Have Asthma? Know how to get an insurance cover

People with asthma find it difficult to get insurance cover to protect their loved ones.

This may sound breath-taking! Out of the 30 crore individuals currently suffering from asthma worldwide, about a tenth live in India. A 2015 Indian Study on Epidemiology of Asthma, Respiratory Symptoms and Chronic Bronchitis (INSEARCH) conducted with 85,105 men and 84,470 women from 12 urban and 11 rural areas in India estimated the prevalence of asthma in India to be 2.05 per cent among those aged over 15 years, with an estimated national burden of 1.8 crore asthmatics.

According to clinical statistics, hypertension, asthma and diabetes are the top three lifestyle diseases in India. Every 10 seconds, someone experiences a pot-entially fatal asthma atta-ck. The condition claims over 1,000 lives a year and 80 per cent of asthma sufferers find that their condition flares up because of air pollution. About 25 per cent of the Indian population suffers from allergies mostly airborne and five per cent of them suffer from allergies that lead to asthma.

Although there is currently no complete cure for this condition, there are a number of different treatments and medications available to help control the symptoms and even prevent asthma attacks.

With such a wide prevalence of this disease, the question that naturally arises is whether asthma sufferers are eligible for life insurance. Let us assume that Mr Rai, 35 years old has applied for term life insurance. He was diagnosed with asthma at age 14 with stable mild disease and no other additional lung conditions were found. He visits the doctor regularly and is a non-smoker. What are his chances of getting life insurance?

Another case is of Mr Mehra, 41 years old, who has also applied for a term life insurance. He was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 23, gets frequent attacks, uses an oral steroid daily to control the disease. He is also a non-smoker without any additional lung conditions diagnosed. Is it possible for him to get life insurance and what would be the premium as compared to Mr. Rai?

Life insurance companies can be very picky about covering an asthma sufferer and would like have a lot of detailed information about the applicant’s asthma history. The more accurate the information you provide to your insurer, the more the company could help you get a policy.

An insurance company uses pure statistics and your overall health to determine the life insurance applicant's risks. In case you have asthma, your odds of having a major asthma attack leading to complications, though uncommon, are considerably higher than they are for a non-asthmatic individual. If you have a pre-existing condition, such as asthma, you will end up paying a higher premium than other individuals who do not suffer from the disease.

Another interesting aspect is that life insurance companies would rather underwrite someone who has had asthma for many years than someone who has only had asthma for a short period of time, as the logic is that the first individual knows how to manage the ramifications of asthma and yet stay relatively healthy.

If you have asthma and wish to apply for a life insurance policy, it is advisable to be extremely selective in where you apply. There are ways to escape expensive premium rates even if an applicant has asthma.

Premiums are generally lower for those who diet and exercise or keep their blood pressure down with medication as compared to those who do not follow a strict medical regime. Another point is that every life insurance company has its own preferences and prohibitions. It would be best to do research and speak to your medical practitioner as well as an insurance agent as it would be unwise to apply to an insurer that takes a mu-ted view of people with asthma. Focus on working with your agent to get a better po-licy after control of asthma.

Based on these pointers and with regard to the cases mentioned earlier, we see that Mr Rai has a better chance of securing a life insurance policy at a lower premium than Mr Mehra because of his medical history and control of the disease.

It goes without saying that life insurance companies are concerned if asthma sufferers are taking proper precautions to keep it under control. A medical history of physician checkups is important to the company.

The good news about applying for term life insurance when you have asthma is — yes, you can qualify for coverage. But at the same time, the approval and rating class is unpredictable and subjective, as the premium is higher. That's a small cost to pay for the protection of your loved ones, isn't it?

(The writer is the head of marketing, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance)

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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