Can you get good life insurance rates if you have COPD?
Yes! How you’re rated all depends on the severity of your disease.
Not sure where that includes you? Read on and learn more.
Where do you start… with COPD?
First off, when applying for life insurance with COPD, make sure you use an independent insurance agent only. Independent agents can look at all the insurance companies out there. Non-independent agents only represent one of several companies.
You won’t get the best deal with a company or “career” agent. What’s even worse, you could be denied coverage, and give up.
Second make sure this agent understands COPD, and is experienced enough to underwrite COPD. This disease is a special situation and you want to get the best information, the best coverage, and the most affordable rates.
What Does the Insurance Company Want to Know?
COPD is a chronic disease. It can appear in a milder version where you have occasional bronchitis that is manageable with medication. Or, COPD can be extreme and entail emphysema where the lungs are permanently damaged.
This means the insurance company will want to know exactly what stage of COPD you have.
Another key issue is whether you smoke, and continue to smoke after being diagnosed. Quitting smoking slows the progression of the disease. Insurance companies will look at you more favorably if you quit and the longer, the better.
The basic medical information the insurance will want to know about you includes;
- The date you were diagnosed with COPD
- Any lung diseases you might have (Means bronchitis, asthma or emphysema)
- Whether or not you’ve stayed in a hospital because of COPD (includes the details and dates)
- Medications you being prescribed
- Date and results of any chest x-rays
- Date and results of any ECG taken
- Any other complicating health factors
The more detailed medical information that insurance companies may want to know which measures your COPD includes:
1. Chest x-rays and/or blood work.
2. Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) – This test measures how much oxygen your lungs can hold, and how fast you move oxygen to and from your lungs. It also measures how well you take in oxygen, and how quickly carbon dioxide leaves your blood.
This test also determines how seriously you are impaired with COPD, and how effective is the treatment.
3. Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV) – It measures how well you expel air forcibly during time intervals of 1, 2 and 3 seconds shown as FEV1, FEV2, and FEV3. The total amount of air expelled through this 3 second time frame is called your Forced Vital Capacity (FVC).
How Severe is your COPD?
Insurance companies will rate the stage of your COPD. Other complicating factors may include whether you are a smoker, your age, and other additional health issues.
COPD is largely defined as being mild, moderate, severe, or extreme. Roughly, this measurement can be seen as:
- Mild COPD – You might have a mild cough which is chronic and some minor shortness of breath after performing moderate exercise. Your PFT is generally near normal, and you receive little or no treatment.
- Moderate COPD – Evidence of increased coughing and a shortness of breathe after performing mild exercise. Your PFT is below level, and there may be some evidence of chest abnormalities revealed in your x-ray results. You also require the occasional use of an inhaler or some other form of treatment.
- Severe COPD – You experience shortness of breath and coughing from minimal exertion or simply from your regular daily activities. Your PFT is markedly below normal. Lung abnormalities are very evident and your pulmonary function is also decreased. Severe COPD patients require regular use of an inhaler, must take steroids and other forms of medication.
- Extreme COPD – Means you are virtually disabled and cannot perform regular daily activities. Shortness of breath is experienced even while at rest and requires oxygen apparatus. Lung abnormalities are very pronounced and you are very much housebound, use oxygen regularly and other medical treatment.
How Will an Insurance Company Rate you?
The biggest test is how well you can breathe and this depends on the Pulmonary Function Test (PFT). The better you perform, the better you will be rated, and the lower the premiums. It also depends again on smoking, BMI, age and your overall health.
For mild cases, a mild substandard rating, such as Table B, (which costs 50% more than the “standard” rating), may be achievable. For a moderate case, table D to F may be possible (100-150% on top of the “standard” price).
Most severe cases will be declined, but you may get an offer through a guaranteed issue policy. The healthier you are, the better you are rated. It’s just that simple.
You can mainly find life insurance coverage if you have mild, moderate or severe COPD. The healthier you, are the better you will be viewed. If you have extreme COPD, then getting coverage becomes much more challenging and very expensive.
Call us for a COPD quote at 877-996-9383.