If you’re considering applying for life insurance and osteoporosis is something you’ve previously been diagnosed with, you might be concerned your application could be declined.
You may be wondering how your condition will be assessed by life insurance underwriters, and if you’ll be offered an affordable policy.
Although osteoporosis is a debilitating disease, many people who suffer from it are able to obtain life insurance.
Keep reading to find out everything you’ll need to know to apply for life insurance with osteoporosis and get the best possible outcome.
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What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease of the bones, meaning it gets worse as it progresses. It can result in losing bone density, making too little bone, or both.
As bones weaken, individuals with osteoporosis become susceptible to broken bones from even the most minor bumps or falls. Many people do not know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone.
Osteoporosis is more than just the average loss of bone density older people experience. It is a more extreme and rapid amount of loss which can drastically impede mobility.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass (which increases the risk of developing osteoporosis). The disease affects women about twice as often as men, and is most common in people over the age of 50.
Bone loss can be caused by numerous other health conditions.
Some of the known causes of osteoporosis include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Celiac Disease
- Breast and Prostate Cancer
- Leukemia and Lymphoma
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Liver Disease
- Poor diet
- Premature menopause
Medicines people take for other illnesses, especially when taken in high doses over a prolonged period of time, can also cause bone loss. Steroid drugs, in particular, can lead to osteoporosis.
If you must take medication for a health condition, be sure to discuss the side effects of the drug with your doctor, and create a plan which can offset the potential of developing osteoporosis.
Heredity also plays a large part in your risk for osteoporosis. If your parents or siblings have a history of multiple broken bones or osteoporosis, your chances of developing this disease are high.
Some ethnicities are also more susceptible to osteoporosis, as they are often lactose intolerant and therefore consume less calcium. These ethnicities include African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.
Two common symptoms of osteoporosis are loss of height and a spinal curvature of the upper back.
If you have osteoporosis or low bone mass, you can slow the process of bone loss by doing the following:
- Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements
- Quitting smoking (if applicable)
- Eating more fruits and vegetables
- Losing weight
- Exercising, especially weight-training
- Reducing your consumption of alcohol and caffeine
These same steps can be taken by anyone who wants to prevent the development of osteoporosis as they age.
Leading this type of healthy lifestyle can help you to be approved for life insurance coverage.
What Is the Application Process Like?
When you apply for life insurance with osteoporosis, the underwriter will want to know the following things about your condition:
- The date you were first diagnosed
- The medications you are taking or treatments received
- Whether or not you have fractured a bone in the last 6-12 months
- The results of your last bone scan or density test
- How often you see your doctor
- Detailed information about lifestyle changes you have made since your diagnosis
The underwriter will likely request your medical records or contact your doctor to confirm this information, and also to find out how your height has changed over the years since your diagnosis.
They will also want to know if you have chronic pain from osteoporosis.
Underwriters need information about what may have caused your osteoporosis. If you had or have another serious medical condition, this condition will certainly be taken into account, in addition to your bone disease.
You will need to disclose any and all other health conditions and medications, even if they are not related to your osteoporosis.
What Kind of Rate Can You Expect?
If you have osteoporosis which is being monitored and controlled by you and your doctor, have not had a broken bone in several years, and experience minimal pain, you can expect a life insurance company to assign you a Standard health class rating.
Assuming you have no other major health conditions, and you don’t smoke, you will pay base premiums.
If you are controlling your condition but experience moderate pain and have had a fall or broken bone within the last few years, you may still receive a Standard rating, though it will be more difficult and may see premiums which are slightly more expensive.
Your premium will be determined based on your specific condition at the time of application.
People with moderate pain could also receive a Mild Sub-Standard rating.
This is more common if your bone scans show continued loss of bone mass, you have had a fall or broken bone in the last year, or if you have not instituted important lifestyle changes to slow the progression of the disease.
A life insurance company will decline an applicant if the individual has chronic pain and their condition has shown signs of constant progression over the years.
A decline is also possible due to other existing health conditions contributing to osteoporosis, or if the person is overweight, which puts strain on already brittle bones.
How to Get the Best Coverage with Osteoporosis
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your chances of being approved for life insurance are probably still good.
Because the disease affects everyone differently, however, it is impossible to determine your exact rating or costs without applying.
A qualified independent insurance agent can help you determine the right life insurance company to apply to and can review your policy options with you.
Their experience and knowledge of life insurance requirements will work to your benefit, resulting in coverage you’ll be pleased with.