Can we let you in on a secret? We don’t like the term “senior citizen.”
In the life insurance community, “senior” is used as a buzzword to incite fear and anxiety, with the hopes that individuals over the age of 55 will panic-buy inadequate and overpriced policies.
We know, we know: our website is called senior life insurance. While it’s true we cater to the 55-and-up crowd, we know that age won’t deter you from finding an affordable life insurance policy. Age alone is not reason enough to decline someone from coverage. Your health plays a much more important role.
Unfortunately, the health problems that come with age are what underwriters really look at in terms of risk. It’s a simple fact that getting older brings on a number of health problems. You can mitigate your risk by eating right, exercising, following a doctor’s treatment plans, and taking recommended medications.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common health declines associated with aging and how underwriters view the risks of these health challenges.
The older we get, the more muscle we lose, the less active we get, and the less calories we burn. So, naturally, it becomes more difficult to keep weight off.
Underwriters look at weight gain with a critical eye. Veering into overweight or obese territory can severely impact your overall health picture.
Weight gain leads to stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and can even impact certain arthritic conditions. Breast, colon, and certain cancers are directly linked to obesity.
Talk to your doctor about how your body processes calories and the smartest way to prevent weight gain.
Diabetes and Life Insurance
A side effect of weight gain, diabetes impacts the way your body uses sugars – also known as glucose – from foods. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by a resistance to insulin, which prevents your body from processing glucose. This is the most common form of diabetes, typically occuring after age 45. (Another type of diabetes, Type 1, typically occurs before the age of 30, and causes people to stop insulin production).
Diabetes increases your blood sugar levels, causing a myriad of health complications, including: kidney failure, loss of sight, nerve damage, stroke or heart attacks. Healthy habits – such as eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly – regulates your glucose levels, preventing diabetes-related health declines.
Getting a Life Insurance Policy with Cancer
We believe that age shouldn’t be a barrier to getting affordable health insurance. Unfortunately, it is a fact that seniors are at greater risk for developing certain types of cancer. In fact, 25% of all new cases of cancer are diagnosed in individuals between 65 and 74.
We’re not yet sure why older individuals are at a greater risk for cancer. One theory is that your body isn’t able to repair cells as quickly. Important note: just because cancer risk increases with age, your age does not mean you *will* get cancer. Healthy lifestyle choices can greatly reduce your cancer risk.
Cognitive and Mental Health Issues
The likelihood of dementia, Alzheimer’s and memory loss all increase with age. Depression, while less commonly underwritten, increases with age and impact your insurance. In fact, more than 34 million Americans ages 65 and up suffer from depression.
According to Mental Health America, about a quarter of stroke sufferers experience depression, which is often overlooked and undiagnosed. Loneliness is also a depression trigger, particularly for seniors whose families may have moved away and who may be widows/widowers.
Severe depression – and especially the presence of suicidal tendencies – is a red flag to insurers. Talking to a mental health professional, taking medication, and finding ways to get out and stay active can all reduce your risk of depression and earn you better premiums.
High Blood Pressure
Like weight gain, high blood pressure is another red flag. If not managed properly, high blood pressure can have dire health consequences. High blood pressure can cause blood vessel, heart, and kidney complications, and can negatively impact overall body function.
Your blood pressure – or, the force your blood puts on your artery walls – naturally will rise with age. Other instances, such as diet and stress levels, can also raise your blood pressure.
The leading cause of death for men and women, regardless of racial or ethnic background, is heart disease. Coronary artery disease is among the most common form of cardiovascular disease in seniors. This disease narrows, or sometimes blocks, your main arteries. Your main arteries are what supply your heart with blood. These obstructions can lead to heart attacks – which may end up fatal. If you have a history of heart disease, contact an agent before looking for a life insurance policy.
Osteoporosis – sometimes known as brittle bone disease – is a common problem that underwriters will look at when assessing your risk. Osteoporosis is, essentially, thinning and weakening of the bones due to bone mass loss, typically caused by Vitamin D deficiency.
Broken bones and limited mobility are common side effects of this disease, which more often impacts senior women. Underwriters will determine how risky your osteoporosis is by assessing the severity of the diagnosis, your diet and smoking habits. Quitting smoking can help prevent complication with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is incredibly common, and may not negatively impact your risk – especially if your overall health is good.
While aging impacts your body and health, aging does not have to impact your life insurance premiums.
Seniors looking for affordable life insurance should reach out to us – even if you have one of the above conditions. We can help walk you through your coverage options and prepare you for how life insurance companies will underwrite your risk