5 Medications That Could Affect Your Life Insurance Application

Posted on February 3, 2015 and updated December 4, 2018 in Critical Illness, Life Insurance Canada News 6 min read
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If you are taking powerful medications for a serious illness or condition, it may not be easy for you to get a life insurance policy at the standard premium rate.

This is because many of these medications have side effects that could negatively affect the user, making it more risky for an insurance carrier to cover them. 

During the underwriting process for a life insurance policy, many insurance companies will want to know if you are currently taking any medications. If you answer in the affirmative, you will be asked to provide details regarding your medication use. This includes answering questions relating to your amount of dosage, frequency of use and total prescribed duration. If your medication use is deemed to be too risky by the underwriter, then you could be outright denied insurance or be rated with a higher premium.

With that being said, let’s take a look at five dangerous medications that could affect life insurance underwriting results.

1. Narcotic Analgesics (Codeine, Oxycodone, etc.)

Narcotic analgesic medication usually consists of opioid alkaloids extracted from an opium poppy plant. Some examples of this type of medication are Codeine, Morphine and Oxycodone.

Narcotic analgesic medications are often used to manage and relieve severe acute or chronic pain. These medications are very effective because they act directly on the human body’s central nervous system. This also makes them highly addictive. Codeine has a widespread reputation of being abused as a recreational drug.

Many insurance companies don’t want to underwrite individuals who regularly use narcotic analgesics because of the severe side effects that these medications have. Some of these negative effects include apnea, circulatory collapse, respiratory arrest and even death in case of overdose.

If an individual is using a narcotic analgesic temporarily to treat a curable condition, then they likely won’t have trouble securing life insurance. But, users who need this medication long-term might have problems passing the underwriting process.

2. Prozac

Prozac (scientific name Fluoxetine) is one of the most popular anti-depressant drugs currently on the market and has millions of users worldwide.

Being an anti-depressant, Prozac is used to deal with a wide variety of disorders such as clinical depression, obsessive- compulsive disorder and panic disorder.

Despite its widespread use, Prozac remains a controversial medication because of the adverse effects that it can cause on the human body. Users of this medication have reported dealing with agitation, anxiety, insomnia, nausea and excessive sweating. Many of them have also said that they had violent or suicidal thoughts while on Prozac.

If you regularly require the use of Prozac, an insurance underwriter may ask you detailed questions about your medical condition, dosage amounts and how long you plan to use the medication for. Those who intend to heavily rely on this medication could be refused an insurance policy or be offered a higher premium rate.

3. Prednisone

Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid medication that is used to treat inflammatory diseases and suppress pain. It also used in various forms of cancer treatments.

While Prednisone has its uses, it’s an immunosuppressant drug. This means that taking this medication shuts down the human body’s immune system. You should be able to imagine the dangers of a medication that does something so drastic.

Some side effects include weight gain, high blood pressure, swelling, depression, fatigue, insomnia, abdominal and joint pain. Because of these harmful effects, many doctors only prescribe Prednisone as a short-term medication.

Individuals using Prednisone can still get life insurance if they’re only using it over a brief period in order to treat a curable condition. Underwriters might refuse to cover anyone who plans on using Prednisone regularly over the long-term though.

4. Warfarin

Warfarin is an anticoagulant medication typically used to reduce or prevent blood clots in veins or arteries. It is also sometimes recommended by doctors to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Despite its uses, Warfarin can cause some extremely adverse effects on its user. It reduces Vitamin K in the body’s system and also leaves the user more susceptible to bleeding. Some people on Warfarin have actually been reported to have bled to death as a result of a small cut while shaving or a simple fall.

Other side effects include Warfarin necrosis, reduced bone density and calcification of arteries and blood valves. Believe it or not, Warfarin was first (and still is) used as rat poison. That should give you an idea as to how deadly this medication can be in the wrong doses.

Because of Warfarin’s side effects, any individual using this medication could face a significant challenge being approved during the insurance underwriting process. Dosage and duration of use will ultimately determine whether someone using this medication qualifies or life insurance or not.

5. Methotrexate

Methotrexate is an antimetabolite and antifolate drug that slows down the human body’s metabolism and folic acid production. This medication is often used in treatments for arthritis, lupus and even various types of cancer.

Since Methotrexate slows down the metabolism system, it can have a toxic effect on body cells and slow down cell growth and cell division. The medication also blocks the actions of folic acids (Vitamin B) in the human body.

While slowing or stopping body functions can sometimes be beneficial towards curing a disease or condition, it also has severe side effects. Users of Methotrexate have reported liver damage, low white blood cells count, fatigue, fever and kidney failure.

Because people using this medication are at risk of having other medical complications, insurance underwriters may consider it too risky to give them insurance policies at the standard rate.

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Tim Landry
Tim Landry

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LSM Insurance
LSM Insurance

Thanks Tim. We really appreciate the kind words.