About 60% of all Americans have some life insurance coverage. The main thing to know about life insurance coverage is that it benefits you to acquire it as early in life as possible. Life insurance applications and policies are approved or declined based on statistics compiled by actuaries. An actuary studies the statistics of life and death. The younger and healthier than you are, the more likely you will be approved for life insurance at affordable rates.
To a life insurance company, youth equates to a longer life and more time to pay premiums. A life insurance actuary also studies the statistics of death. The older and unhealthier that you are, the more likely you are to become ill and/or develop diseases. Unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles also cause future medical problems. That poses a financial risk to a life insurance company. Most life insurance companies require a complete medical physical during the application process. Your medical history and history of medical prescriptions may be requested for review.
Advanced age and declining health won’t preclude you from getting a life insurance policy. You just have to pay more for it. The same goes if you are overweight. It is a policy standard since over half of all Americans are technically overweight.
The Obesity Epidemic
Why might an overweight person pay more for health insurance coverage than a person of normal weight? The obesity epidemic gripping the United States is the main answer. Over 160 million Americans can be classified as obese by most statistics. On a Body Mass Index scale or BMI, anyone with a BMI over 25 is considered overweight. Being overweight can cause incredible and long-lasting damage to your physical health.
Obesity strains the heart, constricts blood vessels, and makes you more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes. Being overweight makes you more likely to develop diabetes or an enlarged heart. Fatty tissue surrounding your internal organs can compress them, damage them and make their functions difficult or impossible. Obesity can cause you to pay anywhere between $1,000 to $3,600 more in annual medical bills than a non-obese person.
With that said, the demographics of obese people is too large to be ignored by insurance companies. The average height of a man is about five feet and nine inches. He would have to be over 330 pounds to be declined for coverage. The average height of a woman is about five feet and four inches. She would have to be about 300 pounds to be declined for coverage. Even then, they can probably be approved for coverage by another company. They may just have to pay $50 to $100, or more, per weight tier scales calculated by the insurance company.
Financial Risk Calculations
It may be considered unfair that being overweight can be cause for more expensive premiums. However, many conditions can make life insurance coverage more expensive. A healthy person in their 20s may pay tens of dollars a month in coverage. An unhealthy person in their late 60s, in declining health, and with preexisting medical conditions may pay hundreds of dollars a month for coverage. Or be declined outright. To life insurance actuaries, the older and unhealthier that you are, then the more of a financial risk you are for approval. Obesity, like advanced age, informed health, and several other conditions are viewed as an application risk.
Obesity places an incredible strain on the resources of the medical industry. It also ensures a future generation of older, obese people who will need expensive medical treatments for obesity-derived ailments and diseases. The annual cost to treat obesity-related illnesses and medical conditions may be as high as $200 billion dollars. Being obese is a detriment to your long-term health and ability to get approved for life insurance. If you are obese, your best bet is comparison shopping for policies that financially penalize obesity the least.