving the MIB Pre-Notice, the applicant is asked to sign an authorization. The MIB is identified as an information source along with others that might have records about the applicant, such as personal physicians. This signed authorization allows the member company to exchange information with MIB.
A member company cannot search MIB or report information to MIB without the applicant’s knowledge and authorization.
The MIB will only store this information for a period of 7 years. If you applied for life insurance more than 7 years ago, that information will no longer be on their database. Your information is no longer available for member companies to review.
So, if you are concerned about your marijuana confidentiality with life insurance, then you should know your marijuana use is fully and legally protected.
What about the life insurance medical exam process?
There are 2 approaches you can take when applying for life insurance which include:
• Life Insurance with a Medical Exam
• Life Insurance Without a medical Exam
Whether you are applying for a Term Life Insurance policy or a Permanent life insurance policy (Whole Life or Universal Life), you can opt for a policy which requires a medical exam or one which does not require a medical exam.
Life Insurance with a Medical Exam
How does marijuana confidentiality with life insurance apply to a the medical exam?
The life insurance company arranges the medical exam. Each company uses their own designated physicians to perform these life insurance medical exams. The HIPAA Privacy Rules fully protects any information obtained by the physician. Any information you provide cannot be disclosed to any party other than the life insurance company and the MIB.
The doctors and medical staff selected by life insurance companies are completely bound by the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Just like every medical professional. The results of the life insurance medical exam is not available to outside parties such as your employer, legal authorities such as the police, your spouse or any other third party. The medical exam results are only available to the life insurance company which requested it.
All standard life insurance policies will require that you take a medical exam. This is a mostly non-intrusive process but it will involve a both a blood test and a urine test.
All cannabis products stay in your system for a brief period of time depending on the amount and frequency you use cannabis. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. People typically test negative after 4 weeks, but 6 weeks is a good buffer.
The medical exam for life insurance includes a drug test. The most common test for the existence of THC is known as the Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Technique Test for Marijuana.
What happens if I lie on my life insurance application?
The first thing we would advise here at MJ Life Insurance is that you never lie about consuming cannabis. You should always be completely honest about your usage. Otherwise, the company may decline your application if you lie about using cannabis and the urine test comes back positive.
Keep in mind that every life insurance policy comes with a 2 year contestability period. This means that if you to lie about using marijuana then die within the first 2 years of the policy, the life insurance company could legally decline the payout.
The second thing you should know is that it is best to avoid using marijuana for as long as possible to get a negative result for THC when you take the exam.
If your test comes back positive, many companies will assign you smoker rates. Several studies indicate a higher risk of lung cancer with marijuana. Of course there are other studies that contradict this. Either way, insurance companies base their rates on the worse scenario. Smokers’ rates for a premium can cost as much as 3 times more than what a non-smoker would pay for a life insurance premium.
What are the best rates I can get if I admit to smoking cannabis?
An occasional marijuana user could qualify for a “Preferred Best Non-Smoker” or “Preferred Non Smoker” premium rates if their urine test is negative and they are infrequent users. These are the 2 best ratings possible.
A few companies may consider better rates if you use marijuana as an edible as opposed to smoking it. As time passes, more insurers will take a more lenient approach when it comes to how you consume marijuana.
There are over 850 life insurance companies operating in America. Only a small handful of these companies can be described as “marijuana friendly.”
Many of these other companies will still automatically decline you if you use marijuana. Alternatively, they will likely automatically access you for “Smoker’s” rates regardless if use marijuana infrequently or are a heavy user.
How Medical Marijuana Can Impact Your Rating
With doctor prescribed medical marijuana, the underwriters will rate you according to your medical condition. The more minor the condition, the better the rates.
A standard life insurance policy may not be available for some people with severe medical conditions. However, “Guaranteed Issue” life insurance policies address this scenario.
MJ Life Insurance even has a Guaranteed Issue product that will provide you with up to $180K of coverage. The only requirement is that you are working 30 hours per week and have a pay stub or similar as proof. You must be 18 years of age or older.
Life Insurance Without a Medical Exam
If you still have concerns about admitting your marijuana use, you can find a variety of “No-Medical Exam” life insurance solutions. Coverage amounts tend to be slightly lower, but we do have some companies which offer a $500,000 policy. These policies are very affordable and do not cost that much more than coverage which requires a medical exam.
No-medical exam policies may NOT ask any questions about marijuana use. There are usually a few general health questions which you have to answer. You can apply over the phone and often receive approval within 48 hours or longer.
How to Find Low Cost Life Insurance for Marijuana Use
The best way to find the lowest cost policy for medical or recreational marijuana is to use an “independent life insurance agent” such as the ones here at Marcan Insurance.
Independent agents work for you and not the life insurance companies. They can perform all the comparison shopping for you. Which saves you time and money. Plus you have the peace of mind knowing your family is protected for the best price on the market.
Why You Should Contact Marcan Insurance Today
You do not have to worry about marijuana confidentiality with life insurance when you use the independent agents here at Marcan Insurance.
We understand you have concerns about your marijuana disclosure. You can contact and speak to our agents in complete confidentiality. Whether you have questions about your marijuana use or want to start the application process right away, you can so with complete assurance that any information you provide will be totally confidential.
Another reason you will want to use Marcan Insurance is because we specialize in all aspects of insuring cannabis smokers. We can set you up with low cost term insurance or find an affordable permanent life insurance policy.
Marcan Insurance knows the best life insurers which offer low cost No-Medical policies. We can also help with Guaranteed Issue policies for more serious health issues.
We also have an array of plans which are very suitable for those who own marijuana companies, or for those employees who work in the marijuana industry.
The Bottom Line
Marcan Insurance has access to over 70 of the most marijuana friendly life insurance companies in the industry.
Call us if you have any questions as we will treat any all information you provide in the strictest of confidence. We are happy to help you in any way we can.
We understand your concerns about marijuana use and how it impacts life insurance. Contact Marcan Insurance today at (888) 987-8447.