Some Illnesses may no Longer be Barriers for Life Insurance Rates

Some Illnesses may no Longer be Barriers for Life Insurance Rates

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In the past, people who had a history of serious health problems would not be able to buy affordable life insurance. However, the industry has experienced a dramatic shift, which resulted in the rules being changed. Experts note that the rules still vary from one company to another for preexisting conditions, but people who have these conditions will find it easier to obtain coverage.

Experts say that consumers should not just assume they will not be approved for coverage if they have health issues. With the possibilities of an earlier diagnosis, better detection and more treatment options, many people can live longer with serious health issues than they could in the past. Insurers are offering coverage to people who have chronic conditions due to the availability of information. As outcomes and care improve, people who could not afford coverage in the past might even qualify for standard rates with some companies. Experts say that they are hopeful these trends will continue.


With survival rates improving every year, life insurers have to shift their policies. In the past, people were evaluated based on several risk factors, family history, lifestyle and medical conditions. While job related and other risk categories may remain the same, acceptance for medical conditions is changing. The risk of insurers having to pay out a death benefit in a shorter amount of time is not as likely, which is part of what makes the policies more affordable.

Since the 1970s, the rates of survival for many serious illnesses have improved. For example, cancers such as those of the prostate, esophagus and pancreas often came with less of a chance of survival. With newer treatments and medications, people can survive these types of cancer for several years. For early detection of breast cancer, the five-year survival rate is more than 95 percent if treatment is used. However, the survival rate in the 1970s was only about 75 percent. The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer that is treated is also more than 95 percent, which is a climb from less than 70 percent in the 1970s.

Due to improved treatment options, many people can stabilize their health for longer. Once their illness is under control or in remission, they may qualify for lower life insurance rates. Experts gave the example of PSA testing used for prostate cancer. If the levels are acceptable, insurers can offer better rates. However, the rates are higher when the PSA test is not at a favorable level. These methods are not limited to just cancer. There are other ways of evaluating additional illnesses. For example, insurance companies are now more likely to offer decent rates to people with obstructive sleep apnea or well-controlled diabetes. People who have had organ transplants or have illnesses that cannot be controlled as well may not qualify for standard rates. However, they are still likely to receive better rates than those offered in the past. To learn more about these options, discuss concerns with an agent.


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