If you have COPD or any other lung disease, insurance companies will put you in one of three categories: graded (also called modified), standard, or preferred. Graded plans have a two year waiting period for full coverage, and they are usually the most expensive. Unlike graded plans, standard and preferred offer immediate full coverage (no waiting period). The only difference between standard and preferred is the rate you pay, with standard being more expensive.
The category you fall under depends on three criteria: the insurance company, the type of lung disease, and the frequency of symptoms. As you probably know, different insurance companies have different appetites for risk. Some insurance companies try to put everyone with more than seasonal symptoms into a graded/modified plan. Conversely, some companies are fine giving preferred rates for chronic asthma. The type of lung disease matters to insurance companies because some types pose a greater risk to life. No company will give a preferred rate for COPD. A standard rate is the best you can hope for with that disease. As a general rule, you should expect a graded/modified plan whenever supplemental oxygen is used (some companies make an exception when oxygen is used for sleep apnea). The last criteria is frequency of symptoms. Inhalers are a good example. Inhalers used for yearlong symptoms will sometimes give you a less favorable underwriting decision than inhalers used for seasonal allergies. If you live in Houston or surrounding cities, you can get one of the Houston life insurance plans that cover COPD and other lung diseases.