Stomach pain and ulcers are common; so common, in fact, you might not think much about it except for when it gives you pain. But, just how important is it to mention in the life insurance application process?
These are the questions we can help you answer.
Getting life insurance with ulcers is a relatively simple matter as ulcers carry a low risk factor by themselves. It is still important to mention during the initial insurance interview, however, because in a small amount of cases, ulcers could be well on their way to a perforated stomach, and, even more rare, cancer.
Many consumers seeking life insurance don’t take into account something as seemingly inconsequential as an ulcer and how its affects their premiums. The fact is, different insurance companies have different limitations. This is why we’re here to help.
The Simple Truth About Life Insurance With Ulcers
Ulcers are in the top ten of the most commonplace medical complaints, next to back pain, migraines and a bad cough.
Statistically, one in ten people have a peptic ulcer, and it doesn’t seem to favor genders, but rather ages. And, the amount of money spent on over the counter remedies and prescriptions is shocking. In fact, worldwide, $10 billion is spent yearly on antacids, some $2 billion in the U.S. alone.
Yet stomach ulcers are some of the most under reported ailments on life insurance applications. It isn’t as though people are withholding the information from the insurance carrier, they just aren’t aware it should be noted at time of application.
For the record, there are two different classifications for ulcers – -peptic and gastric. What they are depends on several factors discussed below. Both would be of interest to your insurer.
A peptic ulcer is the more common of the two. These can occur in the stomach as well as the duodenum, has a gnawing pain usually two to three hours after a meal and is relieved by eating food. Your sleep might be interrupted due to the pain as well. This type most commonly happens from age 25 to 50.
With a gastric ulcer, the pain happens within thirty minutes to an hour of eating and is relieved by vomiting. Because you don’t want to eat, weight loss is a byproduct. Sufferers of gastric ulcers are typically over age 50. Obviously, this kind of ulcer would be of interest to your carrier.
The following things are found to cause an ulcer:
- H. Pylori bacterial infection
- Certain pain medications; NSAIDs like ibuprophen or naproxen
- Excess stomach acid in the case of a gastric ulcer
- Stress has been correlated with ulcers though one can’t say it causes them
In any case, an ulcer starts when the stomach lining thins and the bacteria or medication gets through the protective mucus coating.
This irritates it, starting a tiny sore. Unless the cause of the ulcer goes away, the sore spot in the stomach opens itself up for being further irritated by the stomach acids. Which ultimately leads to the sharp, gnawing pain of an ulcer, as well as bleeding and other complications.
Because it’s painful, it can feel debilitating, and the severity is what the focus is on when you apply for coverage.
The Application Process
It’s actually quite simple. In most cases, a diagnosis of peptic or gastric ulcers will be a minor note in your records. But, it depends on several things, such as the following, which may sway an underwriters rating. Be ready to answer questions like:
- What is the date of your original diagnosis?
- What is your ulcer’s current state? (getting better, the same or worsening)
- Are they controlled with medication and which medications are you using?
- Is there bleeding; are your stools black?
- Have you had any medical procedures done to investigate the cause and location of the ulcer?
Of course the underwriter will find many of the answers to those questions in the medical history from your physician’s notes, too.
Once the underwriter has gathered your personal data, they will assign a point value to each item, adding up a score of your various risk factors. Obviously, a 45-year old male with heart disease and a chronic bleeding ulcer will have higher overall risk score and expect to pay more than a 30-year old male with a peptic ulcer which is under control.
If you are healthy overall, having an ulcer is going to have little impact on your policy.
Overall, none of this necessarily puts you at major risk, considering the ulcers alone. But since we want to get you the best policy, it is worth bringing up in your interview as individual insurance carriers have differing qualifications when you begin to look at multiple health conditions together.
Can Ulcers Ever Be Dangerous Or Life Threatening?
In most cases, stomach ulcers are more of a painful nuisance than a concern when it comes to getting approved for an insurance policy. However, what might be thought of as a common stomach ulcer might, in fact, be something more serious.
While it is very rare, one particular disease which mimics peptic ulcer is what’s known as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. The leading feature of ZES is a tumor which seeps acid, which, in turn, causes peptic ulcers. Though it is not always the case, these tumors can become cancerous.
These are the types of instances the insurance carriers are looking out for. Chances are, you won’t need to worry about these cases.
How to Proceed
Take the time now to get in contact with us so we can evaluate your medical condition.
The life insurance industry is driven by competition, like any other industry. Since we work with many different carriers, let us wade through all this for you. We’re confident we can get the best policy for your personal needs and as well as lowest premiums.