If you currently have COPD, please call us for an accurate quote. There are many companies that will work with you, but some will not. That’s why it’s best to call us at 1-800-644-2926. Otherwise, use the quote form on this page to see real quotes from many different final expense companies.
Disclaimer: If you only have Chronic Bronchitis, and you don't have COPD, please read our article about chronic bronchitis. Your options are very different when you have chronic bronchitis and no COPD.
As you may already know, it can be really tough finding affordable burial insurance when you have COPD. For quite some time, emphysema has been the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. It being a high mortality factor combined with the fact that it’s a chronic condition that you can’t get rid of, are why life insurance companies typically don’t respond favorably to COPD.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to actually heal your COPD. Essentially, all you can ever do is slow the degeneration of your lungs and prevent further damage from being done. 90% of COPD cases are the result of smoking. However, many people acquire the chronic disease via their working conditions. Whatever caused your COPD, we sincerely hope you have removed the circumstances that ultimately lead you to develop this deadly disease.
Since this condition is permanent and its the third leading cause of death, it’s no wonder why finding life insurance with COPD can be really difficult. If you have searched for any meaningful amount of time, you are painfully aware of this fact. You might be wondering, is there any hope?
Here’s the great news.
You can secure quality affordable burial insurance when you have emphysema.
We have previously helped many COPD clients secure affordable coverage, and we will show you how you can do the same. If you don’t work with the a qualified and experienced agency that has dealt with COPD before, you won’t have much luck. However, when you work with Choice Mutual, you are dealing with a company that has ample successful COPD experience.
Oh and don’t forget…
Final expense policies never require medical exams.
In this article, we will explain what insurance companies look for, how they will respond to your COPD, and what you can do to find the best policy possible.
What Final Expense Insurance Companies Look For When You Have COPD
When dealing with a final expense life insurance plan, the life insurance companies are very straightforward in regards to COPD. Quite honestly, it’s very black and white to them. They have no middle ground or grey area.
When it comes to burial insurance with COPD, all the life insurance companies want to know is: Do you have, been told you have, been treated for, or been advised to receive treatment or medication for COPD?
Essentially, they just want to know if you have it. Notice they are not asking you details about how severe or mild your emphysema is? That is by design. If you were applying for a traditional life insurance plan (far more difficult to qualify for), they would ask for much more information in addition to that question.
The Various COPD Stages
You probably know this, but COPD has four different stages. Each level is determined by a lung function test called an FEV1 test. If you have COPD, you have probably taken this test before. Basically, the FEV1 test measures how much air you can let out during the first second of a forced breath.
- Stage 1, or mild COPD, happens when your FEV1 is equal to or greater than 80 percent. This can be with or without chronic symptoms, such as excess sputum, noticeable shortness of breath with exertion, and chronic cough.
- Stage 2, or moderate COPD, happens when your FEV1 is between 50 and 79 percent. This can be with or without chronic symptoms.
- Stage 3, or severe COPD, happens when your FEV1 is between 30 to 49 percent. This can be with or without chronic symptoms.
- Stage 4, or very severe COPD, happens when your FEV1 is less than 30 percent. This is also known as end-stage COPD.
But all that stuff about stages is irrelevant to them. No matter how severe or mild your COPD is, it all comes down to a simple yes or no in regards to you having COPD or not.
What COPD medications will they keep an eye out for?
Before we dig into the different medications these final expense companies look for, it’s important to remember one thing. They are only trying to assess whether or not you have COPD. They are not looking for medications to determine severity. To them, their entire goal is simply to conclude if you have COPD or if you don’t.
Having said that, any burial insurance that has underwriting will have health questions and a prescription history check. Basically, the insurer will electronically analyze your medication history as a way to verify your health status. It’s a critical component to their risk analysis, and 99% of them do it. If you ever filled a prescription, they will see it. In regards to COPD, they analyze your entire life long prescription history because COPD is permanent.
