No one likes to consider their own mortality. But if you have a family or spouse who relies on your income as a Texas physician, set those feelings aside. Realizing the need for life insurance is an important first step, while qualifying for it is much more involved, as insurers evaluate each application based on a number of criteria, including age, lifestyle, profession, and health. If you're considering applying for life insurance in Texas, be aware that these health conditions listed below may affect your application, resulting in higher premiums or denial.
How Is Life Insurance Rated?
Life insurance in Texas is rated for coverage according to risk factors, placing applicants in the appropriate category according to the information obtained during a health exam, and consideration of family history and lifestyle. Categories include:
Preferred Plus. For those considered to be of normal height and weight, in exemplary health, with no red flags in their family history.
Preferred. Exemplary health, but with one or more lesser, underlying issues.
Standard/Regular Plus. The applicant is in good health, but an issue such as weight or high blood pressure may prevent them from achieving preferred status.
Standard/Regular. Of average health and life expectancy, the applicant may have minor health or weight issues and family history may not be ideal.
Preferred Smoker. Aside from smoking, this applicant may have all the criteria for the preferred category and is likely an occasional smoker.
Standard Smoker. A regular smoker who would otherwise fall under the standard category may be slotted here, paying more than the standard non-smoking policy holder.
Those applying for life insurance who don't fall into any of the categories above may be given a table rating. These applicants typically have a diagnosed health condition, such as those below, where the associated risks justify charging a higher rate for the insurance.
Health Conditions Which May Affect Your Application
Acid Reflux (GERD)
Acid reflux is considered to be a risk, as it may lead to more serious conditions such as an ulcer, or cancer. In its mildest form, it may be treated with over-the-counter meds and shouldn't affect rates, but as the severity increases, so does the cost of coverage.
A history of cancer doesn't automatically result in denied coverage, or higher rates, but it does warrant a closer look. Since each case is unique, with varying degrees of both severity and recovery rate, the insurance company will closely examine your medical history before underwriting your policy, considering such factors as the length of time you've been cancer free and whether your physician has given you a clean bill of health.
Due to the massive scope of heart disease, where each case is more a conglomeration of many conditions, each angle must be viewed separately. Ultimately, family history may be the key to predicting its severity and progression, and the applicant rated accordingly.
High Blood Pressure
Obtaining life insurance in Texas with an underlying condition such as high blood pressure depends on both its severity and management. Applicants who have their condition under control and are following the advice of their physician regarding diet and exercise, medication and routine visits, stand a better chance of obtaining a preferred rating.
Often seen in conjunction with high blood pressure, this condition is also looked upon more favorably in patients following physician's order regarding regular checks, medication and diet and exercise.
Mental Health Conditions
Depression and anxiety are among those mental health conditions considered to be risky. If the condition is well controlled, and on the lower end of the spectrum, a high rating is attainable. A patient with severe depression requiring hospitalization, or one or more suicide attempts however, may be uninsurable.
Life insurance companies vary slightly in their height and weight requirements, but due to the links between obesity and diabetes, heart disease, or other life-threatening conditions, those who are overweight may also face more hefty premiums.
This condition, where the patient often stops breathing while sleeping, or falls asleep at random times throughout the day, is often associated with other conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure. Management is the key to a favorable risk classification, such as nightly use of a CPAP machine.
Type 2 Diabetes
Adult onset (Type 2) diabetes can lead to a number of other serious health concerns, including renal failure, blindness, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary artery disease. Control over diabetes through weight management, medication, and regular checkups can help elevate the patient’s rating.
Applying for life insurance in Texas may seem like risky business in some cases, but many people with the above-listed health conditions are still successful in their applications. Start by choosing the right life insurance company, determine your coverage needs, and focus on staying healthy in order to obtain the best rates for you and your family.