Life Insurance for Diabetics

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

If you are a diabetic, it is important to understand the implications of life insurance. Diabetics often face higher premiums and may be denied coverage altogether. However, there are ways to get life insurance as a diabetic. In this guide, we will discuss the ins and outs of diabetic life insurance!

Can someone with diabetes get life insurance coverage?

Yes, many applicants with diabetes can qualify for life insurance. People with well-managed conditions and who are generally healthy can find affordable life insurance.

If you have a chronic condition, like diabetes, it is even more important to protect your family in case of an emergency.

How do life insurance costs change for people who have diabetes?

Generally, life insurance for people who have diabetes costs more than for those without it. This is because life insurance companies look at how long they expect you to live when setting your rates and having a chronic health condition like diabetes usually means a shorter lifespan.

Your type of diabetes can also affect how much you pay for life insurance. The good news is that if you are managing your diabetes well, you may still get a competitive price on insurance. Here are some examples of how the cost can be different for people with different types of diabetes.

Life Insurance Rates For Type 1 Diabetes

People with Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin through a pill or a shot. Because of this, life insurance for people with Type 1 diabetes can be harder to obtain or cost more than for people with Type 2 diabetes.

The younger someone is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes; the more expensive life insurance will be. This is because the person’s life expectancy may be shorter. However, every person is different, and insurance companies will look at your profile to find a fair rate. The cost of life insurance for people with Type 1 diabetes depends on your age, blood sugar levels, diet and exercise habits, how well you take your medication, and whether your diabetes has caused any health problems with major organs.

Life Insurance Rosts For Type 2 Diabetes

People with Type 2 diabetes, who make up about 95% of all diabetics in the U.S., often pay less for life insurance than people with Type 1 diabetes. This type of diabetes generally develops in people aged 45 or older, but it is becoming more common in children and teenagers.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body doesn’t use insulin properly. This causes your blood sugar levels to go up. Many people can control their diabetes with medication instead of using insulin. This is often seen as being easier to manage. That’s why life insurance companies often offer more competitive rates to people with this form of diabetes. However, some of the risks for Type 2 diabetes, like being overweight and complications like heart or kidney disease, can also increase costs.

How To Increase The Chances Of Getting Life Insurance Coverage

If you are looking for life insurance and have diabetes, it is important to find a policy that fits your needs and budget. You can do this by making simple lifestyle changes that will help improve your health and make you look like a less risky investment to the insurance company.

Eat healthy and exercise regularly

There are many things you can do to help manage diabetes. You can avoid processed foods, limit the size of your meals, and eat foods that are rich in fiber and nutrients. Medical professionals also recommend weight loss and regular exercise for many people with diabetes.

You can talk to your primary care provider or nutritionist about ways to improve your health. This may help you feel better and reduce your symptoms. Additionally, it could make it easier to find an affordable life insurance plan.

Stop smoking

People who smoke always have to pay more for life insurance than people who don’t smoke. Smoking also increases the chances of getting diabetes by 30-40%, according to the FDA.

Smoking can increase blood pressure and make insulin less effective. This is especially bad for diabetics. The best way to improve your life insurance options is to participate in a smoking cessation program or quit smoking altogether.

Follow your medical treatment plan

Make sure you stick to your prescribed treatment plan if you want to improve your health and get better life insurance. This might mean taking your insulin doses as prescribed or following any other medication regime.

You can get life insurance if you have diabetes by looking into plans that are available for people with preexisting conditions. You can also ask your life insurance provider about other ways to get a policy at an affordable rate.

What Is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes Mellitus (D.M.) is characterized by abnormal sugar metabolism, causing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Chronic hyperglycemia adversely affects the body.

There can be events such as strokes and heart attacks caused by atherosclerosis in the vascular system. There can also be renal disease, peripheral neuropathy, and blindness.

In the United States, D.M. is a leading cause of end-stage kidney disease, leg amputations, and blindness.

Blood sugar enters cells via insulin, which is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Factors that contribute to hyperglycemia include:

  • Reduced insulin secretion,
  • Decreased blood sugar (glucose) usage by the body, or increased glucose production.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes, formerly called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent (IDDM), has a peak age at the onset of 12 years old. However, it is unusual to begin after age 40.

Type 1 D.M. is due to beta cell destruction so that no insulin is produced and must be replaced by insulin injections.

Symptoms include excessive thirst, excessive urination, and weight loss.

Rating for diabetes mellitus depends on:

  • Age at onset.
  • Years since diagnosis.
  • Control of diabetes.
  • Presence of complications.

Ratings increase with younger ages, longer times since onset, poor control, and complications.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes was formerly called adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent (NIDDM). It is characterized by:

  • Variable degrees of resistance to the action of insulin.
  • Impaired insulin secretion by the beta cells.
  • Impaired glucose production.

