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Health Insurance and High Blood Pressure

The United States seems to have an epidemic of high blood pressure. With all of the fast food restaurants Americans have started on an unhealthy path that just seems to worsen. It is estimated that about 72 million people in the United States age 20 or older suffers from high blood pressure and of those only about 71.8% are actually aware of their condition. Some other aggravating statistics include 1 out of every three adult Americans suffer from high blood pressure and that the cause of this illness in 90 to 95% of the cases is unknown (American Heart Association). It is important to note however, that high blood pressure is easily detectable and usually controllable.

High Blood Pressure Definition

Blood pressure can be defined as the force that pushes blood against the walls of the arteries and is usually read as 140/90 or higher. Some people even call blood pressure the silent killer because a person doesn’t know that they have it until they face difficulties with the heart, kidneys or brain. Because of this, it is imperative to have regular check-ups with your primary care physician and to watch what you eat.

High Blood Pressure and Health Insurance Underwriting

The fact of the matter is that it is not that difficult to find health insurance in the case that you have high blood pressure (possibly because having high blood pressure is so common among adults in the US). Some companies offering group health insurance coverage don’t even ask that at the time of enrollment, and the other ones that do don’t necessarily base their rate on illnesses.

Most health insurance companies base their group health insurance rates on the age of the applicant and the place of residence of the applicant. The applicants age is important to health insurance companies because with age health problems start to appear in most cases and the place of residence is important because it wouldn’t be the same to go to a doctor in a rural part of Kansas (you would pay less for a visit) than if you went to a doctor in Boston (where rates can be much higher).

That being said, having high blood pressure can certainly cause the applicant to be faced with higher individual health insurance rates or even receive a rider on the policy excluding coverage for high blood pressure.

The Importance of Having Choice In Medical Care for High Blood Pressure

One important thing to mention about policies that might be good for people with high blood pressure is that they might be better off with a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) than with a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). The reason for this is that with a PPO they will be able to go out of network and they won’t be required to obtain a referral to go visit other doctors. This is good simply because in case they want to get a second opinion on a diagnosis, they won’t have to go through their primary care physician and they will just be able to go wherever they want themselves. Another great reason for a PPO is that they have the choice of going in-network and out of network and still be covered. With an HMO however, you are only covered for the HMO network and if there is a physician that you like and they are out of network, you will have to pay full price for a visit.

What to Do if You Get Denied for Health Insurance Because of High Blood Pressure

In the case that the health insurance company that you select to enroll in denies you for what some companies call the “circulatory question” on the application form don’t put your head down! Not all health insurance companies have the same underwriting criteria. Just because you have been denied coverage with one company due to high blood pressure does not mean that you will not be able to get coverage with another insurer.

Health Savings Accounts for Those with High Blood Pressure

Another option for people with high blood pressure is a Health Savings Accounts (HSA). This is a plan that allows you to use pre-tax money in order to pay for medical expenses, however; they must be linked to high deductible insurance policies. Some of the best health insurance policies with Health Savings Accounts for people with high blood pressure are underwritten by Golden Rule (United Healthcare) or Aetna Insurance Company.

If You Have High Blood Pressure Then You Can Still Find Health Insurance

In conclusion, health insurance for people with high blood pressure is out there. The most important thing is for you to look around and see which plan best suit you. Check the company’s history and their plans. Perhaps the most important thing is to look and see if they reject people with high-blood pressure, because if they do it would be better not to apply. It can often be very helpful to speak with an independent health insurance agent that works with many different companies to get an idea of which companies to try first. So go out there and shop around, the best insurance policy might just be around the corner!

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