A diagnosis of osteoporosis often results in dramatic lifestyle changes you weren’t planning on. Managing your condition requires you take many preventative measures every day. It can be a daunting task.
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.
We have those answers.
Although osteoporosis is a debilitating disease, many people who suffer from it are able to obtain life insurance. Working with an experienced life insurance agent can make the process easier. We work with many different life insurance companies, and can help you find the one who will serve you best, no matter your health risks.
What to Know About Life Insurance and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones. 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.
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. It is considered a degenerative condition.
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 more than 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.
Many people do not know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone. 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.
The Application Process for Life Insurance Coverage
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 has caused your osteoporosis. If you had or have a 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.
Ratings You Could 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 with 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 their bone scans show continued loss of bone mass, they have had a fall or broken bone in the last year, or if they have not instituted important lifestyle changes to slow the progression of their 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.
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.
But, we can help. Let us do the work for you.
We can help you determine the right life insurance company to which you should apply, and together we can review your policy options. Our experience and knowledge of life insurance requirements will work to your benefit, resulting in coverage you’ll be pleased with.