Type 2 D.M. usually develops over the age of 30, but its incidence increases in children and adolescents, especially obese.

Eighty percent of Type 2 patients are obese.

Many have excessive thirst or urination, but most have no symptoms. Type 2 Diabetes may also require insulin in the later stages.

Type 2 is initially treated with diet and exercise. If decreased calorie intake and increased exercise do not result in blood glucose control, oral medication is added.

Some oral medications include:

  • Sulfonylureas
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
  • Thiazolidinedione
  • Metformin
  • Repaglinide

Risk factors for NIDDM development are older age, obesity, positive family history, and history of gestational diabetes.

Seniors With Diabetes

Older age diabetes or type II diabetes is increasingly common in older populations, affecting 18% of people ages 64-75 and 40% of people ages 80 or older. It is estimated that nearly half of elderly diabetics are currently undiagnosed.

Complications from diabetes do not appear to be any less in the elderly.

Many older age diabetics already show signs of complications (for example, retinopathy-eye changes) at the time of diagnosis because they had the disease for several years before the actual diagnosis.

Treatment for diabetes in the elderly includes diet, exercise, oral medication, and insulin.

As many as 40% of older age diabetics are obese and are instructed to follow a diet and an exercise weight loss program.

For those who fail diet therapy, oral medication is started.

Insulin is reserved only for those people with diabetes whose blood sugars cannot be controlled by oral medication and diet.

Secondary Diabetes

Secondary diabetes can result from pancreatic disease, hormonal syndromes (Cushing’s syndrome), drug-induced disease (thiazide diuretics, steroids, phenytoin), or those associated with syndromes such as hemochromatosis and acromegaly.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) & Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG)

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) are also termed subclinical or borderline diabetes. Patients generally have no symptoms. However, many go on to develop diabetes. There is also an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed when glucose intolerance is discovered during pregnancy. It is associated with increased perinatal complications.

Risk factors for the development of gestational diabetes are:

  • Older Age
  • Overweight
  • Previous Large or Stillborn Babies
  • Positive Family History of Diabetes.

Women with a history of gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (as high as 50% within ten years and 70% within 20 years).

Underwriting Factors In The Decision Process

  • Type of diabetes
  • Age of the applicant
  • Age at diagnosis
  • Blood sugar and glycohemoglobin levels (HbA1C)
  • Compliance with treatment
  • Kidney function test and urinalysis results
  • tobacco use
  • Presence of other health concerns, including cerebrovascular disease, coronary artery disease, neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy, obesity, and peripheral vascular disease.

Underwriting Life Insurance Pre-Diabetes

Underwriting Life Insurance for Diabetics

Guidelines For Getting Life Insurance With Type 1 Diabetes

  • For adults with Type 1 diabetes that are effectively treated and managed, no diabetic complications with favorable blood sugar levels can be considered.
  • If significantly overweight, diagnosed at a young age, tobacco use within the last 12 months, sub-optimal blood sugar levels, or other comorbidity factors are present; there could be a decline in some cases.

Guidelines For Getting Life Insurance With Type 2 Diabetes

  • For adults with Type 2 diabetes that are effectively treated and managed, no diabetic complications with favorable blood sugar levels can be considered.
  • If significantly overweight, diagnosed at a young age, tobacco use within the last 12 months, sub-optimal blood sugar levels, or other comorbidity factors are present; there could be a decline in some cases.

Guidelines For Getting Life Insurance With Gestational Diabetes

  • Applicants that are pregnant must wait until after giving birth.
  • Applicants that are post-delivery and gestational diabetes is solved can be considered for coverage.
  • If diabetes continues after delivery, refer to Type 2 diabetes.

What If I’m Declined?

Even if your life insurance application was declined by an insurer, you could still purchase life insurance through a guaranteed issue policy.

What Is A Guaranteed Issue Policy?

A guaranteed issue policy is life insurance that does not depend on your health. This means that you will be able to get life insurance even if you have had a stroke and have been declined before. However, there are a few drawbacks that you should consider before getting this type of policy.

Many insurers that offer guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a limit on the death benefit. This amount is usually between $25,000 and $30,000, depending on your age.

If you die from natural causes, your family will have to wait for two or three years before the company will pay the full death benefit. Most companies, however, will pay a benefit equal to the total premiums paid in plus 5 to 10 percent.

Since the insurer is not sure how healthy you are, they will charge you more for your life insurance policy than someone who is healthier.

Although there are some disadvantages to guaranteed issue life insurance, it is still a better option than asking your loved ones to pay your final expenses.

Need Help Getting Life Insurance Coverage?

If you have a preexisting medical condition and want to buy life insurance, you will need help from an expert. This person can help make sure that you get coverage so that you don’t get declined.

Warning: Applying for life insurance without a medical exam can be risky. If you are declined coverage, it could be at least two years before you are able to get any life insurance.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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