Replacing Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance: For Someone with Eating Disorder History

By James Tobin, CFP®

Critical Takeaways

  • Rate Impact Minor to Significant
  • Standard Rates Possible,  Table Ratings Common
  • Pricing  Based on The Time Elapsed, Severity of Disorder History, Medical Complications, Hospitalizations or Lost Work Time
  • Declines / Postponements are  Possible with Severe History 

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Expert Review Of  Life Insurance With  Eating Disorder History

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Reviewed by

Jim Tobin, CFP®

Why you can have confidence in this review

At Workers Bequest Life Insurance, we value our editorial independence. We keep our reviews strictly factual so you can use them to make informed decisions. Life insurance carriers referred to on this site do not approve reviews. 

If you need to know more about getting life insurance with eating disorder history, you are in the right place.

If you or a loved one has suffered from the anguish caused by an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa , you are  aware of the day to day rituals used to cope with the condition.

What you may not be aware of is the impact this history will have on you life insurance application. Just like folks with medical conditions like depression or hyper thyroid, or lifestyle choices like marijuana use, and scuba diving, insurers want to know what kind of risk they are insuring.  

The purpose of this article is to provide the information needed to for your upgrade from an Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance plan to a Private Insurance policy, regardless having a history of anorexia or bulimia in the best possible light.

This will provide the best opportunity for a good offer for life insurance. If you already know exactly what you are looking for, use the quick navigation tool to skip around to the info you want.

It Is Possible To Get Life Insurance With A History Of Anorexia / Bulimia

Every applicant for life insurance with an eating disorder history can be approved for a policy.

However, the type of policy that can be approved, and the rates charged, will depend on the nature of your eating disorder, how well it's controlled,  and your overall health.

Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, this review of  life insurance options with eating disorder history  is broken into  three sections:   (click button to go directly to section)

Best Price

Strict Underwriting

Exam - Yes

Good Price

Strict Underwriting

Exam - No

More Expensive

Easy Underwriting

Exam - No

What Insurers Will Want To Know About Your Eating Disorder

In this case,  "as much as they can", means  date of diagnosis, symptoms, treatments, and any ongoing maintenance. These issues are discussed individually below.

Will I Need To Take An Exam For Eating Disorder Life Insurance?

In order to get the best rates possible you may need to take an exam. Cases in which several years has passed since symptoms with no relapses may be eligible for no-exam underwriting. However, most applications will require an exam.

The exam is a paramedical exam that collects blood and urine samples. The exam is administered at no cost by a travelling nurse and can be done at your choice of location.

If it turns out that simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies are the best fit for your application, no exam will be required.

How Much Will My Life Insurance Cost And How Exactly Are My Rates Affected By My Eating Disorder?

The rates you pay for term insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier. anorexia / bulimia applications are generally going to be rated as standard (rare) or lower.

How Accurate Are The Quotes I Get From Your Quote Tool? 

The quotes you receive from the quote tool on this site are 100% accurate for the information inputted. That is to say, if you get the rate class correct- your rate will be correct. The problem with online tools is that people generally think they are inn better or worse shape than is reality.   

If you are unsure about rate class you should choose a range and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

How Can I Improve My Underwriting Rating And Lower My Life Insurance Cost?

The most effective ways to improve your life insurance rating are to use an agent that has access to the companies that will view you most favorably and to take care of your health. 

See Why to use Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with eating disorders  to better understand the reason to use an independent agent.

As far as lifestyle goes, if you take diet and exercise seriously along with limiting alcohol and quitting smoking (if you smoke), it should be reflected in your blood markers. 

If you have a eating disorder like anorexia, documenting compliance with medical advise and any medications is very important. Obtaining Having a physicians letter stating that you have been compliant and improving is helpful.

Do these things and you can't help but improve your health and your life insurance rating.  

What Are The Best Life Insurance Companies For anorexia History?

Life insurance companies have different appetites for specific risks. These appetites are reflected in underwriting and ultimately pricing. Simplified issue carriers will be state dependent and  three of the better known term carriers for dealing with eating disorders   are Prudential, American General (AIG), and Banner.

However, risk appetite can, and does, change and the only way to guarantee the best possible deal is to work with an experienced independent agent. see the case study here to get a clear understanding.

