Am I Too Fat for Health Insurance?

Last night I rented the movie SiCKO by Michael Moore. I had heard about it a few months ago but didn’t think to go see it at the theater. I usually deem movies DVD worthy then wait for their release to rent them via Block Buster Video. Anyway, I knew what it was about and liked his last movie about 911, so I gave it a shot. It was about the health care system and how the health care industry is making tons of profit and not helping patients.

I must say, watching this movie made me want to move out of the country (since there is no universal health care here in the US of A). I can totally relate with the one person that was denied health insurance coverage due to their high BMI. BMI is a load of crap if you didn’t already know. I first came across BMI issues during bootcamp. But that’s another story. This is about being denied insurance because of my fatness. A couple of years ago I was in search of health insurance for my family. I did some research online and found some sites that I could submit my info to for quotes.


A week or so after submitting all my info I received a letter stating that my family could be covered but I couldn’t because I was considered morbidly obese and of “high risk.” I called them back and gave them the example of a body builder having a high BMI and being in shape. They wouldn’t see my side of the story and I was forced to accept their bull shit reason. I would remain denied health coverage because I was too fat.

The amazing thing about it was that I was actually in pretty decent shape a few years ago when this happened. I was about 250 to 260 lbs and in good shape as far as my cardiovascular system was concerned. I just happened to be a bit heavy, like I have always been. At my height of size feet, six foot one on good days, I was considered by most to be in good shape. Not to the health insurance companies though. They judge you based on BMI (body mass index), which is just absurd. It pisses me off just thinking about it and fuels my healthy weight loss.

I know I am not the only overweight person that has been denied health care coverage. Have any of you been through this? Let me know below.

About the Author

My name is Israel Lagares. I used to be the kind of guy that was always in shape, but over the last few years I've fallen off tremendously. This site is my final attempt to get back into shape. So far I've lost 70.4 lbs. Check out my weight loss chart, weight loss videos and progress pics. Follow my journey, those of others, and read our thoughts on various health topics. Share your thoughts, experience, and journey here on FMU.

Community Thoughts (126)

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  1. Saint HavokNo Gravatar says:

    Hey fat man, you dont look that fat at all.

  2. Hope everything turned out well, just found out about your site. I would have been able to get you the whole surgery under 7k. All the best!

  3. Kim MorrisNo Gravatar says:

    See the updated list in “Health Insurance for Overweight Applicants” for other options.

    • TammyNo Gravatar says:

      Kim, where can I find the “Health Insurance for Overweight Applicants” list? I find myself in the position of needing Individual coverage and being overweight. I’m 37 and have always been overweight but am otherwise healthy. My blood pressure was 110 over 60 about a month ago and have no health problems.


  4. A.C. MonroeNo Gravatar says:

    I BMI is definitely a bad way to measure health. I think I have a high BMI, even though a lot of people like me, who do, often are extremely healthy individuals. I think a more accurate way of measuring health is probably body fat content or maybe even using medical history as a sort of measurement. Who knows… But overall I think it depends on the person. I think some are overweight because they can’t help it, and others can change their diet. Also, parents should play more of an active role in the health of their children.

    • EBNo Gravatar says:

      At the least they should see the person. All they do is review your application and make decision without even seeing you. Everyone is different in size as well. When I have told people what I way they argue with me because they don’t believe it. Many years ago I lost a bunch of weight when I was on a weight program and I got to a certain point and could not make the goal weight they decided I should be. We have small framed, medium and large framed people. One size does not fit all. My family comes from large stock even when we are “skinny”. We have never been able to obtain the goal weight that society has decided on. Who decided what the range was for BMI. If I was in the normal range I would look sick. Bottom line is a bunch if morons in an office looking at an application without even seeing you in person is not the way to do it.

  5. taniaNo Gravatar says:

    yeah fat man, you dont look that fat at all.
    so go on

  6. BradNo Gravatar says:

    I can relate you man. I was denied as well. I was 6’3 and 270. Grant it, that is overweight, but I was playing rugby and other sports. I am making strides towards losing weight but still have to lose enough to hopefully not be denied a second time. I think this whole system is BS and hope that change will happen here in America now that Obama has been elected. I have many friends from Europe who are enjoying not only free healthcare but free education and they will never know what it is to worry if they will be able to afford to retire. Yeah they have high taxes, but their lives are more worry free and less stressful. I love America but we have a very F*$@%# up system. For those people that talked S&*% about how fat people should be denied or whatever, I promise you that eventually something will happen to you or one of your loved ones that will change your mind. Hope all is well with you Israel and your quest to lose weight. I know how hard it can be for naturally big guys.

