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Qualifying for Life Insurance with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

With over 3 million new cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) being diagnosed each and every year, it really shouldn’t come as a big surprise that we get a “tons” of calls from perspective clients asking about how much it will cost them in order to purchase a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.

And while we would…

Love to provide these folks with an immediate answer, the truth is, COPD is one of those medical conditions that can vary significantly from one patient to the next.

This is why COPD applicants are often difficult to “quote” accurately and may require a more thorough “vetting” process before we’ll know for sure what they may be expected to pay for their life insurance policy.

About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term used to describe a group of lung diseases that are characterized by the chronic obstruction of airflow into the lungs that interferes or prevents normal breathing.  Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the two most common diseases that will generally make up the larger and more encompassing term COPD.

COPD is caused when the air sacs within the lungs become damaged or enlarged due to repeated inflammation over time.  Within the United States, the most common cause of COPD is cigarette smoke, but COPD can also be caused by any other environment irritant such as industrial dust or chemical fumes.

Symptoms of COPD.

Common symptoms of COPD will include:

  • A persistent cough, wet or dry.
  • Frequent respiratory infections.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Chest Tightness.
  • Fatigue and general malaise.
  • Difficulty exercising due to shortness of breath.

COPD Treatment Options.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for COPD, once the damage to the lungs has occurred, the damage is permanent.  This is why it is so important for those who have been diagnosed with COPD, to take active measures to ensure that they avoid whatever environmental irritant is causing their condition.

That being said however…

There are some medications one can take to help alleviate many of the symptoms associated with having COPD.  Common medications may include:

  • Bronchodilators.
  • Steroids.
  • And oxygen therapy.

Additional therapeutic techniques such as physical exercise, quitting smoking and diaphragmatic breathing techniques can also be very helpful as well.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Life Insurance.

When it comes time to determining what “types” of life insurance policies an individual with COPD will be eligible for, as well as what rate they may be expected to pay, it usually comes down to two main factors.

  1. Does the applicant smoke or use any type of tobacco or nicotine products?
  2. What “stage” of COPD do they have?

Does the applicant smoke or use any type of tobacco or nicotine products?

We’re not going to sugar coat it, if you have been diagnosed with COPD and you still currently smoke, chances are, it’s going to be impossible for you to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.

This is mainly because COPD is progressive disease that is primarily caused by smoking, and if you’re not willing to quit, insurance companies simply aren’t going to be willing to assume you as the risk.

Now at this point, you’ll have two options when it comes to purchasing a life insurance policy.  First you can quit smoking, in which case you will need to remain completely tobacco free for over a year, or you can pursue an “alternative” life insurance policy such as a guaranteed issue life insurance policy which will not require you to take a medical exam or answer any health-related questions.

What “stage” of COPD does the life insurance applicant have?

Individuals who have been diagnosed with COPD and don’t smoke will “theoretically” be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.

What rate they’ll qualify for?

This will typically be determined by what “Stage” their COPD is currently categorized at, and is usually defined by what ones’ forced expiratory volume (FEV) score.

Stage 1.

Mild COPD.  Individuals with stage one COPD will have a FEV1 score equal to or greater than 80%.

Stage 2.

Moderate COPD.  Individuals with stage two COPD will have a FEV2 score somewhere between 50-79%.

Stage 3.

Severe COPD.  Individuals with stage three COPD are likely to be experiencing severe symptoms from the disease and will most likely not be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.

So, what stage are you?

Depending on what stage of COPD you have, you’ll generally find that you’ll be eligible for what is called a Table rate when you apply for a traditional life insurance policy.

A Table rate is a rate class that falls just below a Standard or Normal life insurance rate and is typically reserved for “higher” risk applicants.  In total, there are 10 Table rates available with Table A being the “best” (lowest price) and Table J being the worst (highest price).

The trick then becomes…

Finding a life insurance company that not only offers the best pricing for those “higher” risk rates, but also offers the most “lenient” underwriting guidelines so that you can qualify for a Table A rate class.

And this is where InsuranceBrokersUSA comes into play…

You see, here at InsuranceBrokersUSA, we’ve chosen to remain an independent life insurance brokerage so that don’t have to rely on just one or two different options when it comes time to helping our more “challenging” clients find a great life insurance policy.

Instead, because we’re able to work with dozens of different life insurance companies, we can simultaneously “shop” your life insurance application to dozens of different life insurance companies making them compete for your business!

So if you’ve been diagnosed with a pre-existing medical condition like COPD, just give us a call and see what we can do for you!

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