What Is The Application Process For Life Insurance With An Eating Disorder history?

Regardless of your pre existing condition, the application process is largely the same. The life insurance application process is an eight step process that includes choosing your terms, picking a carrier, submitting to the exam,  and signing documents (digital signatures accepted). The entire 8 step process is laid out for you here

Traditional Term Life Insurance With Eating disorder history

While it is not rare to see an offer for life insurance "table rated", due to eating disorder history alone, the reality is that anorexia / bulimia is often accompanied by additional risks. The combination of eating disorder and connected risks can result in more severe table rated offers.

 It is worth noting that the  severity of the rating can vary significantly. Therefore it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with cardiac cases and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive. 

The process of obtaining a term life insurance offer with an eating disorder history is similar to seeking  life insurance after a heart attack,  Sleep Apnea or AFib and many other specific conditions.

Primarily, term life insurance is available for lengths ranging from 5 years to 30 years with 20-year terms being the most popular. Term policies usually have a minimum face amount of $50000, and the policies terminate at the end of the term period or can be renewed annually at a vastly increased rate.

Pricing For Term Life Insurance

At the top of this article we stated  that any body can be approved for affordable life insurance with an eating disorder history. Note, however, we mention "affordable" rather than inexpensive or "low cost". The reason for the distinction is that life insurance with a eating disorder history is not always cheap life insurance.

The difficult part of term life insurance with a history of anorexia / bulimia is finding the best deal. This is because different carriers have differing appetites for certain kinds of risks. As a result navigating this process

is not as easy as using a quote tool and picking the lowest price. This is discussed in detail in the case study below.

Why You Should Use An Independent Agent When Shopping For Life Insurance With eating disorder history

Now you already understand that your story matters, and that two people in similar situations can get very different offers from the same carrier.

What you might not know is that different insurance companies will also treat each case differently.

For example Prudential Financial  may have more of an appetite for the risk that RA presents than say SBLI. In this case the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.

So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that that you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel?

You'd probably be angry either at the agent or likely  both. So it's important that your Agent represent multiple carriers.

Case Study Pricing Policies With High anorexia / bulimia history

Please see the case study below . it will show why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance with a history of eating disorders or any other impairment.

Gender: Female Age: 29

$1000000 20 Year Term

Tobacco: No

History of anorexia  Diagnosed Age 23

St. John's wort for "winter blues" and iodine for well controlled hyper thyroid. only No Other Health Concerns

This looks like a best case scenario that would be either standard or Table 2/B or 4/D depending on the insurers appetite for a anorexia history risk.. Let's take a look at the rates.

  • Standard 
  • Table 2/B 
  • Table 4/D 


Monthly Expense

$ 54.07

$ 54.09

$ 54.44

$ 56.32

$ 62.92

This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Lincoln is 35% more expensive than Banner.

On its face this seems like a pretty straightforward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple. This kind of easy price shopping is particularly useful for younger folks in good health and demonstrates why you want to use an independent Agent.

For people who suffer from an anorexic history  or any other serious diagnosis, it gets much more complicated.

Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a standard or table 2 risk and which ones will grade you as table 4-6.

In the case above Prudential (one of the more expensive standard rates) is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carrier will likely rate the risk table 4 while Pru might well go standard.

This is something you can't know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this case using an independent agent could save you 29% (the difference between Prudential @ standard and AIG @ Table 4).

Your Next Step

We are glad about the efforts you've made on checking out for a better upgrade for your Employer Sponsored Life Insurance Plan and finally decided on Workers Bequest. We are committed to a totally transparent process (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like), and making the application process as painless as possible.

Simply give us a call or shoot an email over and we can get you started. If you have any questions, We'd also like to hear them.

Fast Facts About Anorexic Eating Disorder

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by extreme fear of weight gain and unhealthily low body weight. Much like bulimia, anorexia is often associated with self induced vomiting after meals. The Mayo Clinic provides a good overview on the condition.

According to the National Institutes of Health .06  of the population suffers from a eating disorder with about 1/3 seeking help for the condition. The average onset of anorexia is age 19, with women 2.5 times more likely to suffer the disorder. 

Some pretty famous people have suffered from anorexia  or bulimia including Princess Dianna , television news personality Katie Couric, tennis star Monica Seles, and actress Kate Winslet.

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