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When You Tell Your Doctor You Smoke a Pipe...

(54 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by deckpiper
  • Latest reply from magicpiper
  1. deckpiper

    deckpiper

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    Just started pipe smoking. I've always said I don't smoke.

    When I tell my doctor, will it be reported to the government/my insurance provider? Will my insurance costs go up?

    I'm in the United States.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. bluegrassbrian

    bluegrassbrian

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    The particulars could vary by state..

    For me in Kentucky, if a person smokes 2 or fewer (cigars or pipes) per week they are considered a non smoker for insurance purposes.

    Tobacco's a help because it clears the mind
    But like all your friends it is vilified
    They always say, the right amount's fine
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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    Can't wait to see the responses to this one!

    I am sure it will be reported to your insurance company, since the entire medical industry is completely in thrall to insurance conglomerates at this point.

    It probably will be reported to the government as well, since the cancer that is the medical insurance industry has recently metastasized to the halls of government. Now that American health care is well on the way to collectivization, anything that may cost the collective is now the concern of the collective. Medical privacy defeats the collective, so it cannot be tolerated.

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    I'd say you'll be fortunate if you're able to avoid time in prison.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. metalheadycigarguy

    metalheadycigarguy

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    No, and who knows. My doctor knows exactly how often I smoke my pipes and cigars, and while he doesn't agree with it he's allowing me to have this one vice. He just reminds me to not inhale. If it was cigarette smoking it might be different, but he understands the difference between the two. As for insurance going up well that's up to your insurance provider, but your doctor won't report that to them.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. 5star

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    One guy got away with ' I didn't inhale. '

    Just saying

    "You are remembered for the rules you break." - General Douglas MacArthur
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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    "As for insurance going up well that's up to your insurance provider, but your doctor won't report that to them."

    The following quotes are from http://www.insurance.com:

    "While state and federal privacy laws may require a doctor to keep records private, an insurance company can demand to review all necessary records before reimbursing the physician for services rendered."

    "Even if you pay for your health care out of your own pocket, eschewing insurance altogether, your medical records could still end up in the hands of your insurer. That's because most doctors are part of health care networks that require access to all records, not just their own enrollees."

    Just so we're clear, any tidbit of information your doctor, their PA, nurse, or medical assistant types into a computer is part of your medical record.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. metalheadycigarguy

    metalheadycigarguy

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    Your doctor is not just going to provide random information to the insurance provider. HIPPA laws still protect you. If I go in for a physical then it gets reported to insurance as a physical. My doctor isn't going to give my insurance provider the list of 20+ questions that he asks while giving my physical. If I go in for an illness that's related to smoking then it would be listed and then provided. Doctors just don't give them any information without just cause.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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    I admire your optimism. HIPAA doesn't protect you much from information passing between your physician and your medical insurer, since they are both part of the framework of your medical care/treatment. HIPAA more comes into it's own as a bulwark against having your medical information sold to third parties.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. metalheadycigarguy

    metalheadycigarguy

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    Well, I'm not sure how your doctor or your insurance provider works, but my doctor has known for years and I've never seen anything from my insurance provider inquiring about my smoking habits. Nor has my cost for insurance gone up. Again, unless you have a health condition that's directly related to smoking I wouldn't worry about telling your doctor about your smoking habits.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. ashdigger

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    Never. I lost all of my pipes, tobacco, weapons and ammo in a boating accident.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. mrenglish

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    My doc asks if I want to quit each time I visit, she is required to ask. She is cool with my pipe smoking at my current levels.

    Michael
    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. brooklynpiper

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    I have every intention of blaming the New York air.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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    "she is required to ask."

    Required by whom? That's one thing I don't get from my doctor.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. pianopuffer

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    +1 brooklyn.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. npod

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    OP ... the answer is yes. The medical record or EMR will report any and all tobacco as a positive and searchable by insurance databases.

    Neal
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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    npod, aren't you a doctor?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. chasingembers

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    My doctor took up pipe smoking after seeing some of my collection.

    I like coffee exceedingly.
    - H. P. Lovecraft
    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. npod

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    npod, aren't you a doctor?

