Gastric bypass is a godsend for those struggling with morbid obesity. Those unable to lose weight through diet and exercise can greatly benefit from this procedure.
Yet many people don’t stop to consider the effect gastric bypass surgery will have on their life insurance. Because obesity is considered an adverse health condition by insurance underwriters, gastric bypass patients sometimes have more difficulty finding affordable ratings.
That’s where we’re here to help. We work closely with the top insurance companies to help you find the best life insurance after a gastric bypass or other kind of weight loss surgery.
Finding Life Insurance After A Gastric Bypass Or Weight Loss Surgery
Just over 68% of American adults are overweight or obese.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, roughly 35% of American adults are obese. They go on to state around 6% are considered morbidly obese.
Dozens of factors contribute to this “obesity epidemic.” The American Heart Association lists the top causes of obesity as:
- Family history of obesity
- Poor eating habits
- Lifestyle choices
- Low income
- Overall attitude and mental state
Children, in particular, are at a high risk for obesity. Poor eating habits and an unhealthy lifestyle in their early years are difficult to make amends to when they become adults.
Obesity directly contributes to a number of serious health conditions (the same ones concern life insurance companies). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute lists the top health problems caused by obesity as:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Fatty Liver Disease (nonalcoholic)
- Cancer (especially breast, colon, kidney, and endometrial)
The first line treatment for obesity is changes to eating habits and lifestyle. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the key to maintaining a healthy weight. Prescription weight loss medications are another option.
Yet sometimes the weight still won’t come off. Your doctor might recommend gastric bypass if this is the case for you.
According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, over 175,000 Americans receive bariatric surgery, including gastric bypass, each year. The long-term results show the majority of patients are able to keep the weight off.
Gastric bypass surgery consists of two main steps. The first actually makes the stomach smaller with a stapling technique. It’s separated into two sections, a smaller section where food will go and a larger section which is separated from the food supply.
The second step is to connect the small section to your small intestine. This allows food to travel from your stomach to your intestines with ease.
The procedure changes the way your body handles food. Your stomach is smaller so it takes less food to fill. The surgery also changes the way calories are processed by your body.
The procedure isn’t without its risks. The risks of gastric bypass include:
- Allergic reaction to medications
- Bleeding, blood clots, blood infections
- Injury to stomach, intestines, other organs
- Leaking between stomach separation
- Scarring inside stomach
Be sure to work with an insurance company experienced in offering life insurance for a gastric bypass. Their underwriters will understand the risks and facts associated with the surgery.
We understand your concerns about looking for life insurance as a gastric bypass surgery patient. We’ll work closely with you to find the best policy available.
Proper Application Process
The fact is life insurance companies hesitate to take on high risk clients. Those struggling with health conditions, like obesity, pose a risk to these companies.
It’s particularly difficult to qualify for a good policy if you’re overweight. Insurance companies look at obesity as a major contributor to other serious health problems. Even when you lose weight, a percentage is added back on in the first year or two to account for relapses in diet or exercise.
Most insurance underwriters calculate your BMI (body mass index) and compare it to a chart organized by risk. If your BMI falls into a high risk zone, you’re automatically knocked into a lower life insurance classification.
Getting gastric bypass surgery doesn’t do much to help. Though your weight and BMI might be lower, underwriters tend to look at your weight/BMI over time. They want to ensure your current weight hasn’t fluctuated more than 10 pounds in the past year or two. It’s all about stability and consistency.
They want to see a lifestyle change, period.
Keep these factors in mind when talking to a life insurance agent. Other information you can expect to be asked about includes:
Overall Health – Do you have any other health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes?
Diet and Exercise – Underwriters want to make sure you’re eating well, exercising regularly, and taking other steps to improve your overall health.
Date of Procedure – How long ago did the procedure take place?
Complications – Let the insurance agent know about any health complications related to your surgery and the steps you’ve taken to resolve them.
Medications – Provide a list of the medications you’re taking related to the surgery as well as any other health problems.
Pre-Operative Weight – List the weight before your gastric bypass surgery.
Weight Loss History – Provide a detailed history of the different stages of your weight loss after the surgery and what you’ve done to achieve these.
Weight Stability – Of utmost importance is how well you’ve kept the weight off post-surgery. Provide a detailed account of your weight stability.
Common Results You Might Expect
Underwriting for gastric bypass is complicated. There are a lot of variables so the results are all over the board.
Most new patients will receive a Sub-Standard rating. The insurance company considers recent patients high risk. Your policy will likely have a higher premium and special restrictions.
If it’s been several years and you were successful in keeping the weight off, Standard may be more likely, barring no other complications or health concerns.
Fortunately, most companies let you reapply for new ratings every few years. The longer you maintain a healthy weight and prove good overall health, the better the chance you’ll receive a better rating with a lower premium.
Contact us with any questions you may have, or to start the process of finding what’s available for you.