When applying for health insurance, it is essential to keep in mind the effect that Body Mass Index (BMI) has on eligibility, and premium rates. During the underwriting process, one of the very first pieces of information taken into consideration is height and weight, which comprises your BMI. All insurers have their own charts defining what they find acceptable and deniable in underwriting.
These charts are extremely valuable when it comes to deciding how much an insurance company will charge an individual, as weight in relation to one’s height can be used to determine risk factors in combination with medical history. Based on former medical treatments and conditions, if a person applying for health insurance is considered overweight, this will cause their premiums to inevitably rise above a normal rate. Those who are considered very overweight or obese are immediately rejected for health insurance, therefore the window of opportunity ranges for those who are considered somewhat overweight.
Even individuals with a weight that falls in the range of acceptable and healthy can be subject to denial of coverage if there is a history of high blood pressure and/or cholesterol problems. The parallels between health problems and weight usually causes a health insurance company to hesitate on taking on such a client. There are a few insurers that will accept overweight persons for a health plan, which usually results in a premium rate increase of 15 to 20%.
Below is a height and weight chart used by Aetna, therefore being specific to their company rules and underwriting process. While each company will likely be similar, there is not one universal BMI chart. These tables are created carefully by the health insurance companies to meet their criteria and correspond with their plan designs and budgets. Attached is a collection of BMI tables from all major health insurance carriers so you can better prepare for the application process and be aware of what category you fall under.