    Yep. And also the head of IT for my group. So I’m familiar with the databases on an intimate level. The intake doesn’t determine cigarette vs cigar or moderate pipe smoking unfortunately. Any yesto tobacco in general is linked as “smoking” for insurance purposes.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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    I thought you were. I'm glad we've gotten some input from someone in the field. I know I am biased, due to my nearly irrational hatred of the medical insurance industry, but that is what leads me to try and stay abreast of what's going on in that world.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. anthony416

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    Err on the side of caution and say nothing??.......once it is documented anywhere there is a chance it will be accessed now or in the future. Even if you gave up they would still say "ex-smoker" and brand you that way forever.....

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. brian64

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    Hey, someone's got to pay for all of the obesity and toxic-diet related illnesses. Who better to do that than everyone's favorite scapegoat: tobacco users.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. 3rdguy

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    Last time I saw the doctor for a checkup she said I don't care if you smoke a pipe but you have to stop masturbating.I said why the hell is that?

    She said because Iam trying to examine you.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. npod

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    Yep. And also the head of IT for my group.

    Could you do me a favor then, hack into the database and change my records to appear more insurable? Non smoker, no pre existing condition, perfect health? I'll send you a few tins of your favorite tobacco in return.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. tuold

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    To elaborate on what npod said, if a medical provider uses an electronic medical records system that was subsidized by the federal government they are required to get certain information from you regarding tobacco use, sexual activity and other things you would never dream anybody would ever want to know about you.

    Regarding HIPPA, most of us signed a waver with our insurance company since they need to know everything about your medical condition to provide the appropriate benefits.

    So if you ever went to an emergency department and gave them your medical history about smoking, your insurance company will probably contact you at some point about it. They don't care if you smoked a pipe, cigar or used snuff. You are now deemed a tobacco user.

    My dentist still uses paper records and I pay cash, so I freely let him know about my pipe smoking. I get an oral cancer check every six months along with my dental checkup.

    For my annual checkups I state that I am a non-smoker. Then when I'm with the physician I tell him "off the record" about my pipe smoking. He was ok with it as long as I keep my dental appointments. He promised he wouldn't turn me in =)

    The pipe is an instrument of civilization.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. davidy97

    davidy97

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    Global warming will be the cause of my cancer.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. warren

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    deckpiper: Ask your insurance provider. It'd be a bad thing to discover, just when you need insurance, they've determined you're a fraud and refuse payments. There are plenty of insurance companies who provide, at reasonable prices, to smokers, no need to hide your wee vice or to be embarrassed.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. mikethompson

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    I can't weigh in on the question you posted deckpiper, but I would definitely check if smoking a pipe once a week counts you as a smoker in their eyes. Warren gives good advice right there.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. pappymac

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    When I first started seeing my current doctor I was going through a period of cigar smoking more than pipe smoking. I was smoking maybe 3 or 4 cigars a week. His nurse would put light smoker in the records each time I had an appointment. A couple of years later I went back to just pipes and she asked if I was still smoking an occasional cigar. I said no, I gave up cigars. She put non-smoker in my records. She didn't ask if I was smoking pipes.

    My doctor does know I smoke a pipe and I have told him its usually only once a day. He's happy with all of my test results and thinks it may help to keep my blood pressure where it needs to be.

    I am glad we have a good admin and responsible moderators.

    Heave to you dark colored ship under sail! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. ray47

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    I'm listed on my Medicare and secondary insurance as a "Tobacco User". I pay extra for my tobacco use with my secondary insurance. I'm up front with my insurance providers and doctors and make no apologies for my smoking. Of course my doctors don't care for my tobacco use, but they don't pay my bills do they. My advice is be honest, it's too easy to get caught.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. voorhees

    voorhees

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    Heck no. I was getting a homeowners insurance quote and they asked. I said no.

    Jason
    Posted 1 year ago #
  33. civilwar

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    Never

    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. mrenglish

    mrenglish

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    "she is required to ask."

    It is something the her employer required. Not the insurance company but the hospital system she is part of.

