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Applying for life insurance with health conditions can be a tiring and stressful process, especially if you’re just trying to feel your way through the dark. One thing that worries many applicants is what effect their health status will have on getting qualified for a policy.
In this article, we’ll talk about the most common disease states life insurance companies look for when someone applies for a policy.
You may be surprised to find out that even with certain chronic medical conditions, you can still qualify for a preferred policy (which means you’ll get more favorable rates).
It really pays (lower premiums $$) to shop around and make sure you end up with the company that is best for your situation. Do this yourself or with the help of an experienced independent broker who understands the landscape.
The CDC estimates that more than half of the U.S. population have a chronic health condition. Many more than that, have a health risk that may lead to a chronic health condition. There are far too many (some data says 10,000+) different medical conditions to list and discuss in this guide.
If your health issue is not listed, please contact us. Chances are, we have helped others like you with it before. If not, we know exactly who to speak with to investigate and find you the lowest possible life insurance rates for your situation.
Common Health Issues – Table of Contents
High Blood Pressure
Anemia is very common blood condition that affects millions of Americans.
Insurance companies will be mainly concerned with the type of anemia you have and the CBC results (both hemoglobin and hematocrit). If you have an underlying health condition that leads to the anemic condition, this will need to be looked at separately.
Generally speaking, if you iron levels are under control and there is no evidence of other health issues, you can expect to qualify for at least the Standard rate class.
See more: About what to expect when shopping for life insurance with anemia
An Adrenal insufficiency can result in a range of health issues. For this reason, Addison’s disease is a concern to underwriters.
After 6-12 months of treatment that show good, healthy, controlled results, applicants can find affordable coverage as high as the Standard health class. Hospitalizations or Addisonian events will make cheaper coverage more difficult but not impossible.
See more: How Addison’s disease affects your insurance premiums.
Arthritis is a very common condition that affects millions of people at some point in their lives some degree.
Rates with osteoarthritis will be much more affordable than rheumatoid arthritis.
See more: What to expect when applying for life insurance if you have arthritis.
Asthma is by far one of the most common medical conditions to appear on applications for life insurance with health conditions.
Asthma is a chronic breathing disorder in which the airways constrict, causing shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
If you suffer from asthma, you’re in luck. No, not because you have asthma…that would be mean!
You’re in luck because applicants with asthma are often able to achieve preferred status.
As you may have guessed, the key here is severity.
If your asthma is under control with breathing treatments and you don’t have a history of getting hospitalized several times a year due to asthma complications, then you shouldn’t have to worry when applying for a life insurance policy.
See more: Affordable life insurance with asthma
Weight loss surgery can have positive long term affects on your health including lower blood pressure and decrease in stress on your organs.
However, the surgery itself is a risk and can have complications which insurance underwriting will be very interested in. If you’ve undergone gastric bypass, you must show very minimal complications over a 12 month period after the surgery. Body weight must also remain relatively stable.
Typical best outcome after a weight loss surgery is going to be a mild sub-standard health rating. You will be paying a little more than “healthy” people but getting life insurance coverage is absolutely possible. The more time that has passed without complications, the better your chances of approval at lower rates.
Contrary to what some people think, having cancer does not mean an automatic denial is waiting for you on the other side of the “submit” button.
In fact, some applicants with cancer can still qualify for reasonable rates, and in some cases, preferred status.
What carries the most weight here, is the type of cancer, staging, and prognosis.
Some companies may monitor applicants with cancer for 6 months to 1 year before underwriting a policy.
See our detailed articles on how your life insurance rates are affected by:
For most people, Crohn’s Disease is very manageable. It is however considered to be a chronic illness since there is not a known cure.
Generally speaking, life insurance underwriters will want to figure out if your condition has a high chance of leading to more serious issues that can even sometimes be life threatening and/or require major surgery.
Severity and frequency of the flare-ups will be the most important factors when your specific condition is reviewed.
Most insurance companies are very willing to approve coverage for those with Crohn’s Disease. Your health class and rate you pay will vary, as no 2 cases of Crohn’s are the same.
See more: Life Insurance and Crohn’s Disease.
Depression is something that life insurance companies take very seriously. According to the Word Health Organization, 350 million people globally are affected to some degree by depression.
Severe depression can be associated with suicide attempts which will usually eliminate an applicant’s chance of qualifying for Preferred rates.
Applicants with a history of multiple psychiatric hospitalizations and suicide attempts pose the greatest risk, and may not even qualify for a policy.
However, for those with mild or moderate depression that is adequately treated, there is no reason why those persons cannot qualify for preferred rates in the absence of other medical conditions.
Typically, you’ll need to have been prescribed by your primary physician and not a psychiatrist in order to qualify for preferred rates.
See more: All about life insurance and depression.
