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Life Insurance With High Blood Pressure

Living with high blood pressure is increasingly the norm among Americans. The American Heart Association estimates that nearly half of all U.S. adults — 116 million people — have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. 

What Is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers — systolic (the upper number) and diastolic (the bottom number). Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80, which you might hear doctors read as "120 over 80". 

According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is generally classified into two stages: Stage 1 hypertension and Stage 2 hypertension.

  • Stage 1 hypertension: 130-139 for the systolic number or 80 or higher for the diastolic number.
  • Stage 2 hypertension: 140 or higher for the systolic number or 90 or higher for the diastolic number.

High blood pressure is a serious medical condition that can lead to long-term heart disease, heart failure, kidney issues, stroke and other health problems. Even if you live with high blood pressure or hypertension, you can still buy a life insurance policy that provides comprehensive coverage. 

How High Blood Pressure Can Affect Life Insurance Premiums

Life insurance premiums are dependent on many factors, including blood pressure reading, cholesterol level, age, alcohol and tobacco use, weight and general overall health.

Every ailment and preexisting condition, such as diabetes, depression, cholesterol and high blood pressure readings, are scrutinized in the underwriting process. Underwriters assess your health data and use your blood pressure to classify your risk level, which determines your monthly premium.

High blood pressure is a condition that can impact insurance premiums because it’s a health risk that can be a precursor to other medical conditions. People with high blood pressure and hypertension have an increased risk of having an aneurysm, stroke, kidney failure or heart attack. However, it is still possible to obtain life insurance with high blood pressure. It depends on:

  • How long you’ve had high blood pressure
  • Whether your high blood pressure is under control 
  • Your weight and height
  • Whether you have other risk factors and preexisting conditions

Life Insurance Risk Classes

Applicants who are approved for a life insurance policy are classified into one of these risk classes, although the exact names may differ from one insurance company to the next.

Preferred Plus: This is a top-rated category where applicants are in excellent health without any big risk factors for coverage; enrollees are likely to have the lowest possible premium rate. 

Preferred: The next best category is also associated with excellent health, but with some wiggle room on blood pressure readings, cholesterol level and weight; participants tend to have low premiums.

Standard: This tier is for applicants who are in good health but don’t necessarily make the preferred category. Medical treatment for high blood pressure may be acceptable, as long as the readings are in normal range and the applicant is otherwise healthy.

Substandard: This final category is for enrollees who might be in poor health or have an impaired risk due to medical conditions that require a higher premium charge. 

Enrolling in Life Insurance With High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure and you're planning to apply for a life insurance policy, speak to a life insurance agent who can help guide you through the process and explain your options.

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