When it comes to COPD, there are certain medications they will be on the lookout for. Just below is a list of common emphysema medications. If you have ever taken these medications, expect to be viewed as a COPD patient.
- Aclidinium bromide
- Anoror Ellipta
- Ipratropium Bromide (could be an allergy med)
- Atrovent HFA
There Are Also Many Dual Purpose Medications They Also Watch Closely
In the medical community, it’s not at all uncommon for a single medication to be used as treatment for more than one condition. This is quite common for a lot of drugs. This is especially true when it comes to COPD and asthma drugs.
Both asthma and COPD share many medications that treat both conditions. If you are on the below medications, it does not automatically mean that insurance companies will view you as a COPD patient. It’s entirely possible you could have been prescribed these medications for asthma. However, if you have filled prescriptions for these medications, it could have been for COPD.
Here are some of the most common dual purpose asthma and COPD medications they have on their watch list. How they respond, will vary among the different insurance companies, and will depend entirely on your particular prescription history.
Making Sense Of These Dual Medications
First and foremost, if you don’t have asthma and you are on or have been prescribed these medications, there is a really good chance it was for COPD. Honestly, this is pretty evident simply by default. If that sounds like you, expect to fall into the COPD category. There may be ways around this with doctors notes, but it depends on when you took them and how many. In some situations, no doctors note will override a medication history that strongly suggests COPD. Give us a call and we can walk you through this if you are in this situation.
Another thing some insurance companies look for are combinations of certain drugs. For example, if they see you are taking certain 2-3 medication combos from the asthma/COPD drug list, they may view you as a COPD client. Honestly, this practice varies by company and they all have different procedures in place to come to these conclusions based of certain medication combinations. Just know, they do look at that. Think of it this way. If you are on a host of medications from either of these two lists, expect to fall in the emphysema category.
What’s the bottom line here?
We tell you all of this information about these medications to help you get a sense of expectation. Nobody likes not knowing what to expect. This is us sharing our years of knowledge with you in regards to how these burial insurance companies respond to all these different medications. Granted, nothing is final until they actually run the script check and reach a conclusion. However, in the vast majority of situations, we know with virtual certainly whether or not a person will be placed in a COPD risk classification.
Unless you are totally unaware of your current and past medications, we can help you determine what will most likely happen when you apply.
There are more medications in addition to the ones we listed, but these do cover the most common ones.
How Burial Insurance Companies Respond To COPD
Every burial insurance plan will have underwriting that addresses COPD. Wait, that isn’t entirely accurate. There are indeed no health question policies on the market. These are called guaranteed issue or guaranteed acceptance life insurance policies.
They ask no health questions or check your medical history in anyway. We won’t dig too much into these plans except for the fact that most people are not best served by these policies. However, it’s absolutely true that there are some rare cases where a guaranteed issue final expense insurance plan is actually your best bet. We will touch more on this a bit later.
Going back to burial insurance plans that have underwriting. The harsh reality is that emphysema is a high risk disease. Ultimately, it reduces your life expectancy. It can actually reduce you expected life span by quite a bit depending on how severe your COPD is. Take a look at the chart below by The Lung Institute about how COPD affects life expectancy.
The harsh reality is that people with COPD will, on average, pass away much sooner than those who do not have it. This means the insurance company is at a greater risk of losing money. In order to compensate for this increased risk, they must take steps to ensure they can insure people with COPD and not go out of business.
Every insurance company will respond differently to people with COPD. With that, there are some very specific responses you should expect to encounter. Below you will see all the various actions insurance companies take when you have COPD.
1) They Will Charge You A Higher Monthly Premium
This one is pretty straight forward. You pay a higher premium compared to someone who does not have emphysema. In most cases, the insurance companies that go this route will charge you anywhere from 15-40% more.