Diabetes – Type 2
Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset) can greatly impact your policy and rate. Having diabetes, especially for a long period of time, is linked to other dangerous disease states like kidney failure and coronary artery disease.
This is one case where younger age actually works against you.
For example, a 40-year-old diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is more likely to develop life-threatening complications than someone diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 75.
According to Dr. Goldstein of MetLife, a 40-year-old person with diabetes will not usually qualify for a preferred status life insurance policy.
Like with blood pressure, how well your diabetes is controlled is an important factor life insurance companies take into consideration.
See more: Obtaining affordable coverage with diabetes.
Seizures and epilepsy are very common and affect millions of people.
Life insurance companies will take into account the increased risk of death that is associated with any seizures. Things like accidents that may happen during an episode, SUDEP, or an underlying medical cause that leads to the epileptic condition.
Underwriters will be looking at the type of seizures, frequency, and recency of your last episode. Approval for life insurance with epilepsy is ABSOLUTELY possible. Just understand that the range of outcomes can vary widely.
See more: What to know about life insurance with epilepsy and seizures.
People who suffer from Glaucoma can usually get approved for life insurance at reasonable rates such as Standard or Standard Plus.
This assumes no major complications and a stable condition. If the condition is worsening or is considered to be likely to cause full blindness soon, the health class will be lower, most likely in the substandard table ratings.
The treatment plan including medications and any ophthalmologist visits will be reviewed by the underwriters at the insurance company.
See more: Effect of Glaucoma on Life Insurance Rates.
Heart disease can encompass a wide range of complications, putting an individual’s health at risk.
Bottom line….people with heart disease are at greater risk to experience a heart attack or sudden cardiac death. This is risky from the insurer standpoint, and life insurance companies know it.
Once again, youth can work against you. If you’re a 40-year-old with heart disease or history of a previous heart attack, chances are you won’t be able to qualify for preferred rates. Companies also review heart disease histories in your immediate family, such as your parents and siblings.
With that said, most companies will assess the severity and stability of your heart disease. If under control and without complications, you might still qualify for favorable rates.
High Blood Pressure
Millions of Americans are diagnosed with hypertension, making this one of the most common medical conditions among life insurance applicants.
How your policy is affected comes down to this:
Is your blood pressure controlled or uncontrolled?
If your blood pressure is under control, whether through medication or other means, there’s a good chance you may still qualify for a preferred policy. Keep in mind, the presence of other medical conditions will also play a role in determining your rate.
If your blood pressure is NOT controlled….then you’ll have a tough time qualifying for preferred status. Uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to harmful conditions such as coronary artery disease and kidney disease, just to name a few. This doesn’t mean you can’t still get coverage, you just need to accept the reality that you will pay a higher rate.
So…if your blood pressure is higher than Trump’s perfectly quaffed hair if at all possible, do yourself a favor and get it under control before applying for a life insurance policy.
With so many medications available, and modest dietary adjustments, it can actually be quite easy to reduce your numbers.
See more: About approval with high blood pressure.
High cholesterol is a VERY common condition and the #1 reason for increased rates or flat out denials.
The main reason insurance companies are concerned with high cholesterol levels is they have been proven to lead to more serious conditions such as heart attacks or coronary artery disease. Generally speaking, higher HDL ratios will mean higher rates.
All companies view things a little different though so it pays to apply at the right company. Some will also allow for cholesterol medication to be taken without negatively affecting your health class rating, others will not.
If your high cholesterol is a thing of the past and under control, this will usually not hurt you in terms of an underwriting decision.
See more: How high cholesterol levels affect life insurance rates.
Kidney disease has many forms and levels of severity. Mild situations like kidney stones can still qualify for top rates and moderate kidney disease can still be approved but you’ll pay more, typically sub-standard rates. Serious conditions are usually not insurable for regular life insurance and may need to look at guaranteed approval policies.
How you manage your condition is very important to the underwriters and will play a big role. There are many things you can do to improve your condition and underwriters will be looking for evidence that you are actively engaged and committed to improving your health.
See more: Finding life insurance with kidney disease.
There are 4 types of this auto-immune disease.
- Drug induced
Most people with Lupus CAN qualify for life insurance but it will be at sub-standard rates, so you’ll pay more to account for the risk.
See more: Getting approved for life insurance with Lupus.
This is something you don’t seem to hear about as often when it comes to applying for life insurance with health conditions. But an organ transplant will definitely generate a big red flag on any life insurance application.
In general, organ transplant recipients will probably not receive preferred status due to the associated risks. Some life insurance companies will not underwrite a policy at all for anyone who has received an organ transplant, but this is not the norm.
Kidney transplant recipients have the best chance of getting insured since this represents one of the most routine organ transplants.
