If you have a history of pancreatitis, you already know the illness can take a toll on your lifestyle. The pain and related medical conditions you experience can cause both mental and physical stress.
If you’re considering applying for life insurance coverage, you might be wondering if you can get life insurance with pancreatitis. It is true your illness makes you a higher risk to a life insurance company.
Thankfully, there are some life insurance companies who will consider you for coverage. We are experienced agents who know which companies to work with, and how you should prepare for your application. We can help you to find an affordable policy to put your mind at ease.
Getting Cheaper Life Insurance with Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is caused by an inflammation of the pancreas, which is a long, flat gland located in the abdomen. The pancreas produces and releases both digestive enzymes and hormones. The most important hormone created by the pancreas is insulin, which regulates glucose to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
This is a major function in the body, which is why it impacts life insurance rates so drastically.
There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis is a sudden onset of inflammation of the pancreas, while chronic pancreatitis is a long-term degeneration of the pancreas. According to the Cleveland Clinic, chronic pancreatitis causes over 122,000 outpatient cases each year, and more than 56,000 hospitalizations.
Symptoms of acute pancreatitis often include:
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Abdominal pain radiating through to the back
- Abdominal pain occurring after eating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tenderness from touching the abdomen
Common symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are:
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abnormal stools
Acute pancreatitis may last for a few days, and then go away without any treatment. Recurring attacks of acute pancreatitis can cause damage to the pancreas leading to chronic pancreatitis, which can last for years. Scar tissue forming on the pancreas can make the gland function improperly, which often results in digestive problems and diabetes.
Both acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis may be caused by the following:
- Abdominal Injury and/or Surgery
- The Use of Certain Medications
- Cigarette Smoking
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Family History of Pancreatitis
- High Calcium Levels in the Blood
- High Triglyceride Levels in the Blood
- Pancreatic Cancer
The pancreas is located in an area of the abdomen which is hard to see or reach, even with modern medical technology. This makes it difficult to diagnose and treat pancreatitis. Diagnosis for pancreatitis is usually accomplished through the following procedures:
- Blood Tests
- Stool Analysis
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Scans
- Abdominal Ultrasounds
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
The complications related to pancreatitis, especially chronic pancreatitis, can be life-threatening, which may cause life insurance companies to consider an individual a high risk. Complications from pancreatitis include:
- Cysts and Infections Which May Require Surgery
- Breathing Problems
- Kidney Failure
- Pancreatic Cancer
It is important to stay on top of your condition when you have pancreatitis. Work with your doctor and be diligent about your treatment and medications you should be taking. This will show a life insurance company you are making your health a priority.
What to Expect When You Apply
Pancreatitis affects everyone differently, so no two individuals will be assessed the same way by a life insurance underwriter. When you submit your life insurance application, you can expect to be asked for the following information:
- When was your first attack?
- How many attacks have you experienced?
- What was the diagnosed cause of your pancreatitis?
- What treatment did you receive/are you receiving?
- Have you had any surgeries related to your pancreatitis?
- How often do you see your doctor?
- Do you have a family history of pancreatitis?
The underwriter will probably want to see your medical records and review any test results related to your pancreatitis.
If you have chronic pancreatitis, the life insurance company may require additional tests beyond the standard medical exam in order to determine the severity of your case, and whether or not alcohol or tobacco are contributing factors to your illness.
Best Possible Results
If you have suffered only one or two acute pancreatitis attacks which were not caused by a serious or chronic illness, and they were successfully treated, you can expect to receive the best health class ratings. This assumes you are in overall generally good health and you are not a smoker. Your life insurance premiums will be the least expensive of any possible rating.
If you have suffered multiple acute attacks, and they have occurred recently, it may be best (or required) for you to delay your life insurance application until a certain amount of time has passed without an attack. Some companies require you to be asymptomatic for at least one year.
Once you have cleared this time frame, you can expect to receive a Standard health class rating. You will pay base premiums which could decrease if you do not have any more pancreatitis attacks.
Individuals with chronic pancreatitis will not be assessed so much on the severity or frequency of symptoms and attacks, but more on the underlying health condition which is causing their pancreatitis. Health class ratings depend on whether the cause is genetic, due to overuse of alcohol, or due to more serious health conditions.
It is likely chronic pancreatitis sufferers will receive a Sub-Standard rating with high premiums. You could even be declined if not enough information is supplied.
How to Proceed
Although it is hard to diagnose, pancreatitis is a treatable condition affecting everyone in different ways. Individuals who have suffered from acute pancreatitis stand a good chance of receiving good life insurance coverage which is affordable.
If you have unexplained causes for your pancreatitis attacks, or you have chronic pancreatitis, you likely still qualify for coverage. It is important you work with an experienced life insurance agent to assess your condition and your options.
You can count on our experience and professionalism to help you find a life insurance policy which will cover your pancreatitis. Contact us today to discuss your options and get help preparing for your application.