Can your weight be causing your high insurance bills?
Insurance is one of life’s necessary evils. You shouldn’t be without it. The right policy will save you from financial ruin when you face a health crisis or death. But insurance isn’t usually the type of thing people get excited to shop for, pay for, and file a claim with.
Several different factors go into your insurance premiums, and you may be wondering if your weight is one of those considerations. We’ll specifically look at health insurance and life insurance when overweight or obese.
We’ll break down the weight guidelines the insurance industry uses and cover other factors that could affect your premiums. And finally, we’ll provide tips for getting the best insurance rates.
Health Insurance and Obesity
Even though your weight is directly connected to your healthcare costs, most insurance plans don’t base rates on your weight.
Health insurance providers typically consider a formula that uses your weight and height and is referred to as your body mass index (BMI) when determining weight classification.
- Underweight – BMI under 18.5
- Healthy – BMI from 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight – BMI from 25 to 29.9
- Obese – BMI from 30 to 39.9
- Severe Obesity – BMI of 40 and over
Even though these classifications are fairly standard, you won’t necessarily pay more for health insurance depending on where you fall on the chart.
Most employers don’t base your rates on your weight. Instead, everyone pays the same price for the same coverage. Additionally, if you purchase insurance through the Health Care Marketplace, you won’t pay more based on your weight.
Paying more for health insurance probably won’t happen if you’re in the overweight category. However, it is possible if you’re in the obese category.
Other Factors in Health Insurance Premiums
Your age, smoking status, where you live, and how many family members you enroll for coverage will affect your health insurance premiums.
If you’re turning 50, you’ll face a higher risk of health problems than you will if you’re turning 20. As a result, you’ll pay higher health insurance premiums.
The type of plan you choose will also make a difference in how much you pay for health insurance.
Saving Money on Health Insurance
A high-deductible health insurance plan will usually have lower monthly premiums, but you’ll need to be prepared to pay most of your healthcare bills out of pocket. You may be able to save on insurance coverage by moving, especially if you move to a state where premiums are less expensive.
If you’re considering switching employers, make sure to check out their health benefits package because a good one could mean you’ll pay low health insurance premiums.
Life Insurance and Obesity
While health insurance premiums are rarely based on weight, life insurance premiums regularly are.
Life insurance companies use the same guidelines listed above.
Term life insurance typically requires a health screening before you can get coverage. That assessment will place you into a risk category, and your rates will be based on which one you fall into.
Most young to middle-aged adults need term life insurance so that if they die, their next of kin are financially protected. Obese individuals will not fall into the preferred plus category, and likely won’t be classified as preferred, either. These two classifications carry the lowest premiums.
If you’re obese, you’ll likely fall into the standard plus category, and if you’re severely obese, you may fit into the standard quality. Occasionally, you may not qualify for coverage, primarily if your obesity has led to other health risks like diabetes and heart disease.
Guaranteed issue life insurance policies don’t require a medical exam, so your weight won’t make a difference in your premiums, but these types of plans are expensive.
Other Factors Affecting Life Insurance Premiums
As health insurance premiums, life insurance premiums calculations consider your age and smoking status. They also depend on your occupation, family history, cholesterol, and other health risks.
Saving Money on Life Insurance
Losing weight may be enough to move you up to a lower risk level and earn you lower premiums. However, your rates are based on the category you’re in when you purchase coverage, so your weight loss will only impact your premiums if done before you purchase a policy.
Compare life insurance quotes to help you find a good fit for your insurance needs. You may find that one company will classify your risk more favorably than another.
Achieving a healthy weight will help you improve your health and lead to a higher quality of life. In addition, you might even experience lower insurance premiums.
Melanie Musson writes and researches for the life insurance comparison site, LifeInsurancePost.com. She enjoys helping others understand their insurance needs so they can protect their current and future financial stability.
Categories: Outside Contributors