It seems like every year; there is a brand new, less invasive procedure that becomes available to those who are seeking a surgical procedure to help them lose weight. And while these “advancements” do seem to reduce the risk associated with these surgical procedures, it’s important to understand that in the “world of life insurance”, applicants who have had a gastroplasty preformed will still be considered a “higher risk” applicant in most cases.
This is particularly true for…
Applicants who, just a few months prior to their surgery, may not have been able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy based on the BMI (body mass index) or other weight related health issues.
This is why…
You’re generally going to find that most (if not all), traditional term and whole life insurance policies are going to require that you wait at least 6 months after your proceed so that a new “baseline” can be established and your new “risk factor” can be determined.
What many individuals are not aware of is that when it comes to “weight loss and life insurance”, there’s a consensus held throughout the life insurance industry that a person will gain back a weight loss of 10 pounds if not kept off” for at least a year.
This is why most life insurance providers will only consider 50% of people’s total weight loss over 10 lbs as a way to account for any future weight gains (50% added back rule) by the prospective insuree.
Taking a closer look at “real world” example…
Of a life-insurance applicant who had just gone through a surgical weight-loss procedure. What we’ll often see is that due to the “50% add-on rule” many applicants that have undergone surgery to aid weight-loss will have to wait for a year or 2 before they can be sure of what they are eligible or not eligible for.
If you weigh 250 lbs on the day of your surgery, then carry on to lose 67 pounds over the next 6 months, most life insurance companies will consider your real weight at 217 lbs, which may or may not be “low” enough to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy based on your BMI.
So… even though your true weight of 183 is low enough to qualify for coverage, you’re “insurance weight” of 217 is holding you back!
Now this is only one example of why some individuals may need to wait longer than the “required” 6 month’s post operation, but it’s not the only example that we could have used.
As you lose weight over time, there is also a pretty good chance that other pre-existing medical conditions related to your weight may improve as well. For example, your:
- Blood pressure may improve.
- Your cholesterol levels may decrease.
- You may see your blood sugar levels improve.
- . etc..
Now will all of these improvements happen overnight?
No of course not, which is why in some cases, it may make sense to postpone applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy for a year or so… Or better yet, apply for a policy as soon as you can, with the assumption that as your health improves, you’ll simply reapply for coverage later on down the road when you can qualify for a “better” rate!
Different types of weight-loss surgical procedures and how they are viewed by the life insurance industry in whole.
For starters, it’s important to note that all surgical procedures have their own distinct risk. So, while there are debates on which type is less invasive or riskier, understand that none of these procedures are without risk.
“Bariatric Surgery” and the procedures involved.
The term “bariatric surgery” can be used to describe any weight-loss surgical procedure that is performed on or around the belly.
And when it comes to applying for life insurance, your personal results and bariatric procedure will play a vital role in the outcome of your life insurance application.
Consequentially, we will take a look at some of the most common types of bariatric surgical procedures.
- Vertical banded Gastroplasty (VBG)
Vertical banded gastroplasty, also called “stomach stapling”, is a surgical procedure that involves a staple and a band which are used to make a small stomach “pouch” thus reducing the size of ones’ normal stomach.
Applicants who have undergone a vertical banded Gastroplasty will qualify for a “non-rated” life insurance policy and could also qualify for a Preferred rate class over time.
- Sleeve Gastrectomy
With a sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon uses stomach stapes to “isolate” roughly 15% of ones’ stomach by vertically dividing the stomach along its natural curvature.
The “isolated” portion is then removed leaving the remaining part as it is. The resulting “tube” or “sleeve” like contour of the stomach is how this process got its name.
Applicants who have undergone a sleeve gastrectomy can also qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance coverage. However, due to the more invasive processes used during a sleeve gastrectomy, they may find it harder to qualify for the Preferred life insurance rate.
- Gastric bypass surgery
Gastric bypass surgery is a bariatric surgical procedure in which the stomach is segmented into two separate “pouches”. The upper and smaller pouch will function as the primary stomach while the bigger and lower pouch becomes the “remnant” part of the stomach. Both stomach pouches are then going to be reconnected to the small intestine to ensure healthy and regular digestion.
The final result of a gastric bypass surgery is the that patients will end up with a smaller stomach allowing them to feel much “fuller” after eating a portion of food required to attain the same result.
Insurance companies have a tendency of restricting applicants to a sub-standard “table rating” when applying as they view gastric bypass surgery as the most invasive type of bariatric surgery. It is essential to look at those insurance companies who offer the best “table rating” prices so that they can obtain the best price for their insurance.
A few closing remarks…
Lastly, we will briefly discuss some comments with regards to how the life insurance industry will underwrite your life insurance application.
It is important to note that any pre-existing health condition that you may have had before your recent weight loss is still in going to be considered in your life insurance application in the future.
Therefore, if you’ve been diagnosed with:
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- Sleep apnea.
These factors will play a vital role of in the outcome of your life insurance application.
While we’ve tried to provide you with a “general notion” of what rate class you may or may not be eligible to receive, it’s important to grasp that until a life insurance underwriter has had a chance to review your application, your medical exam, and your medical records, we simply won’t know for sure what “kind” of life insurance policy you may qualify for or at what “price”.
Now the great news is that…
Here at InsuranceBrokersUSA, we have a ton of experience working with people who have undergone bariatric surgery and we work with dozens of different life insurance companies. This means that when it comes to helping you find an excellent life insurance policy that you can qualify for, we’re going to have an enormous amount of choices for you to contemplate.
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!