In this circumstance, 100% of your benefit would be payable from day one. Put another way, there would be no waiting on your policy. They are merely going to charge you more money every month. That’s it. It’s not commonplace for burial insurance companies to only charge you more, but still pay 100% of your benefits. We work with insurers that offer this, but most carriers do not. The premium might be higher, but the huge upside is full coverage from day one which is hard to find when you have COPD.
2) They Will Subject You To A Full Waiting Period
In this scenario, your policy will not pay any benefits during the waiting period. With most companies, the waiting period is typically 24 months. If you should happen to pass away during this time, they will refund all your money plus interest. 10% is the most common amount of interest they will award you. Thankfully, there is no risk of losing any money, and it’s a heck of a lot better than doing nothing. Not to mention, no bank CD will ever give you 10% on your money.
3) They Will Pay Some Benefits Right Away, And More Over Time
With this option, the insurance company is willing to pay out a percentage of your benefit right away. Then, after a set period of time has passed, they will increase the amount they are willing to pay until you finally get to the point where they are willing to pay out the full benefit.
This option is most commonly called a “Graded Plan”. Honestly the exact name of this option will vary by company. The most common gradual payout schedule goes as follows:
- 30% of your benefits during the 1st year
- 70% of your benefits during the 2nd year
Then after a full 24 months has passed, they would pay out 100% of your benefit. With this option, it still affords you some immediate protection. Albeit, it’s not full protection, but some is certainly better than none.
4) They Will Do Nothing
You did read that right. There are some companies (there’s actually only 1) that actually built their product to be able to fully absorb the risk of COPD applicants without charging more or imposing any sort of waiting period. However, it’s incredibly important you understand something.
It’s is ultra, mega, super duper, unbelievably rare for a life insurance company to not impose some sort of penalty when a person has COPD. We cannot stress this enough. It’s extremely uncommon.
Honestly, there is only 1 company we are aware of (and we have looked far and wide for years) that will literally do nothing in regards to emphysema. They require that you were not initially diagnosed within the last 12 months, and you must be tobacco free for at least a year. Also keep in mind, your other health conditions, if any, may prevent you from qualifying with them. With that, it’s true that there is such a company that really does not care if you have COPD or not. We work with this company, and are very familiar with their underwriting procedures.
5) They Will Impose A Combination Of Penalties
This is the most popular strategy most final expense companies will employ. Some insurers will charge you more money in conjunction with a full waiting period (no benefits at all). On the other hand, some insurance companies will charge you more money, and pay some of your benefits right away (like a graded plan).
What about COPD and oxygen use?
Remember how earlier we mentioned there are guaranteed issue burial insurance policies available? We also said that there are indeed some rare circumstances where guaranteed acceptance plans are truly your best option. What we didn’t mention was there are some cases where they are you only option.
If you are on oxygen, here is the cold hard truth. Your only option is a guaranteed issue plan.
Every single life insurance company will ask about oxygen use. If you say yes to using oxygen, you are flat out declined with every company. The only exception would be if you were on oxygen due to sleep apnea. However, as this is an article about emphysema rather than sleep apnea, this probably does not apply to you.
However, it is possible that you could be one of the rare ones who uses oxygen at night for sleep apnea, and uses it during the day due to your COPD (or anything other than sleep apnea). Just know, this still disqualifies you. The only possible scenario anyone could ever be on oxygen and still qualify for a life insurance plan that has underwriting, would be because of sleep apnea and nothing else.
Guaranteed Issue Plans Explained
These policies are very simple and straightforward. First, you are guaranteed to be accepted. There is no medical check or health questionnaire. Basically, they ask for your name, beneficiary, and payment information. That’s the entire application.
There are two caveats to these polices. First, they all have a mandatory two year waiting period. This cannot be avoided. If you die during this time, they will refund all your money plus interest. It’s usually 10% interest with most companies.
Second, the premiums are higher compared to burial insurance plans that have underwriting. As you can imagine, these policies attract some pretty seriously ill applicants. As a result, the insurance company must charge more to be able to support the increased rate of death claims they know they will experience.