    When we bought our first house I was working as a tobacconist. My agent told me to stop smoking for two weeks before the blood test. Well, I did not like that reasoning based on exactly what Warren mentioned plus I was around cigar and pipe smoke all day. The day of the blood test, I smoked my pipe as usual and even had a cigar or two. Results came back negative and we were given preferred non smoking rates, even though I informed them of my smoking. This probably would not happen if I sought to get life insurance now due to the anti smoking agenda these days.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  35. mso489

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    The science isn't there, if science counts for anything, because the pipe smoking cohort appropriate for a study is too spread out. The population is too small to attain funding for a study. None of this matters, but it's worth noting. A bowl a day might address anxiety and depression with fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals, as a hypothesis.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. 3rdguy

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    God forbid we do anything but take more pills.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  37. warren

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    Don't over simplify insurance ratings. Smoking is also an indicator of a person's willingness to take risk, an indicator of how one looks after their health in general. Smoking is not a single indicator looked at only in its totality. Smoking is simply one of a number of indicators which, taken together, are used in determining insurance rates.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  38. alexnc

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    It's a "need to know" basis. He doesn't really need to know. Neither does my insurance company - which has revealed it has some ethical difficulties.

    Goo Goo g’joob
    Posted 1 year ago #
  39. mnewb1

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    If one wants to get paid by insurance, then you have to document you asked about smoking and if positive, show that the asked the patient about quitting. As said before, the insurance company does not distinguish between inhaled cigarettes and pipe smoking...they also use BMI to to determine obesity...though originally BMI was never meant to determine obesity as it doesn’t take into account body type...doesn’t matter.

    I doubt your health insurance will raise your rates over it...but getting life insurance is another matter...they will definitely test your urine or blood and give you a higher rate if it is positive

    Of course none of this is based on good solid science...I assume there is a small risk to smoking a pipe at my age...but it is my decision to make and I am willing to accept this for the pleasure it gives me.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  40. cigrmaster

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    I plead the fifth.

    Harris
    Posted 1 year ago #
  41. metalheadycigarguy

    metalheadycigarguy

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    My doctor must be different than others, because when he asked me several years ago if I smoked (along with many other questions) during a physical; he told me that pipes and cigars don't count. He said he's only required to note smoking if I smoke cigarettes or use smokeless tobacco. He also noted that the limited amount I smoke wasn't enough to worry about as well. Again, he wasn't in favor of it but he also wasn't going to scold me over it either.

    There has been a few times over the years where I've gone into the emergency room/urgent care and they've asked if I smoke and again I mention I have a cigar occasionally and smoke pipes a few times a week. They've all stated that they're only interested in cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco.

    Maybe I'm just lucky then.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  42. 5star

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    mso489: "The science isn't there, if science counts for anything, because the pipe smoking cohort appropriate for a study is too spread out. The population is too small to attain funding for a study. None of this matters, but it's worth noting. A bowl a day might address anxiety and depression with fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals, as a hypothesis."

    There was a government study done within the last few years, (I don't recall from which major agency), that found zero health impact associated with 'moderate' cigar smoking. For purposes of the study, 'moderate' was defined as one cigar per day. They did not investigate cigar usage greater than one per day. It was amusing to read the summary of the study; it was obvious that the author was perturbed by their results.

    Of course, cigars aren't pipes. But, they aren't cigarettes either. We here know that. As you mentioned, we may never see the same kind of study for pipes.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  43. chasingembers

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    but getting life insurance is another matter...they will definitely test your urine or blood and give you a higher rate if it is positive

    Have had the same policy for twenty years and have never been asked to take a test.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  44. seldom

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    There was a government study done within the last few years, (I don't recall from which major agency), that found zero health impact associated with 'moderate' cigar smoking.

    You might be referring to this: Sytematic Review of Cigar Smoking...

    Looks like small sample size resulted in wide confidence intervals. This review found mortality risk was highly elevated though not statistically significant (perhaps due to small sample size).

