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If I Have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – Will I Be Able To Afford Life Insurance?

life insurance with COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD affects an estimated 24 million Americans. It is a very serious health condition that can make obtaining life insurance quite difficult. Still, the answer to this question is almost certainly yes! Especially with the help of Ogletree Financial Services.

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

When underwriting the risk of a client with COPD, life insurance companies will be interested in your doctor’s assessment of the severity of your COPD and the results of any lung function tests you take.

Our number 1 company for COPD is Lincoln National.

An important lung function test for those with COPD is spirometry. This simple test measures how effectively a patient can empty their lungs of air. The test basically involves an exercise of maximum expiration after maximum inspiration (breathing out as much as possible after breathing in as much as possible).

There are two measurements obtained by this test that are important to physicians and life insurance companies. They are the FVC (forced vital capacity), which is the maximum volume of air that can be exhaled, and the FEV1 (forced expired volume in one second), which is the volume of air exhaled in the first second, and measures how quickly your lungs can be emptied. This value (FEV1) is closely associated with age, sex, height, and ethnicity, and is usually expressed as a percentage of a predicted normal value.

The value of FEV1 divided by FVC (FEV1/FVC), expressed as a percentage (how much of the biggest breath you can inhale will you release in the first second of exhaling), along with FEV1 compared to a normal expected value, are used to discuss the results of a spirometry test and the severity of your COPD, which is often divided into four categories of severity: mild, moderate, severe and extreme.

Mild COPD involves a moderate chronic cough and some shortness of breath after exercising along with FEV1/FVC values from 60-80%. Non-smokers with this degree of COPD may qualify for a standard risk rating with the right insurers. Moderate COPD usually indicates some decrease in lung function and FEV1/FVC values in the 50s. Without other complications, clients with moderate COPD can still get very reasonable life insurance rates with a reputable carrier.

Those with severe (FEV1/FVC in the 40s) or extreme (FV1/FVC below 40%) COPD will have much more trouble getting life insurance. But it is by no means impossible! At this point, most patients have trouble living their lives normally and are sometimes using dangerous medications to treat their condition.

In addition to the severity of your COPD, how well you are treating your condition will go a long way in determining the size of your life insurance premium.

COPD treatment involves many aspects of our daily lives. Be sure to closely follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding lifestyle changes, nutrition, physical activity, medication, breathing exercises and even emotional support.

Since those with COPD already have weakened lungs, they will want to know what you are doing to improve your health. Avoid industrial compounds and solvents, areas with heavy pollution and by all means, cigarettes. If you smoke, you must quit, if you do not, certainly do not start. You should even avoid situations where you may be exposed to second-hand smoke.

Some additional information your life insurance agent might be interested in is when you were diagnosed, any type of lung disease associated with your COPD (e.g. emphysema or bronchitis), or if you have ever been hospitalized from your COPD. Your agent will also want to know about any medications you are taking and if you have had a chest x-ray or electrocardiogram (ECG) done. 

No Medical Exam Life Insurance

One alternative is to buy a no medical exam life insurance plan. It doesn’t take a professional to figure out the attractive of these plans. You don’t have to take the exam. Sounds great, right? There are a few problems though.

They are going to cost you more. Is the convenience worth the extra premium cost every month? This is something you’ll need to decide yourself.

Another problem is how much you can buy. A traditional policy has VERY high limits, more than $1 million. With no exam policy, you don’t have those liberal limits. Most carriers only let you buy $500,000 or less.

Working With An Independent Agent For COPD Applicants

At Ogletree Financial Services we know which insurers offer clients with serious health conditions life COPD the very best rates. We recently had a female client who was 58 and recently diagnosed with COPD. She had quit smoking a few years earlier and had a history of high blood pressure that is now well under control. She had no other medical concerns and a documented history of her doctors’ care and treatment. Inquiring with several life insurance companies brought table-rated offers requiring premiums 50-150% higher than standard. We were able to find her a company that gave her a standard risk rating so she got the life insurance she and her family needed without breaking their budget.

Sadly, there are a lot of carriers who will automatically decline anyone with COPD. Those companies don’t want to take on the risk. Don’t waste your time trying to sift through those companies. Instead, we can connect you with a carrier who will not only accept you for life insurance, but will give you a plan you can afford.

Whether your COPD is mild or extreme, we can get you a life insurance policy with a reputable insurer at a premium you can afford. Get started with the instant term quoter at the top of this page, leave a message through our contact page, or call us at 1-800-712-8519.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to get life insurance if I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

When underwriting the risk of a client with COPD, life insurance companies will be interested in your doctor’s assessment of the severity of your COPD and the results of any lung function tests you take. One is spirometry. This simple test measures how effectively a patient can empty their lungs of air. The test basically involves an exercise of maximum expiration after maximum inspiration.

What if I cannot get life insurance because of my chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?

One alternative is to buy a no medical exam life insurance plan. You don’t have to take the exam. There are a few trade offs though. Non-medical premiums are higher and there are face amount limits. Some carriers set their max at $500,000.

Can I get life insurance if I have moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Mild COPD involves a moderate chronic cough and some shortness of breath after exercising along with FEV1 (forced expired volume in 1 second)/FVC (forced vital capacity) values from 60-80%. Non-smokers with this degree of COPD may qualify for a standard risk rating with the right insurers.

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