Being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition may drastically affect your quality of life. In some instances, it can leave you needing to take long and unexpected breaks from work. In other cases, you may become hospitalized, leaving you without an income, or with a reduced income. Although your eligibility and rates depend on your condition, it is still important to take steps into ensuring your protection. As we delve into this blog, we will explore the importance of taking proactive steps to ensure your protection. Join us as we navigate the complexities of life insurance options and provide valuable insights for individuals with autoimmune conditions seeking financial security and peace of mind.
Case Study – Maggie’s Journey: Navigating Life Insurance with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease
Maggie, a 50-year-old Senior Investor Specialist was diagnosed with undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) three years ago. After experiencing bouts of fatigue, joint pain, and mild skin rashes, her doctor ordered a series of tests, which led to the diagnosis. Maggie was initially concerned, but she remained committed to managing her condition and maintaining a high quality of life. She adhered to her treatment plan, regularly consulted with her medical team, and made lifestyle changes to mitigate her symptoms.
After her diagnosis, Maggie started to think about her long-term financial well-being and the importance of having life insurance to protect her family. However, she worried that her UCTD diagnosis would make it difficult to obtain affordable coverage. She decided to consult with an experienced insurance broker who specialized in helping clients with chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases.
Maggie’s broker reviewed her medical history, including the severity of her UCTD and her treatment plan. Fortunately, her condition was well-managed, and her medical records showed consistent improvement in her symptoms. The broker approached several insurance companies to find one that would offer Maggie the best possible coverage and rates based on her unique health profile.
After a thorough search, Maggie’s broker identified an insurance company that specialized in providing coverage for individuals with chronic illnesses. They offered Maggie a term life insurance policy with a competitive premium, taking into account her UCTD diagnosis and overall health. Although her premium was slightly higher than what a person without UCTD might pay, it was still affordable and provided the financial protection Maggie sought for her family.
Maggie’s story demonstrates that it is possible to obtain life insurance coverage, even with an autoimmune disease, by working with an experienced broker and effectively managing one’s health. With the right guidance and determination, individuals with autoimmune diseases can secure the financial protection they need for themselves and their loved ones.
Many times, we have clients who come to us with the misconception that they are ineligible for life insurance because they have been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. It’s critical to realize that certain insurers are better than others when it comes to autoimmune diseases. A common question we receive is “Can I get life insurance if I have an autoimmune disease?”
The answer is yes! Not only can you get life insurance if you have an autoimmune disease, but you can also get affordable rates.
What is an Autoimmune Disease?
Autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s natural defense system is unable to distinguish between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to attack healthy cells. There are over 80 different types of autoimmune diseases that affect various body parts.
Some of the most common types of autoimmune diseases are:
Muscular and joint disorders:
Nervous system disorders:
Endocrine system disorders:
- Graves’ disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Addison’s disease
How common are autoimmune diseases?
Autoimmune illnesses are quite common, approximately two million Canadians are affected by autoimmune diseases. Women are disproportionately affected by autoimmune disorders; percentages vary by disease, but almost 80% of persons with autoimmune disorders are female.
Cost of Life Insurance With an Autoimmune Disease
The two most important characteristics used by life insurance companies to evaluate whether or not a person is insurable and at what cost, are age and health. When compared to an older, less healthy person, a younger, more physically fit person is less likely to die in a particular time frame – be it months, years, or decades. Other factors, including your lifestyle and gender, will, of course, influence your rates. Risky habits and harmful hobbies (such as smoking and scuba diving) can raise the cost of life insurance.
This is because life insurance companies will thoroughly examine your health and mortality as the main factors when underwriting and approving your application. Having an autoimmune disorder and/or compromised autoimmune system will cause your premiums to be higher, as they affect your health. Other factors, including your lifestyle and gender, will, of course, also influence your rates. Risky habits and harmful hobbies or occupations (such as drinking and rock climbing) can also raise the cost of life insurance.
If you’re having trouble finding traditional life insurance rates, guaranteed or simplified life insurance options will reduce the amount of underwriting and can be cheaper than some traditional policies that may rate you up to an additional 200%.
What Factors Do Insurance Companies Consider for Autoimmune Diseases?
Insurance companies rate someone’s condition based on a variety of factors including lifestyle factors that may contribute to the severity of your condition. The healthier you are, the easier it would be for you to obtain life insurance and the more favorable your rates would be.
Some questions your insurer will likely ask:
- What is your condition?
- Were you hospitalized as a result of your disorder?
- Are you taking any prescribed medications? If so, are they lifelong?
- Is your condition stable?
- When were you first given the diagnosis?
These are just a few of the questions that you may be asked (there could be more). It is possible that you would be asked to take a medical exam in addition to answering questions.
Autoimmune Diseases and Life Insurance
Below are some examples of common autoimmune diseases and the type of life insurance you would be able to get if you had that condition.