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 1 year ago #
  45. zack24

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    One of our businesses is insurance. Whatever you tell your physician will end up in your medical record and absolutely can and will be used against you by underwriting if you apply for life or health insurance. I get three questions at every physical-

    1) Still a non-smoker? "I absolutely hate cigarettes and cigars"
    2) Do you drink alcohol?- "We have a Mediterranean diet and have a bit of red wine with dinner"
    3) Do you wear a bike helmet? "Every time I ride"

    I never lie...:) (and I do faithfully use my $260 bike helmet- I ride 6 days a week, and that by far is my highest risk factor)

    I made the mistake one time about telling my physician about being rescued when I was paddling a racing surfski offshore and losing it in high wind and waves leaving me treading water a mile offshore. A few years later, I requested a copy of my full medical record- that particular bit of information was in there...and will be forever.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  46. paulie66scandinavian

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    I don't have any life insurance since I'm relying on free healthcare, here lol, nonetheless even if the surgery is free the ambulatory entry fees has to be be paid,yet stay at hospital involves inevitable charges (roughly50-100 $ per day meals incl)those payments are on patient's responsibility, moreover, Dental operations are again pretty costly business,simply fill /mend sets me back for about $ 60 each

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 1 year ago #
  47. ravkesef

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    Just say No

    Eric
    Posted 1 year ago #
  48. timelord

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    @zack24 Great set of answers.

    Similar to zack24 my UK health records have a permanent record of the time I had a biking accident in the Caribbean and needed follow up medical assistance in the UK (actual surgery was in the Caribbean) and a couple of skiing mishaps so no denying dangerous hobbies; but I have since migrated to Australia and although I was actually happy for my medical records to be transferred there is no mechanism or legal framework to do so. So my Aussie medical records started with a completely blank sheet... ...OK, moving half way across the world may be a drastic way of resetting the records but it is one approach...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  49. User has not uploaded an avatar

    instymp

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    +1 Chasing, Have had the same policy for twenty years and have never been asked to take a test.
    Like my records following me, never lie, but at times am conservative rather than extreme.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  50. wyfbane

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    Unless they suspect COPD I cannot imagine telling my doc that I smoke.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  51. perdurabo

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    +1 Zack

    Another question to be aware of when you start taking the kids to the Doctor; Do you own any fire arms?

    I told My kids’ Physician he didn’t have a right to ask that and told him to cut out the Obamacare Third Degree. He held up his hands and said, “Yep, the Affordable Care Act compels us to ask these absurd questions.”

    The smoking bias has been around long before Obamacare, though. The main take away is don’t tell the doctor anything that isn’t medically related to the visit.

    It's not my position nor want to help another man. It's his responsibility to help himself, as where he can learn to dig down deep enough to save himself. -I. Kidd
    Posted 1 year ago #
  52. User has not uploaded an avatar

    cass

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    Reminds me Of a thing that happened in Holland ; for a while he people living there had to register with the government as a user if they smoked cannibis, it’s legal in Holland but they tried to do this whole registering thing for one reason or another and people needed their registration card to buy the weed etc. Of course it ended up with not only insurance companies, but prospective employers getting hold of the list of users and discriminating against them etc etc. I don’t smoke that crap and I live in Ireland but the wife , she’s From Holland originally.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  53. soggycitybob

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    Best advice to the question asked, "When I tell my doctor, will it be reported to the government/my insurance provider? Will my insurance costs go up?" is this:

    Unless you are a mid to heavy regular smoker, multiple times a day, just don't even admit it to a doctor. I smoke a pipe/cigar on occasion, maybe 2-3 times a week if I'm lucky. I mentioned it to my doc when I started about 6 yrs ago and now it is permanently on my record, and every time I go in for a checkup I am asked, "are you still a smoker?". My answer every time is, NO! I am only an occasional cigar/pipe enthusiast.

    But alas, I do fear that if/when I have to apply for health insurance at a new employer, or am requested for medical underwriting for a life insurance policy (I'm almost 50 and it will happen now), I am screwed -- yes rates will go up if insurance finds out. Just keep it to yourself if you feel it is a non-issue.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  54. magicpiper

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    Every year my Doc asks the same questions and I give him the same response...I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and I don’t chase dames.

    Posted 1 year ago #

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