Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition in which the airways suddenly and unexpectedly constrict, causing coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and a tightening of the chest. It is typically managed with a combination of long-term control medicine to reduce airway inflammation and short-term rescue inhalers to relieve sudden flare-ups.
"Asthma is one of those very common conditions; certainly 4-year-olds can have asthma," says Goldstein. "There are asthma deaths, but for individuals who are under good medical care, that would be a rare circumstance."
An underwriter's concern about asthma would likely rise in relation to the severity of the condition and how well it is managed. "Although we hardly ever see this, if someone who has asthma is ending up in the hospital several times a year, that would be a less favorable risk," she says.
Should an asthma sufferer aspire to a premium rate class? Absolutely, says Goldstein.
"An individual who has well-controlled asthma could well be a preferred underwriting risk. For the most part, asthma will be extremely favorably underwritten," she says.