Regardless of what others might say, it IS possible to get affordable life insurance coverage despite your elevated blood pressure levels.
but a reality check…
You might think you can just apply to lots of companies and pick the lowest rates, but it isn’t that easy. Each insurance carrier has their own underwriting requirements and niches. The secret is to know which insurance company to apply to and the right way to fill out the application package.
This article will point you in the right direction if you have abnormally high blood pressure, also known as Hypertension.
Life Insurance with High Blood Pressure
We will answer your questions:
- What do life insurance companies take into consideration when it comes to high blood pressure?
- What are insurers likely to ask with regard to my hypertension?
- Is there an effect on the cost of coverage if I’m prescribed BP medication?
- Which health classification does my blood pressure reading fit into?
- If my blood pressure levels remain low, is it possible to reduce my rates in the future?
The CDC reports that 1/3 of adults suffer from elevated blood pressure levels. As one of over 70,000,000 American adults, you’re hardly alone in this.
What Does High Blood Pressure Mean?
High BP readings fall into categories that go from mild to severe.
A blood pressure reading just a little above normal could be merely due to stress and bad eating habits. A significantly higher blood pressure level can negatively impact your heart and arteries.
One can then end up with a medical condition that’s more serious such as:
The real concern is that you are at increased risk to get these conditions. The ultimate result is that you are charged higher premiums.
While inquiring about the typical issues such as your lifestyle and medical history, an insurance company wants to know all about your high blood pressure/hypertension. This allows them to make the correct offer based on your specific situation.
- What medications do you take?
- Your past recorded BP levels. (the preceding several readings are especially significant)
- What treatment has been administered?
- Present or former tobacco user?
- Is your hypertension classified as secondary or essential?
- If it’s classified as secondary hypertension, what condition is causing hypertension?
- Previous history of abnormal levels of lipids
- Family members with stroke, high blood pressure or heart disease
- Have you undergone a stress electrocardiogram (treadmill test) recently?
- Did you get an echocardiogram?
You should be prepared to provide these answers prior to your application. Be absolutely forthright regarding your entire medical situation, past and present.
A good agent can negotiate properly with the underwriters and get the best rates for you, but only if we know everything about your high blood pressure.
What If I’m Prescribed Blood Pressure Medication?
If you have high blood pressure, then when you apply for life insurance, underwriters want to see that you are taking measures to control it.
Frequently this involves taking blood pressure meds, which is fine. Yes, the underwriters will inquire as to your current medications.
When it comes to life insurance premiums, it is better to be taking meds and enjoying lower blood pressure readings than it is to have higher readings and say you aren’t taking any meds.
Essential or Primary Hypertension
About 95% of high blood pressure is the type called “essential” or primary hypertension. In other words, a precise reason for the issue is lacking.
If this applies to you, then take your prescribed medication. It will only help bolster your claim to go into a better health class, thus paying a lower premium and allowing you to save more money.
Inessential or Secondary Hypertension
Inessential hypertension constitutes the remaining 5 percent of cases relating to hypertension. That is to say, there is an underlying reason for the patient’s elevated BP level and hypertension.
Some of the typical causes are:
- Abnormal kidneys
- Congenital aortic malformation
- Tumor of the adrenal gland
If you have a problem like these, it still helps your life insurance premiums to control your blood pressure with medication. (Provided you have a prescription from the Doctor).
What’s different here:
As there is an underlying cause, your condition will need to be examined apart and distinct from the simple presence of having hypertension.
How Blood Pressure Affects Your Health Classification
There are companies that do not permit anyone to be on any blood pressure meds to qualify for their best rates at the top health class.
There is a basic reason:
Fewer than 5% of the population is eligible for the top rate, Preferred Plus. Those with exceptional health histories are exclusively eligible for Preferred Plus. Your BP levels must be in the healthy range, and some companies require that you have these healthy readings without having to take medications.
Important Things to Know About Health Classifications
- These health ratings are only in reference to hypertension. To get the most reliable information, it’s necessary to consider all other factors in your health and lifestyle separately.
- The health classes assume no tobacco products used in the last calendar year. Those who have used tobacco recently must be considered separately. Your independent agent can assist you.
- Health ratings are available to those whose systolic AND diastolic numbers both fall below the stated thresholds.
Preferred Plus: This is the top-rated category, for those whose blood pressure is 140/85 or lower. Certain insurers demand that this BP level is achieved without the aid of medicine. Somewhat higher numbers are sometimes permitted when patients are older.
Preferred: A blood pressure level of 145 over 90 is required for Preferred status eligibility. Based on the insurer, these numbers can be slightly higher for older customers.
Standard Plus: Requires a reading no higher than 152 over 92. A higher reading can be permitted as one ages.
Standard: A reading of 160/90 or below is necessary to be eligible for the “Standard” rate class.
Substandard (Table Ratings): If it’s higher than 160/90, you are likely stuck with what are called table ratings.
Table ratings are 10 special rate classes below standard. You pay an extra 1/4 of the premium cost charged by a given insurer for every drop in level.
But how much much will it cost?
You can run quotes to get a general idea right here on this page. Keep in mind though, the least expensive insurer in the quote tool isn’t always the best choice, based on your individual case, medical conditions, and BP levels.
If My Blood Pressure Levels Improve, Will My Rates Decrease?
Certainly. Once a year has elapsed, the majority of companies allow a reconsideration request from the customer. Get assistance with this from an independent agent you trust.
As long as your medical condition and BP improve and remain consistent, you’re entitled to a cheaper price at the same company or another that has a better offer for you.
It works like this:
Your independent agent contacts the insurance company for you. We tell them about your decreased blood pressure readings and what you are doing to live a healthier life. These things have to be well documented.
Concurrently, we allow other insurance companies to see the new you. Having alternatives is always a good thing. In case you’re turned down for the rate decrease by your current insurer, another might provide cheaper coverage based on your new situation.
Final Thoughts on Life Insurance with Hypertension
Blood pressure readings are very important in the life insurance underwriting process. While there are certain companies that tend to be more lenient, your best bet will ALWAYS be to work with a knowledgeable and independent life insurance agent.
Once your unique situation is reviewed, an independent broker can advise which company is most likely to approve your application at the lowest rate.
I hope this article was helpful. Please reach out with any questions.
Ty Stewart – Ty@simplelifeinsure.com