    • Israel LagaresNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Brad, thanks for stopping by. Your stats seem pretty normal to me. You are 6 foot 3 and 270, unless it’s all in your stomach, which I doubt, you seem like just a large guy. A naturally large guy. I wish you luck.

  7. NickNo Gravatar says:

    Things like this are why it’s very important to use an independent agent when you’re looking for new health insurance. Agents know the ins and outs of the companies and we usually have contacts within them that can help us out. For what it’s worth, in Georgia, I know of two companies that would take you without question – it’s just a matter of knowing your way around the system.

    I’m not saying that that system doesn’t suck, and that it shouldn’t be that way, but since it is for now it’s good to know that there’s at least a few ways to get some help within it.

  8. EBNo Gravatar says:

    Yes! I was part of layoffs and lost my insurance, when I tried to get individual insurance I was denied do to being overweight. Never mind I don’t smoke. BMI is a joke. I have no health issues. It makes me sick that a skinny drinking smokers can get insurance and I cannot unless I pay through the nose (i.e. $600-$700 per month for major medical). Currently I have HIPPA for $479 per month and have very little income coming in. It will look like soon I will have to gamble and go without it. The private insurance companies should be put out of business, because they want perfect people, so they don’t have to payout. This way they can get big paychecks. Disgusting! I don’t know how they sleep at night.

    • Fat Little CherubNo Gravatar says:

      I’m in exactly the same boat. Lost my job due to downsizing, and I can’t find insurance due to my weight, though I have no medical conditions due to my weight or otherwise. I don’t smoke or drink. But b/c my height and weight don’t fit into their chart, I am up a creek without a paddle.

  9. Survivor2002No Gravatar says:

    Not to bore you with the long and agonizing story, but I’ve constantly had problems with insurance companies for AWBO (Applying While Being Obese) and more ridiculous reasons, and THAT’S just been while I’ve been covered as part of my employment benefits!!! I do not even want to contemplate what my situation would be if I were employed by a company that didn’t offer medical benies – or worse – completely UNEMPLOYED. When I hear about people “going postal” in an office building, and then it turns out to be an insurance company’s headquarters or one of their branch offices, it doesn’t even strike me as unusual.

  10. Insurance companies sometimes assert ridiculous things. Too hard to understand.

  11. AmdNo Gravatar says:

    Maybe people should get their priorities straight i have given up a lot of things to keep health insurance and pay the multiple bills. maybe instead of going to the coffee shop everyday they just pay health insurance. My taxes shouldnt have to carry someone else they sure as hell dont carry me. and to the people that say they cant get insurance its bullcrap anybody can get onto cobra but you have to pay for it thats life. we dont need a public option or any beaueucratic agencies just need insurance companies to be more competitive across state lines and cut costs at hospitals. Ive seen what the govt can handle look at the stimulus package it was a complete disaster. I dont want them near healthcare.

  12. JasonNo Gravatar says:

    Dude, I found out about the height/weight ratio before applying. I dropped 50 lbs. in 6 months to qualify. Then I was denied coverage because I lost too much weight in too little time. Bottom line, health coverage should not be a profit driven industry.

  13. ClaireNo Gravatar says:

    We recently had to switch to individual insurance. My husbands premiums are twice the amount he SHOULD be paying because of his BMI. He is build like a tank. I tried to talk to the insurance guy about using more accurate fat ratios – because the weight they SAY he should be …would mean he was on the verge of death from starvation. Really. Nope- they dont allow any other more accurate measurements of fat. Sorry. That just makes me MAD! It is so unfair. Muscle weighs more than fat. It is called science. Get some! Thanks for letting me blow off steam! 🙂

  14. ScottNo Gravatar says:

    We can probably get insurance, but it tremendously more expensive if there are health issues, including obesity. It’s all about the numbers.

  15. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks to the Pre Existing Condition Insurance Plan from the goverment, everyone can get health insurance now.

  16. David GreccoNo Gravatar says:

    Found this great site while googling “insurance for overweight applicants”. Just got denied by UHC Golden Rule. Their reason, “the combination of height, weight, and high blood pressure”. What then, is the point of health insurance if you have to be healthy to be accepted?

    Just frustrated like many and venting a bit.

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