By Joel Zimmerman

8 Medical Problems that Can Affect Your Life Insurance Application

Many people think they won’t qualify for life insurance with health issues, but the reality is not that grim. Typically, only a handful of conditions or severe cases get “table rated”, paying the highest premiums or denied coverage due to a higher risk of premature death.

Anyone applying for a policy is assigned a health rating by the insurance company, based on current health, medical history and lifestyle. This classification (typically “standard”, “preferred” and “preferred plus”, with a 20%-30% change in premium quotes between the three ratings) defines how risky it is to insure you.

Which Health Conditions Affect Your Insurability?

These 8 common health issues can turn into major problems in the future, so let’s look at how they affect your life insurance application:

1. Obesity

Over one-third of Americans are obese, based on their BMI (Body Mass Index) number, which affects their insurance health ratings. Generally, a BMI of 35-38 (or more) will put you in the standard rate class, 27-34 qualifies you for preferred rates and 26-28 will get you a preferred plus rating.

2. Hypertension

If not properly managed, hypertension (high blood pressure) can cause severe health issues later. Your rating will be affected by the severity and treatment for this condition. You will get standard rates if your BP is 150/90 or lower with medication, and preferred rates if it’s 140/90 or lower without medication.

3. Anxiety

Almost 20% of Americans suffer from anxiety, and insurers treat this as a health risk that may lead to more serious issues (like depression or substance abuse). If you’re only on one medication for managed anxiety, with primary physician care, you may get preferred rates for life insurance.

4. Depression

Like anxiety, this mental illness affects your insurance health rating since it can lead to more serious problems in the long term. You might be denied a policy or placed in a higher rate class, based on how severe your depression is, your current treatment, and your treatment history.

5. High Cholesterol

More than 100 million Americans over the age of 20 have high cholesterol (over 200mg/dL). With 300-350 mg/dL, you will be rated as standard, while under 250 mg/dL will get you preferred rates (as will 220 mg/dL or less, with medication). Very low cholesterol could also signal health issues, affecting your rate class.

6. High Liver Enzymes

Elevated liver enzymes in blood test results may affect your insurance health rating. Cholesterol medication or over-the-counter painkillers could raise them (get an Attending Physician Statement in this case), but they could also indicate serious issues like hepatitis or celiac disease. Insurers take this risk into account.

7. Gastrointestinal Disorders

GERD (aAcid rReflux), Crohn’s disease and colitis maycan also affect your insurance rates. Crohn’s can lead to colon cancer, liver disease and osteoporosis, and almostaround 20 million Americans suffer from GERD, which may cause ulcers or even cancer.
With ongoing treatment or surgery for moderate to severe GERD, you can get standard rates. Mild to moderate GERD with prescriptions gets you preferred rates, while mild GERD with over-the-counter medication could qualify you for preferred plus ratings.

8. Arthritis

This common condition (affecting over 70 million Americans) is rarely considered a risk. However, serious cases can lead to disability, so insurers consider the type, severity and treatment history while determining your rate class.

Severe osteoarthritis impacting your ADLs (activities of daily living) will get you standard rates, as will rheumatoid arthritis controlled with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Osteoarthritis with only mild pain could get you a preferred rating.

Your rating depends on whether the condition is managed properly, so medical treatment and lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, etc.) could help. If you have serious health issues, consider investing in guaranteed issue policies, or work with a high-risk insurance specialist.

At LifeCentra, we’ll help you explore affordable life insurance plans based on your unique needs, so get in touch with us today!

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