Life Insurance with COPD
Because of the character of the illness, buying affordable life insurance with COPD can be difficult. Since there is no known cure for COPD, the seriousness of the disease along with your all-around health will be the defining factor as to whether an insurance company will issue your insurance policy and how much they will charge for it. In many cases, individuals can get life insurance with COPD.
Symptoms, Treatment, and Prognosis of COPD
Considering the fact that approximately 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and an additional 12 million may have it but haven’t been diagnosed so far, the disease is very well known to citizens all across the country.
What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
COPD results when chronic bronchitis and emphysema intersect in an individual. Whenever you inhale, the air flows through the tubes (airways) in your lungs to countless numbers of very small air sacs. If your lungs are in shape, the air passages are open, so the air sacs fill up with the air you take in and then is easily breathed out.
When a person has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), It becomes challenging to get oxygen through your air tract and then in and out of your air sacs. The condition will usually involve two major problems:
Emphysema: Emphysema happens when your air sacs are damaged, or the smallest breathing tubes in the lungs have collapsed.
Chronic Bronchitis: Chronic bronchitis happens when there is an increase in coughing and the generation of mucus which is brought about by inflammation of the airways. It is viewed as chronic when an individual coughs and produces significant mucus during most days of a three-month period in a year for two straight years.
What Causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
Experts know that cigarette (and cigar) smoking is the greatest cause of COPD. In fact, tobacco smoking is considered to be accountable for 80 to 90% of all cases. These experts have also discovered that exposure to industrial air-borne pollutants for long periods make up the other 20%.
Each of these exposures can cause inflammation of the linings of the airways in the lungs and can also cause the airways to lose their elasticity.
Symptoms of COPD
The most prevalent signs and symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are persistent coughings that can produce considerable amounts of mucus, shortness of breath, and continuous fatigue. In most cases, as the disease progresses, each symptom will typically become problematic. Although COPD is considered a progressive disease with no cure, it will normally get progressively more serious over time and needs to be managed effectively for the patient to have any quality of life.
Getting diagnosed with COPD should be concerning but certainly not regarded as the end of the world for the affected person. Patients with a mild variety of the disease will most likely need only lifestyle adjustments such as giving up smoking, not being subjected to second-hand smoke and staying away from working environments where there is exposure to any chemical pollutants.
For sufferers that keep having symptoms like tightness in the chest and problems breathing, there are medicines such as Albuterol and inhaled corticosteroids that can decrease inflammation in the airway and relax and dilate bronchial tubes.
Individuals that have serious and persistent symptoms will most likely be treated with inhaled steroids, combination inhalers (combination of bronchodilators and inhaled steroids), Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors, Theophylline, and select Antibiotics.
Will COPD Affect My Insurance Rates?
The awesome news is that suffering from COPD does not suggest an instant decline when you submit an application for standard life insurance. In fact, people with moderate cases of COPD frequently receive a standard rating or a rating just a little below standard.
Individuals with mild COPD normally experience considerable coughing and have regular bouts with shortness of breath. These signs and symptoms will require medication, and that commonly results in a sub-standard rating if the application is acceptable.
For individuals who are struggling with severe COPD, obtaining traditional life insurance is very difficult, and even if you are approved, the rate will be surcharged substantially. Applicants who are declined will need to consider “guaranteed issue” life insurance since there is no medical underwriting required having a policy issued.
Regretfully, many individuals that have COPD may offer other risk issues as well and may not be in a position to get traditional life insurance even with a moderate form of COPD. Individuals who have COPD and keep smoking will most likely be declined as well.
Select an Independent Agent who is Experienced in High-Risk Cases
Just as many health professionals choose to practice in certain health specialties, many insurance agents choose to specialize in high-risk cases and are generally more experienced with high-risk underwriting.
If you intend to apply for traditional life insurance in order to obtain the most affordable rates, and you have been diagnosed with COPD, the agent you choose to represent you is a very important decision. Agents who have demonstrated success with high-risk cases will typically present your application in a way that highlights your prognosis over the actual disease.
Since independent agents represent multiple high-risk insurance companies, they will typically be in a position to offer a life insurance solution no matter what condition you present. If your application is declined because of medical reasons, an independent agent is likely to have an alternative product that will help meet your needs.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance?
Life insurers that offer traditional life insurance policies without a medical exam will still have health questions on their application. Even if you leave out your COPD medical diagnosis on the application, the insurance underwriter will most likely discover your omission and then reject the application for misrepresentation.
Even if you manage to get by without disclosing your medical diagnosis and get a policy, if you happen to die during the first two years (the contestability period), the insurer will perform an investigation and probably discover your omission and deny the beneficiary’s claim for misrepresentation.
If you are refused coverage for conventional life insurance with COPD, you can buy a “guaranteed issue” insurance policy that has no medical questions and no medical exam stipulation. You must, however, be prepared to agree with the subsequent caveats:
1 – The death benefit is commonly capped at $25,000 – $30,000
2 – There is a two or three year waiting period before the insurance company will pay the whole death benefit if you happened to die from natural causes.
3 – Since the insurer is consenting to allow an unknown risk, your rates will be considerably higher than a traditional insurance policy.
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