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Health Insurance with High Blood Pressure

TN | January 1, 2010

 

Summary
Introduction
Short Term Medical Insurance
Long Term Major Medical Insurance
Limited Benefit Medical Insurance
Other Insurance Issues

Summary

This article focuses on finding affordable high quality health insurance for the millions of applicants with high blood pressure that is managed by medication. Many health plans exclude these applicants on the basis of a general "circulatory disorder" question on the application form. Several good options do exist, but it might take some work to get the best deal.

Introduction

In the past, applicants with high blood pressure often had difficulty finding affordable high quality health insurance. Advances in the awareness of dangers and treatment of hypertension combine to make hypertension less of a problem today, at least with regard to its effect on eligibility for health insurance. Controlled high blood pressure is generally not an obstacle to qualifying for health insurance today and the vast majority of patents without complicating medical factors qualify for standard health insurance coverage at standard rates.

TIP: Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a serious medical problem. Seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Short Term Medical Insurance

Short term major medical insurance (STM) is available at standard rates to applicants with high blood pressure in all states except MA, MD, NJ, NY, and VT. Secure STM along with the Secure 12 x 3 STM (a longer term coverage) and Secure Lite STM (a lower cost option) offer the best high quality solutions. Secure STM simply does not ask about high blood pressure on the application. This plan gives rates and issues policies directly online for applicants with high blood pressure. It is even possible to print out a policy and ID cards immediately after online enrollment. Applicants must apply for this coverage first before being declined by another insurance company or must wait for 12 months before being eligible for this plan again. Policies are issued for six months and applicants may re-apply for an additional policy at the end of the policy.

Tip: If high controlled blood pressure is your only significant pre-existing medical issue, it does not make sense to purchase a health insurance policy that pays for the prescription medication when much lower priced policies are available. In this case, purchase an inexpensive STM policy that excludes pre-existing medical conditions and pay for the prescription using a discount Rx plan (available free of charge with all STM policies) with part of the savings. The net savings, even after buying the medication will be more than $100 per month.

Long Term Major Medical Insurance

Long term major medical insurance coverage, including high deductible Health Savings Account qualified plans, are available through Golden Rule Insurance or Celtic Insurance. These plans are available in most states. Golden Rule often offers the lowest priced individual major medical insurance plans, while Celtic Insurance is generally regarded as the highest quality coverage available to individuals who purchase their own coverage in the United States. Both plans offer the direct personal advocate is key to getting an offer of coverage from these companies.

Both of these companies uses an online application supplemented with medical records when necessary. We strongly recommend that everyone with high blood pressure should keep a copy of their own medical records to speed up the insurance application process. While the insurance company can obtain these medical records directly from your doctor, the process typically takes several weeks and sometimes is not completed a all. If medical records are requested then insurance will not be approved until this information is provided. Once medical records are provided (or if medical records are not requested) the approval process typically takes a few days.

Limited Benefit Insurance

Another option is to use limited benefit insurance. This offers significantly less overall coverage than major medical insurance but may be less expensive and offers coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. The lowest cost option is Basic Health Insurance. As the name implies, this offers minimal insurance protection. Other than its low price, the most attractive features of this insurance are that it has no deductibles of co-pays. Benefits are provided from the first dollar of covered medical expenses. Coverage is limited to a specific dollar amount for each specified type of medical expenses.  Applicants in AK, AL, AZ, DC, DE, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, OK, PA, RI, and SC are eligible for this insurance regardless of their health history. Basic Health Insurance covers all pre-exiting conditions after the policy has been in force for 6 months.

Other high quality limited benefit insurance options include Core Health Insurance, Value Health, Value Hospital and Value Med. Value Benefits also offers an inexpensive 24 hour accident coverage available without regard to medical history. To save time in the search for available plans, start by viewing the state-by-state availability listing for other low cost health insurance plans.

TIP: Limited benefit insurance is also called "mini-med" or "supplemental coverage". This means that the policy can and should be combined with other insurance whenever possible to increase the overall level of coverage. Benefits for these policies are paid directly to the policyholder in addition to and regardless of any other coverage available.

Other Insurance Issues

High blood pressure, even controlled under treatment, has some effect on the pricing of life insurance and disability income insurance. The actual additional premium cost is usually not significant, but may add 15% or more over the cost of preferred risk policies. The more significant issue is that high blood pressure is often accompanied by other underwriting rating factors like obesity and diabetes that pose a greater mortality risk over the long term. Resources are available online to determine whether you qualify for standard rating life insurance (see the related links below). This technology will soon be offered for disability income insurance.

Tip: High blood pressure treatment is often most effectively treated with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes including exercise, weight loss, and dietary changes. Losing 15 pounds and increasing the level of fiber in the diet, for example, may eliminate a marginal high blood pressure problem. Those behavioral changes also significantly reduce the risks of other major medical problems.


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