How allergy affects your health insurance rates


This year, the weather has been unfortunate. Indeed, those who take an interest in predicting such things suggest 2010 may be the worst year on record for people who suffer from different forms of allergy. It is all down to the late snow. The increased level of water that fell and was held in the ground will boost the early release of tree pollens. When added to the usual grass pollens, this will threaten a far wider range of people. Research results from the first ten years of this century show the number of people suffering from seasonal allergies rising quite steadily, with many now suffering from environmental allergies all year round. About 60% of those with allergies report it difficult to control symptoms with over-the-counter drugs, with some 20% forced to take time off from work. The majority of those with access to health plans report improvement. This is not simply a question of accessing a different range of drugs.

Medical science has been advancing rapidly and there is a clear understanding of the biology of allergies. The first step is a series of skin tests to discover exactly which elements in the environment you are sensitive to. The basic test covers about twenty of the pollens, molds, animals, insects and foods most commonly causing an allergic reaction. The results can be extremely helpful if you discover you not only have a major allergy to house dust but also a low-intensity problem with dogs. Changing your lifestyle can lead to a major improvement in your health even though it may mean losing your pet. An allergist can advise on strategies to remove carpets, fit different types of sheets and pillow cases on beds, regularly vacuum sofas, and so on. It may be necessary to keep windows closed at certain times, e.g. when it is damp and mold spores may be released and, if you have air-conditioning, fit a HEPA filter.

As it stands, discovering you have allergies is almost inevitably revealing a pre-existing condition, so you need to look carefully at the wording of your current health plan to see what coverage is available. If you are looking for your first health insurance coverage and know you have allergies, you must disclose the fact. Failure to do so gives your insurer the right to cancel the policy when the omission is discovered. Even when allergies are included, the extent to which the plan will pay out on the counseling and advice often necessary to make effective changes to your lifestyle can vary dramatically from one insurer to another. Some are genuinely supportive. Other have high co-payments on even the standard antihistamines. This places the burden very much on you to explore what can be built into the coverage. In this, there is one worrying statistic. The number of children who are developing more severe anaphylactic shock to different elements in the environment is rising. This means preventative as well as treatment care will be necessary.

If your allergies are serious enough to threaten your quality of life and restrict your ability to earn a living, adequate health insurance quotes are absolutely necessary. You are paying out on premiums to keep you functional, whether only through the season or the whole year. This is good value-for-money cover so long as the medical advice you receive does work. If in doubt, always get a referral to an experienced allergist. It may cost you a little more, but it is worth the extra money.

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