Hypertension is more commonly known as high blood pressure.  When your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries to the rest of your body.  When the blood pushes harder against the walls of your arteries, your blood pressure goes up.  Your blood pressure isn’t static; it can change throughout the day.  It is usually higher when you first wake up, after you exercise, or when you are under stress.  Having higher blood pressure for short amounts of time is normal.  However, when your blood pressure stays high for most of the time, it can cause serious health problems.

Many people have hypertension and do not even realize it.  It can cause symptoms such as headaches, lightheadedness, and vertigo, but oftentimes it reveals no symptoms leading hypertension to be known as “The Silent Killer”.  The U.S National Library of Medicine reports that approximately 76.4 million people in the United States have hypertension.  It affects adults of all ages, but especially men and those over the age of 65. In summation, hypertension is a serious (yet common) medical condition in which the force of the blood pumping through your arteries is too strong.

Why is hypertension so concerning?

If the heart is pushing blood too forcefully into the walls of your arteries too often, this will put undue strain and stress on the heart and the blood vessel walls.  Over time, this causes injury to the heart, arteries, and to the organs they supply.

Sustained high blood pressure is associated with the following complications:

  • Heart failure, heart attack, left ventricular hypertrophy, and arrhythmias.
  • Peripheral vascular disease and aneurysms.
  • Stroke, transient ischemic attack, and dementia.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Eye disease with vision loss.

Lowering your blood pressure decreases your chance of a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and other health issues.  About 7 million people die each year in the U.S. from conditions caused by high blood pressure.

How is hypertension treated?

The treatment of hypertension involves lifestyle changes, including weight loss, dietary modifications, smoking cessation, alcohol reduction, exercise, and stress management.  These changes alone are not always enough and hypertension often requires medication to keep blood pressure under control.  Apart from how old a person is, blood pressure is one of the most powerful predictors of mortality.  This is why hypertension can have such an effect on underwriting life insurance.

Underwriting Hypertension

When assessing an applicant with high blood pressure, life insurance underwriters will also take note of the following key factors:

  • Age and gender.
  • Height and weight.
  • Degree and duration of blood pressure elevation.
  • Presence of other cardiovascular risk factors.
  • Existence of end-organ damage.
  • Family health history.

If an applicant has been diagnosed with hypertension, but has well-controlled blood pressure, good family history, a normal stress electrocardiogram completed within the past year, or a normal echocardiogram, then chances of not being rated are good.  Being “rated” means that the underwriters classify you below Standard life insurance risk classes.  A table rating will equal higher premium costs to offset the risks the life insurance company is taking by insuring you.

Case Studies*

Case Study #1

Applicant 1 applies for a 20-year term policy with $250,000 in coverage.  Applicant is a healthy 48-year-old executive who had her insurance exam performed towards the end of an unusually busy day.  Her blood pressure was noted to be elevated at 150/100.  Follow-up with her doctor showed a repeat blood pressure of 116/72 which is consistent with blood pressure measurements on multiple prior visits.

She can qualify for Preferred Plus ratings and pay monthly premiums as low as $35 per month.

Case Study #2

Applicant 2 also applies for a 20-year term policy with $250,000 in coverage.  Applicant is a 56-year-old truck driver who has been treated for hypertension for the past 10 years.  His blood pressure during his life insurance medical exam was 154/94.  After reviewing his medical records, it was discovered that those measurements are consistent with those of past doctor physicals.  Compliance with his medication has not always been ideal, but the applicant has never smoked nor been treated for any other medical conditions.

He can qualify for Standard ratings and pay monthly premiums as low as $141 per month.

Case Study #3

Applicant 3 also applies for a 20-year term policy with $250,000 in coverage.  Applicant is a 25-year-old office worker who is slightly overweight and uses an inhaler about 3 times per week for asthma.  He had surgery in the past to clear his esophagus because of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).  His blood pressure is 125/85 on average.

He can qualify for a Table 2 rating and pay monthly premiums as low as $35 per month.
(Table 2 rating price is calculated as 50% on top of the Standard pricing.)

Case Study #4

Applicant 4 is a 62-year-old retiree who smokes one pack of cigarettes per day.  She has not seen a physician in many years, but her exam notes that she has been treated for hypertension and a stroke in the remote past.  Her exam blood pressure was 180/120, her ekg showed left ventricular hypertrophy, and her insurance labs revealed elevated blood glucose, HGA1C, cholesterol, creatinine, and nt-proBNP levels.

She would likely be declined for life insurance.

*The examples shown are for illustrative purpose only.

Each life insurance company has a different set of guidelines they follow when underwriting an applicant.  Because of these different guidelines, when one company may deem an applicant a Table 2, another company may decide that applicant can qualify for Standard Plus rates.  A benefit to working with Quotacy is that we work with multiple A-rated life insurance companies.  Our shopping your application around to more than one insurance company can only help you.

Quotacy has years of experience getting clients life insurance coverage, including those with hypertension.  Our in-house underwriter has worked in many carrier home offices, knows how to navigate each individual’s health history, and knows which life insurance company would be the best option for your individual case.  If you are ready to buy life insurance coverage, get a term life insurance quote now and let’s start the process.

If you have any questions regarding underwriting hypertension, feel free to contact us or jot us a message in the Comment section below.  If you are looking to get an idea on the cost of life insurance if you have hypertension, we will need the following information to provide you with an accurate quote.

  1. When were you first diagnosed?
  2. What was your most recent blood pressure reading?
  3. Are you on any medications? If yes, please give details.
  4. Have/do you had/ have any of the following?
    • Chest pain or coronary artery disease
    • Abnormal lipid levels
    • TIA or stroke
    • Enlarged heart
    • Aneurysm
    • Diabetes
    • Family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke
    • Peripheral vascular disease
    • Overweight
  5. Have you smoked cigarettes in the last 12 months?
  6. Have you had an electrocardiogram completed in the last year? If yes, please give details of results.
  7. Have you ever had an echocardiogram? If yes, please share copy.
  8. Do you have any other major health problems? If yes, please give details.

Give us a 2-3 business days to respond with some individualized and thorough information.  Quotacy is here to help make the life insurance buying process easier for you.


Related Posts:

Getting Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

Ask an Underwriter: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The Most Common Preventable Causes of Death

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