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It’s no secret that your health is a huge factor when determining your life insurance rates, but this shouldn’t deter you from shopping for life insurance. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have when it comes to life insurance is that it’s too expensive. Let’s discuss common health conditions. 

Even with health issues, it’s still possible to find affordable coverage. Your rates are based on many factors including your health and most conditions can be managed, ultimately getting you better life insurance rates. Don’t let your doubts about qualifying deter you from applying.

Here are five common health conditions that can raise your insurance premiums (some of them may surprise you.)


We’ve all felt anxious at some point in our lives. This is one of the most common health conditions. It’s normal to feel anxious before an exciting event like getting married, giving a speech, or even before you are about to make a big decision like signing your mortgage papers. For those that suffer from anxiety, this feeling doesn’t go away and can interfere with normal daily activities.

Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults (or 18% of the population). Anxiety is considered a risk in the eyes of the life insurance companies because it can lead to other health conditions like insomnia, depression, and substance abuse.

Life insurance companies will ask for further information regarding the anxiety and determine whether it’s mild, moderate, or severe. Applicants with mild or managed anxiety that are on one medication prescribed by a primary care physician may be eligible to receive preferred best / preferred plus premium rates, which are the best rates possible.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes


More than one-third of all adults in the United States are obese. Obesity is even a problem among children. Studies show that obese children are more likely to be obese as adults. Obesity is an epidemic and the number of people affected grows every year.

Insurance companies calculate an applicant’s body mass index (BMI) when determining their risk class. Besides BMI, insurance companies take into consideration that obesity increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, cancer, stroke, and numerous other impairments.

Because life insurance underwriters consider obesity to be a risk factor, premium costs may reflect that or an applicant may be declined altogether. We’ve put together some case studies for you.

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High Cholesterol

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 102 million Americans have high cholesterol, but don’t know that they do. It can come as a surprise when you get the results from the insurance medical exam.

The good news is that high cholesterol can be managed. Life insurance companies do consider cholesterol levels to be a risk because if not managed, it can lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease and stroke. If it’s only slightly elevated or well-managed, you may qualify for a preferred rate.

Acid Reflux

It’s normal to experience light heartburn every once in a while but, for some, acid reflux (also called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) is a serious condition. GERD affects 19 million Americans making it one of the most common health conditions.

Depending on the severity of the condition, GERD can lead to ulcers and potentially cancer, making it a risk to life insurance companies. Because it can be treated with over the counter or prescription medications, controlled GERD can qualify most applicants for preferred or standard (based on the severity).

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition where a person repeatedly stops and starts breathing during sleep. Each episode can last between a few seconds to a few minutes. These disruptions cause the sleeper to go in and out of a deep sleep and light sleep which causes daytime drowsiness and can affect daily activities. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, heart problems, lung damage, loss of concentration and out you at risk for driving accidents.

Those that suffer from the condition are usually unaware they have a problem until someone recognizes the signs of the individual sleeping or even awake because of the effects it has on the body.

Life insurance companies consider the severity of the condition, symptoms, results of sleep studies, treatment, and number of years since last symptoms when rating an applicant.

Those that suffer from sleep apnea can still qualify for coverage. As long as you manage the condition and have been compliant and successful with treatment you will have better chances of being approved.

» Learn more: How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Life Insurance Rates?

Working through an experienced organization that understands your circumstances and represents many different carriers can make a big difference. If you have been denied in the past, there may still be options for you, which may be as simple as applying with another carrier or a different type of policy. At Quotacy, we represent multiple carriers and have high-risk underwriters. We will assess your situation and work to find the best fit for you.

Feel free to contact Quotacy by phone or email if you have questions about applying for life insurance or you can run a free anonymous term life insurance quote now.

» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator

About the writer

Headshot of Jeanna Simonson, Life Insurance Marketing Content and Social Media at Quotacy, Inc. in Minneapolis. Holiday gift ideas.

Jeanna Simonson

Marketing Content and Social Media

Jeanna has a passion for letting her creativity shine. At Quotacy she manages social media, is a co-host of Quotacy's Q&A Friday YouTube channel, and enjoys writing here and there. When she's not at the office, you can find her hanging with her husband and rescue animals, brunching with girlfriends, or loving up on her nieces and nephews. Connect with her on LinkedIn.