Nowadays, there are many surgical options out there for those who need help losing weight and haven’t been successful with just diet and exercise alone. In fact, it seems like every year, there is a new, less invasive procedure that can literally change a person’s life forever.
As a result, insurance companies are now seeing clients who, just a few months earlier, may not have been eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy suddenly be able to meet many of the requirements needed in order to apply for coverage!
The only down side is…
…when it comes to “weight loss and life insurance”, there is a general opinion held throughout the life insurance industry that most weight loss over 10 lbs will be “regained” by an individual pretty quickly if it is not “kept off” for at least a year.
This is why most life insurance companies will only consider 50% of ones’ total weight loss over 10 lbs as a way to account for any future weight gains (50% added back rule) by the applicant. This is typically not the case if all you need is simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance from some of the best final expense or burial insurance companies.
So, when we take a look…
At a life insurance applicant who has recently had a surgical procedure designed to help them lose weight, what we’ll often find is that due to the “50% add on rule” many applicants who have had surgery to reduce their weight will often need to wait until 1 or 2 years “post-surgery” before they will see any significant changes in what they may or may not be eligible for.
If you weight 300 lbs on the day of your surgery, and then proceed to lose 80 lbs over the next 6 months, rather than be able to apply for life insurance at a weight of 220, many (if not all) life insurance companies will consider your “true” weight to be 260 lbs.
Which may or may not be “low” enough to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy based on your height and weight ratio.
Types of weight loss surgical procedures and how they will be viewed in general by the life insurance industry.
Before we dive too deeply into discussing the “types” of weight loss surgical procedures that are out there, it’s important to note that all surgical procedures have their own inherent risk.
So, while we many “say” one proceed is theoretically less invasive or less risky than another, please know that none of these procedures are without risk, and none of them should be considered lightly.
“Bariatric Surgery” and the procedures it encapsulates.
The term “bariatric surgery” can essentially be used to describe any type of surgery that is performed on the stomach to induce weight loss.
And when it comes to applying for life insurance, while your own personal results will play a huge role in the outcome of your life insurance application, so too will the “type” of bariatric procedure that you received.
For this reason, let’s just take a brief look at some of the most common types of bariatric surgical proceedures.
Vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG).
Vertical banded gastroplasty, also known as “stomach stapling”, is a surgical proceedure whereby both a band and staples are used to create a small stomach “pouch” thereby reducing the size of ones’ normal stomach.
Applicants who have undergone a vertical banded gastroplasty will find that, provided that they would otherwise qualify, they may now be eligible for a “non-rated” life insurance policy and could “theoretically” qualify for a Preferred rate class.
A sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical procedure that may be used as a first “step” before attempting a more extreme procedure such as a gastric bypass surgery.
With a sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon will use stomach stapes to “isolate” approximately 15% of ones’ normal stomach by vertically segmenting the stomach along the stomachs natural curvature.
This portion that is “isolated” is then surgically removed leaving the remaining portion of the stomach as is. The resulting “tube” or “sleeve” like shape of the remaining stomach is how this procedure gets its name.
Applicants who have undergone a sleeve gastrectomy will also find it possible to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy. However, due the more invasive methods used during a sleeve gastrectomy, they may find it more difficult to qualify for the premier life insurance rate.
Gastric bypass surgery.
Gastric bypass surgery is a bariatric surgical procedure in which the stomach is divided into two separate “pouches”. The upper and much smaller pouch will then function as the primary stomach while the larger and lower pouch becomes the “remnant” portion of the stomach. Both stomach pouches will then be reconnected to the small intestine to ensure normal and healthy digestion.
The end result of a gastric bypass surgery is that patients will ultimately end up with a much smaller stomach allowing them to feel much “fuller” after only eating a portion of what they used to require to achieve the same result.
Insurance companies will generally view gastric bypass surgery as the most invasive type of bariatric surgeries and will thus tend to limit applicants it a sub-standard “table rating” when applying.
For these types of applicants, it then become essentially to look at those insurance companies who offer the best “table rating” prices so that they can secure the best price for their insurance.
A few final comments…
Lastly, we do want to make just a few additional comments with regards to how your life insurance application will be underwritten by the life insurance industry.
While it’s great that you have had a surgical procedure to help you lose weight, and presumably it has helped, it is important to understand that any pre-existing health condition that you may have had before your recent weight loss are still in going to be “in play” as you apply for life insurance in the future.
So, if you’ve previously been diagnosed with:
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- Sleep apnea.
- Or received disability benefits due to your weight.
These factors are going to continue to play a role in the outcome of your life insurance application, regardless of what your current weight is.
While we have tried to give you a “general idea” of what rate class you may or may not be eligible to receive, it’s important to understand that until a life insurance underwriter has had an opportunity to review your application, your medical exam, and your medical records, we simply won’t know for sure what “type” of life insurance policy you may qualify for or at what “price”.
Now the good news is that…
Here at JustBuryMe, we have a ton of experience working with individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery and we work with dozens of different life insurance companies. Which means that when it comes time to helping you find the best life insurance policy that you can qualify for, we’re going to have a ton of options for you to consider.
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!