Let’s get right to it: Getting approval for life insurance with anemia is DEFINITELY possible.
Your ultimate approval and the rate class you end up in will depend on:
- The type of anemia and the underlying cause
- Your history of symptoms
- Overall health picture
What to do: Read this article of course! Afterward, you will be much better prepared.
In this article, we will answer the following 5 questions:
- How do life insurance companies view anemia?
- What questions will I be asked if I’m anemic?
- What health class can I expect to be placed in?
- How much does life insurance with anemia cost?
- Best life insurance companies for anemics
Anemia is the most common blood condition in the US, affecting 3.5 million Americans. Like you, these people need and deserve to have life insurance.
Need a shortcut? We have experience helping our clients with anemia find the lowest premiums with top companies. We can do the same for you. Give us a call or email if you’d like expert assistance right away. We represent you and NOT the insurance companies. There is never a cost to use our service and never any sales pressure.
How Do the Life Insurance Companies View Anemia?
The job of life insurance underwriters is to assess risk.
Your overall health situation will determine whether you are approved or denied, and how much you pay in premiums. Anemia is only part of that equation.
On its own, anemia is typically not a life-threatening condition. It can, however, have complications or be present as a result of a more serious underlying issue.
They will be looking at 3 main things regarding your anemia:
- Type of anemia
- Symptoms and severity
- Underlying health issues that lead to the state of anemia
Let’s examine the main types of anemia and discuss how they may affect your insurance approval/denial and the premiums you pay.
Hemoglobin or hematocrit levels are below normal. Most of these type of anemia cases do not represent a mortality risk.
Normal hemoglobin levels – Male – 13.0 to 18.0 g/dl
Normal hemoglobin levels – Female – 12.0 to 16.0 g/dl
Normal hematocrit ranges – Male – 42 to 52%
Normal hematocrit ranges – Female – 37 to 48%
Since iron deficiency anemia is often a result of blood loss, the underwriters will want to know if there is a specific reason for the blood loss. This will matter.
If it’s something normal like hemorrhoids or menstruation in females, this won’t be a big deal. If it is the result of an underlying condition such as colon polyps or cancer, then that WILL play a factor in the decision.
Extrinsic hemolytic anemia (autoimmune hemolytic anemia)
This type of anemia often results from the spleen trapping and destroying healthy red blood cells. There are also several other things that can lead to the destruction of red blood cells.
Not a big deal: A result of something minor like an infection or side effect of a medication. Provided the cause can be identified and treated, generally, won’t be much of a factor for your life insurance premiums.
A big deal: Resulting from a more serious condition like leukemia, lymphoma, or a tumor. In this case, the anemia is LESS of a factor than the underlying medical issues. We need to discuss those conditions specifically and decide how to proceed.
Intrinsic hemolytic anemia
The red blood cells produced in the body are defective. The severity here is the key.
The good news: There is not an underlying cause that has to be considered.
The bad news: There isn’t a whole lot that can be done to cure it completely.
Your doctor may have done testing such as a bone marrow aspiration, biopsy, urine tests for blood, and analysis of shape and size of red blood cells. The life insurance underwriter will review these tests and any accompanying doctor’s notes.
This is a rare and severe form of anemia. The body stops producing enough new blood cells.
Unfortunately, this type of anemia will almost always be declined for a traditional life insurance policy. All hope is not lost. There are some options for a guaranteed issue policy.
Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder that is inherited. The abnormal hemoglobin causes red blood cells to distort and be prone to easy destruction.
Since the median life expectancy with sickle cell anemia is in the mid-’40s, you can be sure life insurance underwriters will be paying attention to this.
Our experience has shown us that life insurance underwriters are more for favorable towards sickle cell SC or SA (sickle cell trait) than the SS variant. This is because the SC typically has less severe anemia.
With only the sickle cell trait present, and no anemia, it is possible to get approval at the top health classes provided there are no additional health issues.
With hemoglobin levels less than 10g/dl or hematocrit less than 32%, expect guaranteed issue life insurance to be your only option for approval. Above these levels, we can likely find you options for approvals with traditional fully underwritten policies provided your levels have been stable for at least 1 year.
Bottom Line: The type of anemia will matter considerably along with your symptoms and CBC results.
What Questions Will I Be Asked If I’m Anemic?
A life insurance application and exam will ask a wide range of questions about your overall health picture. While important, your anemia is only 1 of many factors that need to be considered in placing you with the most friendly insurance company for your situation.
Be prepared to answer the following questions specific to your anemic condition:
- Date of first anemia diagnosis
- Specific type of anemia
- Underlying cause of your anemia
- Most recent CBC blood test results
- Lowest levels your hemoglobin and hematocrit have ever reached
- Any hospitalizations due to anemic condition?
- List of medications and supplements you are taking
- Any blood or iron transfusions?
- Any bone marrow transplants?
- Describe symptoms over past 12 months related to anemia (headache, fatigue, etc)
- Are you receiving ongoing treatment?
A qualified life insurance professional will prepare you for all these questions before applying so that you are prepared. The more they know about your anemia (and everything else) the more prepared they will be to shop you to the right companies to secure the lowest rates.
Always be completely upfront with your independent broker. They work only for YOU and NOT the insurance companies.
What Health Class Can I Expect to Be Placed In?
