Many Americans, present company included, struggle with high blood pressure, or hypertension. As a common medical condition, we often do not consider the implications of getting life insurance with high blood pressure until applying for coverage.
Questions about qualifying for life insurance with high blood pressure, or while taking blood pressure medication, are extremely common.
The following article, Life Insurance with High Blood Pressure: 5 Frequently Asked Questions, is intended to provide helpful information concerning high blood pressure and life insurance, best life insurance companies for high blood pressure, and applying for coverage with pre-existing medical conditions.
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Is it possible to get life insurance with high blood pressure (hypertension)?
The short answer to this question is usually, YES. It is often possible to get affordable life insurance with high blood pressure, or hypertension.
In fact, getting life insurance with high blood pressure can often be easier than you think. However, it is important to understand your diagnosis, and how high blood pressure can affect your application for coverage.
In many instances, high blood pressure successful controlled with lifestyle or medication, and without significant complications, may have minimal impact on your life insurance application.
In fact, many insurance companies will offer a preferred underwriting class to individuals with well controlled hypertension, and even a standard underwriting class to those with moderately controlled conditions. It is often poorly controlled hypertension,or a combination of other conditions, which result in a table rating or decline of coverage. In cases where applicants are denied life insurance based on high blood pressure there are often guaranteed issue life insurance options available.
What should I know about life insurance with high blood pressure?
In applying for life insurance with a history of high blood pressure it is important to understand both your diagnosis and how this condition can potentially affect policy approval.
According to Healthline, “high blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. Your blood pressure measurement takes into account how much blood is passing through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping.” High blood pressure is traditionally classified as either primary or secondary hypertension. These classifications are essentially determined by the underlying cause of the condition.
Primary hypertension often develops slowly as an individual ages,and may be caused by genetics, lifestyle, weight, environment, and other factors.
Secondary hypertension occurs more rapidly, often being caused by medical issues such as kidney disease, respiratory issues, heart problems, drug or alcohol use, and other serious conditions.
Ultimately, your medical history and current condition will be used to determine coverage eligibility.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "about 11 million U.S. adults with high blood pressure aren’t even aware they have it and are not receiving treatment to control their blood pressure."
What is involved in applying for life insurance with high blood pressure medication?
The fact that you are taking high blood pressure medication may or may not affect your life insurance application depending on level of control and other factors.
As part of the application process, the life insurance company will review your high blood pressure medical and treatment history (except for certain non-medical policies).
In many instances, depending on the policy and insurance company, a physical exam may be required. The insurance company’s underwriting team may also review medical information bureau data, prescription records, and attending physician statements. So, the final decision will be based on more than just your prescribed medications.
Life insurance companies will commonly ask for the following information related to high blood pressure.
How will my life insurance quotes (rates) be affected by high blood pressure?
It depends… Life insurance quotes with high blood pressure will be based on the information you provide related to your individual medical condition.
Even more importantly, the rates that you actually qualify for will result from consideration of your application, physical exam, medical records, and other factors (except in the case of some non-medical or guaranteed issue policies).
So, what is considered high blood pressure for life insurance?
Though underwriting standards vary by insurer, the following provides an example of rate classes based on blood pressure readings. Please note that life insurance company underwriting makes the final decision regarding rates and/or policy approval.
Preferred Plus – Individuals age 0-60 with well controlled high blood pressure and a reading of 135/85 or less, or those age 61+ with a reading of 140/85, may qualify for a preferred plus rate class.
Preferred – Individuals age 0-60 with well controlled high blood pressure and a reading of 140/85 or less, or those age 61+ with a reading of 150/85, may qualify for a preferred rate class.
Standard Plus – Individuals age 0-60 with well controlled high blood pressure and a reading of 145/88 or less, or those age 61+ with a reading of 155/88, may qualify for a standard plus rate class.
Standard – Individuals age 0-60 with controlled high blood pressure and a reading of greater than 145/88, or those age 61+ with a reading of greater than 155/88, may qualify for a standard rate class.
Substandard – Individuals with moderately or poorly controlled high blood pressure with reading greater than outlined above, and/or associated complications, may qualify for a substandard or rated underwriting class. This substandard, or rated, classification can increase rates significantly above standard.
Decline – Individuals with poorly or uncontrolled high blood pressure, and/or associated complications, may be declined for coverage. As previously mentioned, applicants decline for coverage based on high blood pressure or other medical conditions are often eligible for guaranteed issue policy options.
As an example of possible life insurance rates, the following illustration provides sample rates for a 10 year level term policy on a 50 year old male non-smoker at the preferred plus and standard underwriting classes.
Sample Preferred Plus Rates
50 y/o Male - 10 Year Level Term
Note: The rates illustrate above are for a $250,000 10 year term life insurance policy on a 50 year old male non-smoker qualifying for a Preferred Plus underwriting class.
Sample Standard Rates
50 y/o Male - 10 Year Level Term
Note: The rates illustrate above are for a $250,000 10 year term life insurance policy on a 50 year old male non-smoker qualifying for a Standard underwriting class.
What are the best life insurance companies for high blood pressure?
When shopping for life insurance with high blood pressure it is important to select the right insurer. As previously discussed, each insurance company has slightly different underwriting standards related to hypertension and other medical conditions. In addition, some insurers will offer preferred rates to applicants taking blood pressure medication while others will not. Based on our experience, the following companies are great options for individuals with a history of high blood pressure.
Ultimately, it is often possible to qualify for affordable life insurance with a history of high blood pressure. Working with an experienced independent agent can be extremely helpful in navigating the application and approval process.