5 Common Health Conditions That Can Affect Your Life Insurance Application

One of the many reasons Americans do not have life insurance is they believe that they won’t qualify, or that if they do qualify, the price will be too expensive. This is not always the case.

Many people are able to find affordable coverage despite having common health conditions. Life insurance companies will determine rates based on the severity of the health condition and whether or not it is currently being treated. With the help of a doctor, a condition can be managed so that it has minimal impact on life insurance rates.

Life insurance companies deal with risk by assigning customers a health rating. Generally the three ratings are standard, preferred and preferred plus. Typically there can be a 20% to 30% change in price from one rating to the next, depending on the company. Here are several examples of common health conditions and how life insurance companies may respond.

High blood pressure: High blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to serious health problems if left unmanaged. Life woman taking medicationinsurance companies will determine a customer’s rate class depending on the severity of the condition and whether or not it is being managed with medication. Typically, someone with 150/90 or lower with medication can qualify for standard rates. A preferred rate would likely be for someone with 140/90 or lower without medication.

High cholesterol: Over 102 million Americans over the age of 20 have high cholesterol. This is defined as total cholesterol over 200mg/dL. Life insurance companies may classify you as regular with cholesterol no higher than 300-350 mg/dL. Less than 250 mg/dL may qualify you for a preferred rate, while 220 mg/dL or less with medication could place you in the preferred class.

Anxiety: 18% of the American population suffers from anxiety, making it the most common form of mental illness. Life insurance companies consider it a risk because it can lead to other health conditions such as depression, substance abuse and insomnia. Applicants with managed anxiety that are on one medication prescribed by a primary care physician can typically qualify for the preferred plus health class.

Obesity: With more than 33% of Americans being affected by obesity, it is one of the most common health conditions that life insurance companies deal with. Most companies use the body mass index (BMI) number to determine if an applicant’s rate class. Usually an individual with a BMI of 26-28 can qualify for preferred plus, while a BMI of 27-34 can be preferred, and 35-38 or higher will be standard.

Acid reflux: With almost 19 million Americans diagnosed with acid reflux (GERD), it ranks as one of the most common health conditions. Since it can lead to ulcers and potentially cancer, life insurance companies see it as a risk. The good news is that most people that treat their mild GERD with over the counter medications can qualify for preferred plus rates. Those taking prescriptions for mild to moderate GERD can qualify for preferred, and moderate to severe GERD with ongoing treatment or surgery would qualify for standard rates.

Don’t let the fear of high prices keep you from getting the life insurance coverage that you need. Millions of people suffer from these common health conditions, and many of them could qualify for a preferred or preferred plus rate class. Remember that many of these conditions can be improved with the help of a doctor, medication, proper diet and exercise.

  1. Thanks Jonathan for the insight on medical underwriting. The subject is relevant to all producers and especially for high net worth clients seeking large face amounts of insurance where the agent will likely be dealing with reinsurance underwriting in addition to the primary life company underwriters.. Your comments add perspective that can be shared with the client faced with these conditions before or during the application process.

  2. I was surprised to see acid reflux on the list. This is a great posting. I have run across people who feel they are uninsurable when they really were not. This takes out all the guess work.

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