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If you have diabetes and you’ve found nothing but roadblocks when you’ve attempted to purchase affordable life insurance, don’t give up – just get smart. Regardless if your diabetes is type 1 or type 2, there are many companies out there who are willing to issue you a policy at affordable rates. You can buy life insurance with diabetes.
When you eat, your body converts the food into glucose which is the fuel supply that your body uses for energy. Insulin is an important hormone that your body produces in order to convert the glucose (sugar) into a form of energy that it can actually use.
When you are diabetic, your body is unable to produce insulin, or the insulin that it does produce is not being used effectively, thus causing sugar to build up in the blood. It’s as if the insulin is floating around in your body instead of going into your cells.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and 25 percent of them don’t know they have it. Another 86 million people have pre-diabetes, which is when the blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Unless these people with pre-diabetes begin a weight loss program and moderate exercise, 15 to 30 percent of them will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
The percentage of applications we have received from individuals with Type 2 Diabetes has increased significantly over the past few years. At first, we assumed that more people with this disease are applying for life insurance than they had previously. However, upon further study and investigation, we learned that this disease has reached epidemic proportions in this country.
More than eight percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 25% of these people have not received formal diagnoses and another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Spending associated with diabetes is approximately $245 billion annually.
The U.N. Response
Last year, the United Nations, in an effort to slow the growth of this epidemic, adopted a declaration addressing the economic and social burdens of this chronic disease. To highlight how serious this epidemic has become worldwide, it’s important to note that the only other time the U.N. has drawn attention to a health crisis was when the spread of AIDS turned into a global epidemic.
It’s About Diet and Exercise (or lack of it)
Unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, aside from genetic predisposition, are the main culprits here. According to Dr. Deneen Vojta, Executive VP and Chief Clinical Officer of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (sponsored by the United Health Group), says, “One study showed that people in the U.S. today have access to 1,000 more calories per day than they did in 1975. We don’t eat all those calories, but we eat a lot of them. The flip side is that our day-to-day activity is much lower. The ins-food-and the outs-activity-are unmatched.”
Reports regarding individuals who have brought this Type 2 Diabetes under control have done so with lifestyle changes, primarily with diet and exercise. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people, as diet and exercise are often recommended to get other health issues under control, notably blood pressure and high cholesterol. Research shows that, with moderate exercise and a five percent drop in body weight, people with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Certainly, the skyrocketing healthcare costs associated with this disease have prompted health insurance companies to take a proactive stance. Many, including the United Health Group (UHG)., have created programs to work with those with diabetes and those who are pre-diabetic to make lifestyle changes that help to lessen the effects of the disease. UHG, for example, has a year-long coaching program, followed by monthly maintenance sessions, that help people make these lifestyle changes. There’s no charge for the program, as UHG knows very well that this program helps to lower healthcare costs for those with this disease.
Regarding life insurance for those with diabetes type 2, the good news is that underwriters pay close attention to how well the applicant is controlling the disease, particularly with lifestyle changes and often reward these folks with lower rates than those who don’t apply these lifestyle changes.
When you are shopping for life insurance with diabetes, it’s important that you contact an experienced independent insurance agent who has been successful in placing high-risk cases. Insurance companies have a tendency to view diabetes differently and depending on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s important that you apply with a company that has a history of liberal underwriting guidelines. Many life insurers are willing to offer standard rates if you appear to be managing your glucose levels while some may decline because of this condition altogether.
A life insurer will base your life insurance rates on many factors during the underwriting process. The cost of insurance for a diabetic will generally be higher than another person who does not have diabetes. When you have diabetes, your premium will be based on the following factors:
Your Age Your Gender Current Marital Status Income and Occupation Your Overall Health History Your Family’s Health History Date of First Diagnosis Any Additional Health Issues Your Type of Diabetes Your Blood Sugar/Glucose Levels Your A1C Level Current Prescribed Medications
It’s very important that people who are looking for affordable life insurance when they have diabetes, look for an experienced independent agent who has demonstrated success in placing high-risk cases. Typically, an agent who specializes in high-risk life insurance cases will represent all of the major life insurers who have a reputation for finding a way to insure an applicant with diabetes at very affordable rates. In fact, many experienced agents will be able to give you a legitimate quote after interviewing you about your condition.
Agents who are willing to take on high-risk cases (not all of them do) are willing to invest the time and effort to walk their client through the underwriting process and address and eliminate any roadblocks along the way. Since your agent does not get paid a commission from the insurance company until your policy is issued, they will do everything in their power to advocate for your policy getting issued. In cases where there appears to be a decline, your agent will have alternative products, such as guaranteed issue life insurance for you to consider.
Not every applicant that has diabetes will be offered coverage. Typically, those applicants that demonstrate they are not trying to manage their diabetes and who appear not to be serious about their doctor’s recommendations will likely be declined coverage. But, all is not lost. Your agent is likely to offer you a guaranteed issue policy that can be issued regardless of you having type 1 or type 2 diabetes
Although priced higher than traditional life insurance, a guaranteed issue policy allows those applicants who have been previously declined coverage to get a policy in place quickly as long as they are willing to accept the following:
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