It’s not always easy to qualify for life insurance coverage; health conditions like diabetes become extra hurdles you’ll need to jump over in order to get approved.
This can be the case if you have a health issue like Type 2 diabetes. When a life insurance underwriter looks at certain risk factors, having Type 2 diabetes could potentially signal to the insurer you pose a higher risk of claim.
Life Insurance For Type 2 Diabetics Is Still Affordable
In the United States alone each year, there are roughly 1.4 million individuals who are diagnosed with diabetes overall. In addition to simply being a common health condition, diabetes is also the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. For this reason alone, it’s a major concern for life insurance companies.
The majority of people who have diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, not Type 1, and a small percentage develop from gestational diabetes, which is underwritten differently than both. Individuals who have Type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar, which is primarily due to a lack of insulin. When a person has Type 2 diabetes, it means their body is not using insulin properly, a condition known as insulin resistance.
High blood sugar means a person is hyperglycemic; this is a contrast to people who have high amounts of insulin, who become hypoglycemic.
In its initial stages, the pancreas will make additional insulin in order to “make up” for this deficiency. However, after a period of time has elapsed, the pancreas simply isn’t able to keep up, and in turn, it is not able to produce the insulin needed for keeping the body’s blood glucose at a normal level.
While there are ways to treat and control Type 2 diabetes through diet, exercise, and medication, there is no cure. And, if it is not properly managed or controlled, it can lead to much more serious health related issues, including kidney disease, heart attack, or stroke.
When someone applies for life insurance and has Type 2 diabetes, the insurance company underwriters will want to review their information carefully in order to ensure the insurance carrier will not be taking on an excessive amount of risk, both now, and in the future.
Information You Need To Provide
Anyone who applies for a life insurance policy will be required to complete an application for coverage.
Here, the insurance company will ask for information regarding your age, gender, contact information, height and weight, history of tobacco use, health history, family health history, occupations and hobbies, and other life insurance in force. This simply gives them a base to start with.
However, due to having Type 2 diabetes, the life insurance company will also want to know more about you and the way in which you are controlling or managing your health. You will also be asked some or all of the following questions:
- When were you first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes?
- How are you presently controlling or managing your diabetes (diet, exercise, or medication)?
- What is your average blood glucose reading?
- What is your current A1C level?
- Do you take any medication for your Type 2 diabetes condition?
-GLP-1 receptor agonists
-Insulin (like Humalog, or Pramlintide)
- Is so, what is the dosage(s)?
- How often do you see your physician due to your Type 2 diabetes?
- Have you ever been hospitalized due to your Type 2 diabetes?
- Have you had complications due to your diabetes, such as kidney issues, neuropathy, or retinopathy?
- Do you have any other health issues? Are any a direct result of your Type 2 diabetes?
It will also be mandatory for the insurance underwriters to review your medical records. These will need to be obtained from your primary care physician, any specialist you see for your Type 2 diabetes, and from any other center you’ve visited prior.
A great way to speed up this process is by letting your care provider know so they can process the APS (Attending Physician’s Statement) quicker.
Also, you will need to take a medical examination as a part of the underwriting procedure in almost all cases. This will entail meeting with a medical professional who will obtain from you a blood and urine sample, your average blood pressure reading over three tries, and your height and weight. They may also request to see your medication, to double check prescriptions and doses. In some cases, an EKG could also be warranted.
When all of your information has been compiled by the life insurance company, the underwriters will then be able to make a more educated decision as to your coverage risk rating, as well as premium rate.
Possible Expected Outcomes
There are three main factors which will ultimately drive your final approval rating:
- Diabetic Maintenance
- A1C Level
- Time From Diagnosis
The first, diabetic maintenance, refers to how stable you have been over a period of time. Stable refers to not having any major spikes or dips in your weight, blood levels, and medication. While the weight and blood levels are somewhat self explanatory, stability in medication refers to not having to A.) change medications, B.) change dosage, or C.) step up to direct insulin from prescription only.
When looking at life insurance ratings as they correlate to A1C counts, lower is better. While it’s not the only factor in getting the best rates, it is an instant knock out for discounted or Standard rates if it’s too high.
Finally, time from diagnosis is an often missed opportunity for many applicants. In a word, more is better. The longer time frame since the date you were diagnosed, the better. It effectively shows a carrier a better history of stability, whereas not enough time shows risk where the body has yet to acclimate to diet, exercise or medication.
Here are some possible ratings, based on these factors, assuming the rest of the applicants health is good:
There have been recent cases of Standard Plus approvals for someone with Type 2 diabetes, but the person will need to have a virtually impeccably clean slate. Proper height and weight are a must, A1C will need to be under 6, and the person needs to be more than 5 years removed from their original date of diagnosis. Diet, exercise, and extremely stable medication use and dosage is a must.
A small percentage of applicants achieve this rating.
Most controlled cases of diabetes from healthy applicants will fall into this category, assuming they meet the proper height and weight, or BMI, and A1C is 7 or under. Several years of stability through medical records are a must, and evidence of routine exercise and healthy diet are key indicators. Standard is not likely for anyone less than 3 years from the date of diagnosis, though it’s not impossible.
Standard Table 2
The first Sub-Standard rating, a Table 2 means the cost increase is +50% of the base premium. Those who apply with A1C levels of 7.5 or greater will most likely fall into this risk class, which is the same for those needing insulin to control their diabetes. Insulin dependent applicants will not receive any better than this category of risk. Slight fluctuation in weight and medication are allowed outside of the most recent years, but it is assumed there are not hospitalizations or complications.
Standard Table 4 or Below
Anyone who does not meet the criteria above will see Standard Table 4, all the way down to declines. High A1C levels, not enough time removed from the date of diagnosis, or uncontrolled diabetes are all causes. If you have diabetes and are obese, this is your best possible risk class, even with controlled diabetes.
Special Cases: Prediabetics
If you are only considered a pre-diabetic at this time, you may be able to get a little special consideration. However, as mentioned above, you will need some level of maintenance to be able to get an offer.
If you are very recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic, you’ll get postponed. There are no exceptions to this, because the underwriters simply won’t be able to tell if your condition is worsening.
Finally, if you’ve been working to lower your dependence on medication, and you’ve been able to successfully reduce your intake, this is a positive marker.
Let your agent and underwriter know of any improvements, even if your A1C is still in pre-diabetic range.
While Type 2 diabetes is a health concern for many Americans today, it also should not prevent you from finding and securing the life insurance coverage you require in order to protect the ones you care about. The key is to apply with the right insurer for you.
We can help you find the right carrier for your particular situation.
We can help you to find the right policy for your specific needs, even if you may have been turned down for life insurance coverage in the past. We even have options for no exam life insurance if you’re otherwise healthy and are controlling your diabetes well.
If you’re ready to take the next step, just simply fill out the form on the sidebar now so you can move forward.