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According to statistics published by the CDC, about 1 in 12 people in the U.S. have asthma which represents about 25 million people and, regretfully, that number is increasing every year.
The report also states that about half of asthma sufferers had an asthma attack in 2008, although many of the attacks could have been prevented. When you total the costs for treatment, lost school days, lost work days, and early deaths, asthma ends up costing about $56 billion per year.
There is however, no reason not to buy life insurance with asthma.
What is Asthma?
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, asthma is a long-term lung disease that results in constriction and inflammation of the airways. It causes chronic (recurring) periods of wheezing, tightening in the chest, shortness of breath, and chronic coughing. In most cases, the coughing will occur mostly in the morning and at night.
Asthma does not discriminate according to age. It affects people of all ages, although it typically gets started during childhood, in fact, of the 25 million people who have asthma, over thirty percent are children.
There is currently no cure for asthma, only treatment for attacks. Even if you appear to feel fine, you will still have the disease, and it can flare up without warning.
How Serious is the Disease?
Asthma is a serious chronic condition and if left untreated can have severe consequences for asthmatics. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, over 44,000 people have an asthma attack every day. Of those 44,000, 1,200 of them have to be hospitalized because of the attack and 9 of them die.
Can I Buy Life Insurance if I Have Asthma?
Fortunately, asthma sufferers can buy life insurance, although those with severe asthma will likely have to purchase “guaranteed issue” life insurance. If you attempt to purchase life insurance when you have asthma, you should first consider a fully underwritten policy that may enable you to get the most affordable rates. You can expect the underwriter to ask additional questions that include:
- How old were you when you were first diagnosed with asthma?
- Are your asthma attacks seasonal or year round?
- How often do you suffer from attacks?
- When was your last asthma attack?
- What medications are you taking for asthma?
- Are any of the medications steroids?
- Have you been hospitalized for asthma, and if so, when?
You should also expect your underwriter to order an insurance medical exam, blood and urine tests, and reports from your doctor and any specialists who may have been involved in your treatment.
What Rate Class should I expect to Qualify For?
Most life insurance companies have over 15 separate rate classes that can be assigned based on your individual situation, and your rate class will be the determining factor for your cost of insurance. Your rate class will typically depend on the following:
- If your asthma is seasonal and well controlled, you will likely qualify for a preferred or even preferred plus rate class.
- If your asthma is considered moderate, and you only suffer occasional attacks, you will probably qualify for a standard or standard plus rate class. This class is available even if you take an oral steroid like Prednisone occasionally or have been hospitalized for treatment.
- If your asthma is considered severe because of frequent attacks and you are taking an oral steroid regularly, the insurer is likely to approve your application with a table B through D rate class.
- If your asthma is considered very severe and you experience attacks and have been hospitalized recently, your application will likely be declined, and your best route would be a guaranteed issue policy that has no medical underwriting.
Once the underwriter receives the information needed to make a class determination, the class qualification will be communicated to your agent so a formal price can be offered. If the application is declined, your agent is likely to recommend a guaranteed issue policy.
What Does Guaranteed Issue Mean?
A guaranteed issue life insurance policy is a policy that has no health requirements in order to be issued. These policies cost more than traditional insurance because the insurer is accepting an unknown risk when it comes to the applicant’s health history.
Typically, these policies have a two or three year waiting period. If the insured dies because of natural causes, the insurer will not pay the full death benefit to the beneficiary but instead will pay the total of all premiums paid to the company plus an additional small percentage of that amount. If, however, the insured dies because of accidental reasons, most insurers will pay the full death benefit from day one.
John Jones did not qualify for traditional insurance and so decided to buy a “guaranteed issue” life insurance policy from his independent agent. John’s policy contained a two-year waiting period where his beneficiary would only receive 110 percent of the premiums he paid to the insurance company. John’s monthly premium is $68.00 per month.
After 14 months, John died from a massive heart attack, which is considered natural causes. After the claim had been filed with the insurer, John’s wife (his beneficiary) received a check from the insurer for $1047.20 which represented 14 insurance payments of $68 plus an additional 10 percent.
If John had died as a result of an accident such as a car accident or fall from a ladder, John’s beneficiary would have received the full death benefit which was $10,000.
Can I get Affordable Life Insurance with Asthma?
If you are suffering from the affects of asthma and need to purchase life insurance, your best bet is to contact an experienced independent insurance professional who will understand the challenges of getting life insurance when you have serious health issues. Your independent agent represents multiple carriers and has the advantage of delivering affordable insurance solutions no matter what health challenges you may be facing.
Get In Touch
To get more information about purchasing life insurance with severe medical conditions, contact an insurance professional at LifeInsure.com today at (866) 868-0099 during normal business hours, or you can contact us through our website 24/7.
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