Unfortunately, individuals who have received other organ transplants, such as heart or liver, will have a tougher time qualifying for life insurance policies. Keep in mind most companies will assess applications from organ transplant recipients on a case by case basis.
Osteoporosis is a common condition affecting almost 50 million Americans in one form or another.
The good news is that most people CAN get life insurance. If the symptoms are not severe and it developed later in life as part of the natural aging process, Standard rates can be achieved. More severe complications or rare forms of the disease will likely end up with sub-standard ratings and pay higher rates.
See more: Effect of Osteoporosis on life insurance
Life insurance approval is very possible for many people with pancreatitis.
Acute – Occurring less often (usually once or twice) and is usually very treatable. Assuming good otherwise health, top rates and health classes can be obtained.
Chronic – More serious in terms of frequency and symptoms. Individuals with chronic pancreatitis will have a hard time getting top rates but can still quality at Standard or sub-standard depending on the damage present to the organs and their overall health picture.
See more: Life insurance with pancreatitis
Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder where a person experiences pauses in breathing during sleep.
If left untreated, chronic sleep apnea can lead to complications, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Because of these potential complications, life insurance companies are on the lookout for applicants with sleep apnea.
However, there’s no need to lose sleep if you are afflicted with this condition.
Like with the other conditions mentioned, if your sleep apnea is under control, you can still qualify for a preferred policy in the absence of other serious medical conditions.
See more: Life insurance with sleep apnea
Strokes are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States so life insurance companies certainly do take them seriously during underwriting. However, not all strokes are the same so there is a wide variation in the effect it will have on the premiums you pay.
Generally speaking, a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or “mini-stroke” will be of less concern to underwriting than a full on Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA).
Frequency and recency of episodes are 2 of the most important factors that go into determining your health rating. A recent stroke may be cause for a postponement at many carriers. This is nothing more than them wanting to “wait and see” a bit.
The more time that has passed since your most recent stroke, the better off it will be for your rates. That is NOT to suggest waiting though on your life insurance coverage. You can always get approval now for some coverage and then add more later as your stability in the eyes of the insurance companies increases.
See more: Getting approval on life insurance for stroke survivors.
It is possible to receive Preferred rates if your ulcer has healed. Ongoing ulcers can expect the Standard health class.
Underwriters will be concerned with the date of diagnosis, what medications are being taken, gastrointestinal bleeding, and the current state of healing. Unless you have other health concerns, ulcers should not result in a life insurance denial.
See more: Life insurance approval with ulcers.
Believe it or not, most life insurance companies will look at an applicant’s weight and factor that into their decision. They will typically use the Body Mass Index (BMI) as a gauge.
If a person is morbidly obese, they are not likely to receive preferred rates, and in some cases, may not even qualify for a policy.
This would be more of an extreme circumstance.
Unfortunately, obesity is very common; over one-third of Americans are classified as overweight, with another third considered clinically obese.
Companies look at the other end of the weight spectrum too. Applicants with severe anorexia will have a difficult time qualifying for preferred rates. On the other hand, applicants with anorexia that is in remission or under control may still get approved for favorable rates.
See more: How life insurance rates are affected by your body weight and BMI.
Life Insurance with Health Issues – Tips for Paying Low Rates
Shop ’til ya Drop
If you have any serious health conditions (not just the ones discussed in this article), it’s in your best interest to shop around for different quotes. While there’s no hard rule on how many quotes you should get, the philosophy of “the more, the merrier” is appropriate here.
But…that doesn’t mean you have to scour the internet for hours on end going to site after site. The help of a good independent broker can make the process as simple and painless as possible for you.
Take Control of the Conditions that You Can Control
It goes without saying that conditions like cancer and organ transplants are not something a person can control.
But disease states like high blood pressure and diabetes ARE very controllable with diet and medication.
It will serve you well if you can get a better handle on these conditions before applying for life insurance, possibly resulting in more money left in your pocket.
Always remember that premiums can vary widely between companies.
That’s why it’s SO important that you understand how the different carriers might view your personal situation. Shopping around will result in you getting the best life insurance coverage for your needs at an affordable premium.
Please keep in mind that underwriting guidelines can and DO vary greatly between carriers and this is often a complicated maze for consumers to navigate.
The secret to getting the lowest rate is placing you in a policy with the company who views you in the most favorable light.
The truth is while the quote engine is a great place to start, if you are applying for life insurance with a health condition, it’s critical that you work with a broker who understands the complicated guidelines and will fight on your behalf to get the lowest rate for your situation.
We are one of the rare independent brokers that only sells life insurance so our experience and focus in this area benefit our clients greatly.
With recent changes in the industry, there are now an increasing number of options for coverage without a medical exam. We can compare and discuss these options for you.
If you are ready to get started, please fill out a quote request or always feel free to contact us with any questions.
We are here to help and will never pressure you in any way (and it’s FREE)