Can your insurance company drug test you?

Insurance companies have the right to require drug tests for health insurance and life insurance policies, but not all of them ask for these tests. It is common to have blood work and urine samples tested for illegal and prescription drugs and alcohol. Any sign of abuse could lead to higher premiums or even the refusal of coverage.

Group or Individual Policy

In most cases, those joining a group policy through an employer are not subjected to drug testing or a physical exam. With the number of people being covered, insurance companies adjust the group’s premiums to account for many risk factors, including recreational drug use. The chances of insurance companies requiring drug tests increase greatly if a person is applying for an individual private policy. There is a good chance if a test is not required, a higher premium is charged to mitigate the risk.

Legal Ramifications

Doctors often schedule appointments at applicants’ homes within a couple days of applying for the policy so applicants do not have time to get the drugs or alcohol out of their systems. People often worry they will be turned into the police as a result of failing a drug test. Drug test results are regarded as private, and in most cases, it is illegal for insurance companies to release the results to a third party. Insurance companies are not interested in your legal affairs, and more importantly, do not like being sued themselves.

There is little argument that those who use drugs, even recreationally, are at a higher risk for illness and disease than those who do not use them. Insurance companies are taking every step possible to keep their customers as low risk as possible. Some believe it is an invasion of privacy to be subjected to drug tests. Customers are free to purchase their insurance from companies that do not require drug tests, but they have to be prepared to pay extra for that protection of privacy.