Sarcoidosis can greatly affect your life insurance rates, depending upon a number of factors. This inflammatory disease can even affect your eligibility for traditional coverage.
That’s why it’s so important to look at the relationship between sarcoidosis and life insurance before starting the application process.
A thorough understanding of how the disease affects your coverage rating increases your chances of finding the lowest rates.
Here’s what you need to know about finding the best policy with sarcoidosis.
Table of Contents
It’s estimated sarcoidosis affects roughly 1 in every 10,000 people in the United States. Around 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, sarcoidosis is a disease leading to inflammation, usually of the lungs, skin, or lymph nodes. Tiny groups of inflammatory cells, known as granulomas, grow in these areas, causing a variety of symptoms.
The organization lists the most common symptoms of sarcoidosis as:
- Shortness of Breath
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Blurred Vision
- Skin Rash
- Night Sweats
Many people with sarcoidosis don’t experience any symptoms at all. The symptoms you experience depend on the specific organs affected.
Though anyone can develop sarcoidosis, it’s most prevalent in those between the ages of 20 and 50. Women and those of African and Northern European descent are also at a greater risk.
There’s no cure for sarcoidosis, but a number of effective treatments can help manage the disease. The most common is a mixture of steroids and immunosuppressive medications. In many cases, the disease and its symptoms clear up on their own.
The effectiveness of sarcoidosis treatments, and the fact the disease often disappears by itself, means it doesn’t seriously affect your life insurance eligibility, except in the most severe cases.
Your life insurance application is reviewed by an underwriter at each company you apply to. The job of the underwriter is to assess the risk of each applicant.
In addition to your application, you must take a medical exam. The underwriter uses the application and exam to judge your life expectancy.
Life insurance companies are hesitant to extend coverage to those with medical conditions which could lower their life expectancy. Those who are labeled high risk often have to pay higher rates or are denied altogether.
So how does an underwriter view sarcoidosis? The main factors they’ll look at in your application include:
- Overall Health: those with few or no other health problems will receive the highest rates.
- Diet and Exercise: poor diet and lack of exercise statistically lead to a lower life expectancy. If you eat well and exercise regularly, you’ll likely receive better rates, despite your sarcoidosis.
- Lifestyle: smoking and drinking are two lifestyle factors all life insurance underwriters look at.You’ll likely pay two to three times the normal rate if you smoke. Drinking more than average will also likely net you a higher overall rate.
- Date of Diagnosis: the length of time since your diagnosis will also affect your rates. An early diagnosis often makes treatments much more successful.
- Condition History: giving a detailed account of your history with sarcoidosis, including the symptoms you’ve experienced, their frequency, and their severity will be required. It’s important to list the specific organs which are/were affected and whether your diagnosis is initial or recurring.
- Treatments: you’ll need to list the medications or other treatments you’ve used to manage your sarcoidosis, whether or not the condition is under control, and if you still have symptoms.
- Diagnostic Testing: regular diagnostic testing is essential for those with an initial sarcoidosis diagnosis. Even if the symptoms have disappeared, regular doctor visits can help nip a flare-up in the bud.
Every life insurance company judges these factors differently. Life insurance underwriters highly value those who are proactive about managing their sarcoidosis.
Sarcoidosis is almost never a serious medical condition, and it usually goes away on its own. When treatment is needed, it’s minimal and consists only of taking a handful of medications as prescribed.
Because of its treatability, most life insurance companies consider those with sarcoidosis low risk. You’ll almost always qualify for traditional coverage of some type.
If you have no other health problems, you have a very good chance of qualifying for a Preferred rating. You must show your sarcoidosis symptoms went away on their own or with minimal treatment. You must also lead a healthy lifestyle (good diet, regular exercise, no smoking).
The bulk of those applying for life insurance with sarcoidosis will receive a Standard rating. This is given to those who have their sarcoidosis symptoms under control but still have symptoms of granuloma.
Patients with more severe symptoms, or complications arising from sarcoidosis, will be given a Sub-Standard rating. This is also the rating you’ll likely receive if your sarcoidosis is under control but you have another health problem.
It’s quite rare to be declined traditional coverage for sarcoidosis. You generally must have serious complications to be denied coverage altogether.
Those denied traditional coverage still have options. Life insurance alternatives, like a graded death benefit policy, are a good choice for many people.
The key to finding the best life insurance with sarcoidosis, or any other health condition, is to work with an independent life insurance agent.
They work directly with the top-rated life insurance companies in the country, and know exactly which ones have a history of insuring those with sarcoidosis.
Working with an independent agent will help you find the best coverage, at the lowest premium, in the shortest amount of time possible.