- How Allergies Affect Life Insurance Eligibility
- May 2, 2017
It’s springtime in America, and as the winter cold recedes and gives way to the warm breezes of spring, a sort of evil “spring fever” is on the way as well in the form of allergies.
Among the most pernicious is “Hay Fever,” or allergic rhinitis, but it has nothing to do with either fever or hay. It does mean sufferers are plagued with watery eyes and stuffy nose, and most cruelly, those symptoms arise from the rebirth of the beautiful plants and trees releasing pollen. So where did the wretched condition get its name? It was named because it was discovered during “haying season” by farmers as they noticed the worst of the symptoms were present as they brought in their hay crops.
Dr. Warren Filley, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, says the worst offenders among plants in spring are ragweed and ryegrass. Filley says the plants both proliferate along fields, riverbanks, roadsides and rural areas in the Midwest and the Mississippi River basin
“The most allergenic plant we have is ragweed,” says Filley, “It’s less common on the West Coast or in New England, and therefore, there’s less pollen in those areas.”
According to the AAAAI, nearly 75% of Americans who have plant allergies are sensitive to ragweed and ryegrass. Grasses – as a whole – are often rough on allergy sufferers.
“There’s no allergy-free grass. And if you mow it, you pick up mold as well as pollen,” Filley says.
So how does suffering from allergies affect applying for a life insurance policy?
Some complain that every fall and spring they’re attacked by a cold or sinus infection, but it may well be that they’ve never questioned whether or not they’re actually laid low by allergic reactions.
Both colds and allergy have very similar symptoms, but allergy symptoms can persist for several weeks. They generally emerge during the month of April.
How do allergies affect life insurance eligibility?
It depends on the severity of the allergy. An allergic reaction that causes mild sneezing, seasonal allergies that will go away, sensitive eyes and a runny nose will not be a problem.
Someone with “seasonal allergies” who may have an inhaler prescribed would likely be underwritten as someone who has mild asthma. This can often still result in the best rate class possible.
However, if an allergic reaction is so severe that, for example, a bee sting or eating peanut butter results in emergency room treatment and hospitalization, life insurance companies may look into the situation. Then, medical directors review the case before a decision is made. Once a severe allergy is determined, most will do whatever possible to prevent exposure. Most life insurance underwriters realize that the chances of dying in a car accident are greater.
Remember that life insurance rates are based on family health history, age, gender, occupation and can vary depending on the company.
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