A few years back I fought a bloody battle with an underwriter from ING over what today still stands as the most illogical piece of underwriting I have ever run in to. Not that the two events are in any way related, but I won the battle and then watched company after company change their guidelines on cholesterol with no war at all.
Cholesterol and I think to some extent the treatment of hypertension were two health issues that were long past due for an underwriting over haul. The guidelines of two years ago were so askew from medical and scientific knowledge and fact that it was just one of those things that was almost impossible to converse with clients about. At that time and before more weight was given to total cholesterol than the healthy offset, the cholesterol/hdl ratio. HDL being the good cholesterol is the healthy balance, the artery unblocking side kick to bad cholesterol. In sufficient quantities it negates all CAD/high cholesterol concerns.
10 years ago it was rare for an insurance company to reward the treatment of out of balance lipids. It was the norm to bump you one rate class just for the treatment even if it was accomplishing exactly what was hoped, bringing your cholesterol profile into a healthy balance. Taking Lipitor, even though it presented a healthier you to a life insurance underwriter, was punished with a rate that was on average 30% higher than someone who had an identical lipid profile, but didn’t take Lipitor.
Between 5 and 10 years ago companies started changing their stance on cholesterol, deciding that someone on a non life threatening drug like Lipitor with very well controlled lipids was really an equal mortality risk to someone who just naturally had cholesterol readings in the normal range (200 or below total and hdl around 40). There are still plenty of people out there who locked in 20 and 30 year terms, or even permanent life insurance at a higher rate class than they need to be paying, but that stuff only flushes out if you read about the change or have an agent who truly has your back and looks for ways to get you better rates constantly.
In that same 5 to 10 year ago period there was only one company who would allow their best rate class for someone with treated hypertension. Banner was a stand alone, ahead of their time company then, just like they are today on so many issues. Today that underwriting can be found with several companies although they haven’t jumped on board enmass like they did with cholesterol treatment.
Along with the changes in blood pressure treatment finally came the acknowledgement from life insurance underwriters about the valid medical connection between higher than normal total cholesterol being medically offset by higher than normal hdl. Just a quick glance shows Prudential best rate class is available with a total cholesterol of 300 if your chol/hdl ratio is 5 or less. That is medically sound clinical underwriting.
Bottom line. It all comes down to customer service. If you have an agent that sold you a policy that was rated at preferred or worse for treated cholesterol or treated blood pressure and they haven’t contacted you to see what kind of improvement may be out there for you, they aren’t doing their job. If you have any questions or would like to know what rate class you qualify for with treated blood pressure or treated and untreated cholesterol, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let talk.