Anemia can be debilitating for some individuals, and can be the cause of other serious health conditions. With all these complications, it is no surprise someone might wonder if they can get life insurance with anemia.
It is common for people with anemia to qualify for life insurance. Although the application process is not as easy and straightforward as it is for someone without anemia, life insurance underwriters generally will not deny your application just based on your anemic condition.
We show you the ins and outs of the application process, so you can find the companies that offer the best rates.
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Before you begin your insurance application, it’s smart to get yourself up-to-date on just what anemia is and how it can affect your insurance rate.
The World Health Organization estimates nearly 1.62 billion people in the world are affected by anemia.
Anemia is a condition in which a person has fewer healthy red blood cells than is considered normal. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which is essential for transporting oxygen to all parts of the body.
Without enough oxygen reaching your essential organs, your body doesn’t function as well as it should. There are several different types of anemia, some of which can cause very serious side effects.
Common symptoms of most types of anemia include:
- Lack of energy
- Shortness of breath
- Cold hands and feet
- Pale skin
Anemia does not have one simple cause. Some people are anemic because their bodies do not produce enough red blood cells. These people might be genetically prone because anemia runs in their families. Other people cannot produce enough red blood cells for any number of reasons, including poor diet, pregnancy, abnormal hormone levels, or other health conditions.
Aplastic anemia is a type of anemia in which the body stops producing red blood cells altogether. This type of anemia can be very serious, possibly leading to death, so it should come as no surprise it can be a big red flag to a life insurance company.
Some people have anemia due to blood loss from a trauma, surgery, or even from heavy monthly menstrual periods.
Finally, there are people who are anemic because their bodies destroy their red blood cells. This is called red blood cell destruction. Red blood cell destruction is common in certain types of anemia, like sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. People with these types of anemia often must settle for a more expensive life insurance policy.
Just about anyone can inherit or develop anemia. It is common in children and adults, in both genders, and in people from many ethnic backgrounds.
People who are at a higher risk for developing the condition are:
- Those who eat a diet low in iron, vitamins, and minerals
- Those who have other long-term illnesses like kidney disease, cancer, liver disease, and diabetes
Anemia can be diagnosed and treated, but the exact treatment depends on the type of anemia someone has. Some people can take medications to increase their red blood cells, or to stop cell destruction. People with serious forms of anemia may need blood transfusions or stem-cell transplants.
Long-term anemia can cause permanent damage to various organs in the body, which can lead to high risk health conditions. This is one of the reasons life insurance companies take anemia very seriously.
Every life insurance underwriter will consider the risks of your anemia differently. Each company has its own standards, so no two underwriters will ask the same exact questions.
However, you can expect to be asked for the following information:
- What type of anemia you have
- When you were first diagnosed
- How severe your symptoms are
- What types of medications you take or treatment plans you follow
- If you have had any surgeries or transplants
- How often you see your doctor or specialist
- What other health conditions you have and how your anemia affects them
You can expect the life insurance company to request your medical records, and any recent blood test results. They may run their own blood tests on you, as part of your medical exam.
People with iron deficiency anemia can expect a Preferred or Standard Plus rating. To get one of these ratings, you need to be in good overall health, without other major health conditions. Controlling your condition, under the guidance of a physician, will help you get this rating.
A Standard rating is common for people who have iron deficiency anemia but are not in otherwise perfect health. A Standard rating will still offer you an affordable policy.
People with sickle cell anemia and other types of serious anemia should expect to get a Sub-Standard rating. This rating is also common for people who do not have their anemia under control.
A Sub-Standard rating means your policy will be more expensive than a policy for someone with a Standard rating. Exactly how much more your premiums will be is determined by your specific case.
If you have multiple high-risk health conditions in addition to your anemia, or you have aplastic anemia, you will likely be declined for traditional life insurance. You will need to work with your agent to explore other insurance coverage options.
Anemia affects each person differently, and many people are able to live long, healthy lives, despite their condition. You shouldn’t assume having anemia will mean you’ll be declined for life insurance.
To get the best coverage, we recommend working with an experienced independent life insurance agent who knows how to apply for life insurance with a pre-existing condition such as anemia.
Independent agents have helped many people get life insurance with anemia, and they can help you, too.
They’ll start by reviewing the specifics of your condition and determining which companies are likely to give you the most affordable policy. Then they’ll guide you through the application process and help you review your coverage options.