This is another one of those life insurance underwriting areas where companies are definitely not all in agreement. Time to contact an independent agent who can choose the right company. They can pretty much all agree that if you have high blood pressure that is treated and well controlled, you will get a preferred rate. The change can come when you start adding other health issues.

Many companies take the stance that if you have several health issues, and any of those issues standing alone would end up with a preferred rate class, then even though you have several, you are still preferred. So let’s take the person with high blood pressure. It is well controlled so he gets a preferred rate. What if the same person was treated for cholesterol and it was also well controlled? Most companies would say he is still preferred.

What if his height and weight is in a preferred build chart and not preferred plus? He’s still going to be preferred. So, let’s add a mild allergy induced asthma that is also well controlled with an inhaler. We’re now up to four preferred underwriting issues and he is still preferred….with some companies. Others just wouldn’t be able to stand to look at all of that information and not hit you with a higher rate.

Now, please note that all of the issues are well controlled. If even one of the areas wasn’t controlled well enough for preferred rates, all of the others aren’t going to help. The rate class will end up going to standard plus or standard depending on the one poorly controlled issue.

That’s how most underwriters would view multiple impairments in the preferred category, but what if we are talking about more serious health problems? What if a person has well controlled type 2 diabetes and a few years ago had a one vessel angioplasty after being diagnosed with coronary artery disease?

Given good control and onset after age 50, a person could get better than standard rates with the diabetes alone as long as all other risk factors were good. In the absence of the diabetes, if a person had one instance of slight blockage requiring an angioplasty, we could probably, absent any other risk factors, find a few companies that would underwrite at standard rates with a good stress test to show that they were back in good shape.

But the combination isn’t good. CAD is a collateral and compounding health issue for someone with diabetes. With the combination, a person might expect to be approved at a standard rate plus as much as 2 to 4 tables (each table equals 25% above the standard rate).

Bottom line. Multiple health issues won’t necessarily change your chance of getting good rates unless those health issues are considered to have a compounding mortality experience.