Between 55% and 65% of people due to retire may have conditions that qualify them for enhanced or impaired life annuities, research from Just Retirement says.
Over 1,500 conditions count towards enhanced annuity qualification. Alcohol consumption and obesity levels are surprisingly high in the over 55 age group, and high blood pressure, when taken together with other lifestyle or medical conditions, can significantly increase annuity enhancement, according to the research.
According to the survey, 56% of people aged between 65 and 74 report a long-standing illness and 33% report a limiting long-standing illness.
"The General Lifestyle Survey for those reporting a long-standing illness suggests that there are many people around the age of retirement who should be able to increase their income simply by completing a medical questionnaire and shopping around in the annuity market," says Nigel Barlow, head of research at Just Retirement.
"The sophistication of underwriting by enhanced annuity providers has improved dramatically over the past six or seven years to take into account more combinations and lower levels of conditions. Many of these people might now qualify if only they knew about it."
He adds: "While the smoker annuity is well known, many may still not be aware of the effect that high alcohol consumption, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can have on them."
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