So basically, you have to pay more and wait some time before you policy will pay out. Honestly, given that you are on oxygen, this is a screaming deal. Not to mention, it literally is your only option.
Insider Tip: If you tell an agent you are on oxygen (and not for sleep apnea), and they still tell you that you can qualify for immediate protection, they are lying. What they are really doing is checking NO to the oxygen question without telling you. If you pass away, do you think the insurance company will pay your benefits to your beneficiary once they find out the agent lied? Nope.
Time Is Of The Essence
If you are on oxygen and without any kind of plan to pay your funeral expenses, we urge you to take immediate action. As previously stated, your policy will not payout during the first two years. This is why it’s imperative you act immediately. You need to start chipping away at that waiting period as soon as possible.
Honestly, this next statement isn’t great to talk about, but it needs to be said. Your COPD is severe if you are on oxygen. There is a good reason why life insurance companies won’t accept anyone on oxygen.
Here’s the bottom line.
The life expectancy of a COPD patient on oxygen is not long. This is sad to say, but it’s a reality you must face. This is why it’s so important you act now and start working through your waiting period.
How To Find The Best Burial Insurance With COPD
By now, this has to be the lingering question going on in your head right now. Quite frankly, this is the content most people are after. Given everything we told you, you might expect this to be some long drawn out explanation. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Finding the best final expense policy when you have COPD is incredibly simple. Are you ready for it?
To find the best burial insurance with COPD, you must utilize the services of an experienced independent agency (like Choice Mutual).
That’s it. We said it was simple right. How easy is that? Hopefully you aren’t disappointed with how easy that is. Allow us to explain. Only an independent agency can represent multiple insurance companies. Having access to many different insurance companies is key for two main reasons.
- To be able to compare prices from all the different insurance companies. The goal is merely to identify which one will give you the best deal based on your individual situation.
- Underwriting diversity. Remember how all insurance companies respond differently to COPD? Well, having the ability to choose from them all is key to helping you find which one will respond the best (given that you have COPD).
Want to know the best part?
Consulting with an agency like us is totally free. You won’t pay money to us or have to pay higher prices on your insurance. We have already helped tons of COPD clients. Tapping into our experience will save you time, money, and won’t cost you a dime.
Couldn’t I Just Get Quotes From Everyone On My Own?
Technically you could make 20-30 phone calls seeking burial insurance quotes. Granted, that will take you quite a long time, but it could be done. However, what you couldn’t do in any reasonable amount of time is learn the underwriting for 30 different insurance companies to be able to determine which one will offer you the best deal. This is a near impossible task.
Honestly, it takes years to master the underwriting from each and every company out there. If we tried to write a guide about the ins and outs of underwriting for each company for all the various combinations of health conditions one could ever have, the guide would be longer than the Bible.
This knowledge can only be acquired over time by helping thousands of customers. But honestly, why even attempt to go through all that trouble when you can utilize us? We will literally do all the work for you, and you can feel confident that we have the underwriting knowledge to be able to recommend the best company for you.
Whether you have COPD or not, our goal is simple. It’s to find you which insurance company out of them all offers you the best deal.
One Last word
It’s incredibly important you understand that every burial insurance company will view your health differently. Another way to put this is, they all have different underwriting criteria. They all accept and decline different health conditions.
One company might be totally find with your emphysema, but they may not accept another condition you might have. On the flip side, the next company might accept your other conditions, but decline you due to your COPD.
This is why we stress that you lean on a very experienced qualified broker like us. Your entire health profile must be taken into account when trying to determine which company will best suit you.
In the end, for you to find the best policy given your COPD, it all comes down to which burial insurance plan views COPD and all your other health conditions as the least risky. That will be the company that is cheaper than the rest, and come with either no waiting period or a minimal one.
Even if you don’t want to work with us, please find an experience independent agency to help you. Going at this alone will cost you big bucks.