Life insurance companies have 6 main health classifications and up to 10 “substandard” levels known as table ratings.
If your iron levels are under control and the anemia does not stem from an underlying serious health issue, you can qualify for Standard rates and sometimes even higher.
If your iron levels are constantly changing and touching the lower ranges, you are looking at the substandard table ratings and possibly a decline if related to aplastic anemia or sickle cell disease.
Expected health ratings with anemia
Note: The below ratings assume no cigarette or tobacco use of any kind. If you do smoke, please refer to our guide on tobacco use and life insurance. We highly suggest having a chat with us to determine the best options. Multiple variables are trickier and must be approached cautiously to secure approvals.
This is the top health class. Less than 5% of all people qualify for it. With anemia anywhere in your medical history, it will be difficult to qualify for Preferred Plus. It can happen, but expectations need to be properly set.
If your anemia results from iron-deficiency or hemolytic anemia (extrinsic). You CAN qualify for life insurance approval at these health class ratings.
Blood levels must be stable and under control for the past 12 months (24 months with some insurers).
Above 12.0 gm/dl for hemoglobin and 36% for hematocrit
Above 11.0 gm/dl for hemoglobin and 33% for hematocrit
Above 10.0 gm/dl for hemoglobin and 30% for hematocrit
Whether you qualify for Preferred or Standard Plus or Standard will depend on the other health and lifestyle factors that are NOT related to your anemia. With each class lower comes a little additional leeway (and higher cost). You still need to have no major health issues to be considered for these 3 health classes.
Consult an independent broker to find the best fit for your situation.
Substandard – Table ratings
If your blood work shows levels UNDER those listed above, you will NOT be able to get approval in the top health classes.
In this case, you can expect to be placed in one of several table ratings. You can still get approved, but additional premiums will be required in order to offset the risk the life insurance company is taking on.
CBC results under these levels will most likely lead to a decline. In this situation, we will advise the best guaranteed issue life insurance options for you.
Below 11.0 gm/dl for hemoglobin and 33% for hematocrit
Below 10.0 gm/dl for hemoglobin and 30% for hematocrit
Below 10.0 gm/dl for hemoglobin and 30% for hematocrit
Even if your levels are above these, a decline is still possible. An underlying health issue that is causing the anemic state will need to be considered on its own.
Most insurance carriers will require CBC results that were done in the past 6 months. To qualify for the higher health classes, a longer time frame and stability will need to be documented.
If adequate and recent blood work has not been done, it is possible to receive an answer of Postpone from the carrier. This means there is not enough information to make a decision. Come back to us when you have what we need.
How Much Does Life Insurance with Anemia Cost?
The cost you pay for life insurance if you are anemic comes down to:
- Which type of anemia you have
- Blood work levels
- Overall health picture
There are just too many variables to answer accurately here. The only way to know for sure is for us to learn about you individually. We then begin the work behind the scenes with the underwriters. There is no cost or obligation for this work.
To give you an idea based on the health classes we discussed above, below are sample rates.[su__yr_old_male]
|Preferred||$17.19 per month||$28.35 per month||$39.27 per month|
|Standard Plus||$20.56 per month||$35.00 per month||$49.87 per month|
|Standard||$24.19 per month||$42.28 per month||$49.87 per month|
|Table 2||$28.22 per month||$49.87 per month||$72.18 per month|
|Table 5||$39.70 per month||$72.18 per month||$105.65 per month|
|Table 8||$51.18 per month||$94.49 per month||$139.12 per month|
|Preferred||$19.43 per month||$33.64 per month||$47.84 per month|
|Standard Plus||$25.29 per month||$44.54 per month||$63.27 per month|
|Standard||$29.88 per month||$52.98 per month||$76.84 per month|
|Table 2||$34.73 per month||$63.27 per month||$92.14 per month|
|Table 5||$49.33 per month||$92.14 per month||$135.45 per month|
|Table 8||$63.92 per month||$121.01 per month||$178.75 per month|
The above rates are the lowest available in each particular health class. Depending on your CBC results, type of anemia, and other health issues, the cheapest company might NOT be your best option.
For example: Don’t ignore Company ABC because its rates are listed more expensive at the “Standard” level you think you fall under. If we get you accepted 1 class level up, at “Standard Plus” it is definitely worth it ($$) to you.
Best Life Insurance Companies for Anemics
I don’t hide information when I have it.
If there were a few “go-to” life insurance carriers for anemia, I WOULD list them here.
We have had some good success in the past with Prudential and North American but I cannot endorse them as being the best options for everyone seeking life insurance with anemia. There are just too many variables.
The truth is: When we work with anemia clients, it does require a good deal of work on our end. Based on each case, we take it to a group of 5-10 underwriters and see who is the most “friendly“.
In the end, this is how we get our clients the lowest rates EVERY single time.
If you are serious about finding affordable life insurance with anemia, we can help.
There is NO reason to fight alone vs the big insurance companies.
The secret to finding the best coverage is:
- Knowing all the insurance carriers underwriting guidelines, inside and out.
- Working directly with the underwriters.
We know exactly how to do this. We can help if you are ready. There is NO cost to use our service. Life insurance is all we do, every day, all day long.
We welcome the opportunity to have a no-pressure chat about your options.
I hope your day is going well.