Type 1 Diabetes
Obtaining life insurance while suffering from type 1 diabetes can be difficult, but it is not impossible. A simplified or fully guaranteed policy can provide life insurance coverage without requiring a nurse visit. If you choose the fully underwritten option, the process will be similar to most underwriting processes, but you may be required to complete a few additional medical examinations, questionnaires, and tests, such as a urine test.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes after purchasing life insurance and the policy is issued, the insurer is unable to cancel or change your rates. If you have a permanent life insurance policy, your premiums and coverage will remain unchanged even if you develop diabetes.
You can apply for all types of life insurance as a diabetic, including term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Obtaining approval for these products varies by insurance company, and some products are easier to obtain approval for than others due to underwriting requirements. In general, insurance companies will have term and permanent fully underwritten products or simplified products that change how easy it is for those with serious medical conditions to be approved for life insurance.
Insurers do not consider Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to be a significant risk. Although it is not a deadly condition, there are adverse effects from pharmacological treatments as well as additional problems that might put insurers at risk.
Before providing you with a price, insurers will need to properly analyze your situation. They’ll look at the sort of arthritis you have, how much pain or disability you have, how long you’ve had it, and any medications you’re taking to treat it.
RA is a chronic autoimmune disease that worsens over time. Protective cartilage can shrink as the illness worsens, leaving bones vulnerable to erosion. Bone erosion can eventually lead to joint damage, resulting in disability and the inability to perform daily chores.
Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms can sometimes extend beyond your joints. According to the Mayo Clinic, roughly 40% of RA patients experience difficulties with their skin, eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, and other tissues or organs. Most insurers will raise your premiums or possibly refuse to cover you as a result of these issues.
Crohn’s disease is classified as mild, moderate, or severe. If you have been symptom-free for more than 4 years without using oral steroids and have had no complications, you may be able to get the standard price for life insurance. Otherwise, it will be determined by the severity of your condition and the date of your most recent major flare-up.
Life insurance at non-standard rates may be available to Crohn’s disease patients who are experiencing severe symptoms (a premium increase). This could be due to the strength of your medications, or if you have any abscesses or fistulas that are affecting your quality of life.
If you are scheduled to have surgery to treat Crohn’s disease, such as fistula removal or the placement of an ileostomy or colostomy bag, your application for life insurance will most likely be delayed until you have fully recovered from the surgery. In this case, you can obtain life insurance through a specialized insurer.
Similar to Crohn’s disease, your final premium will be determined by the severity of your condition and the date of your most recent big flare-up.
The major reason a life insurance company would like to know whether you have been diagnosed with an Ulcer is that there are several ways an individual could get an Ulcer, some of which may affect the outcome of one’s life insurance application.
Best Life Insurance Policy if You Have an Autoimmune Disease
It may appear that choosing the best life insurance policy is a challenging job. Spending hours researching and reading pages and pages of terms and conditions, as well as collecting and reviewing quotes, would be exhausting for anyone. At Protect Your Wealth, we are here for you to help you get the coverage that you need!
The following are some of the recommended insurance policies for individuals with an autoimmune disease:
Permanent Life Insurance Provides Lifetime Coverage
Universal Life Insurance: Universal life insurance is a kind of permanent life insurance that remains in force regardless of your age or health. It comprises long-term investments. This will allow you to save money for the future while also providing you with cash when you need it.
A policy fund is included in most universal life policies, and it can hold a number of investment account options to meet your needs. Tax-deferred growth is possible with the investments in your insurance. This implies that until you withdraw money from the policy, you won’t have to pay tax on the investment growth.
Whole Life Insurance : Whole life insurance provides the insured with a guaranteed death benefit for the rest of their life. Whole life insurance has a savings component that can accumulate cash value in addition to paying a death benefit. Interest is compounded at a fixed rate and is tax-deferred.
Term Life includes three types of insurance
- Term insurance: Term life insurance, also known as pure life insurance, is a type of life insurance that guarantees payment of a predetermined death benefit if the insured person dies during a predetermined term. When the term expires, the policyholder has the option of renewing the policy for another term, converting the policy to permanent coverage, or allowing the term life insurance policy to expire.
- Mortgage life insurance: Mortgage life insurance is coverage that you can obtain to pay off or reduce your mortgage in the event that you pass away before you can fully pay it off. The insurance funds are always applied to the mortgage balance. This can help your family stay in their home even if the primary income used to make mortgage payments is no longer available.
- Group Life Insurance: Group life insurance is provided to employees or members by an employer or another large-scale entity, such as an association or labor organization. It is reasonably priced, and may even be free for certain employees, and is widely used across the country. Group life insurance is typically offered as part of a larger employer or membership benefit package and has a relatively low coverage amount. Members of a group life policy are not required to have a medical exam and are not subject to individual underwriting.
How to Make Your Autoimmune Disease Disability Claim More Powerful
Depending on your insurance policy, you can claim your autoimmune disease as a disability claim. Below are ways you can make this claim more powerful:
When You Have a Flare-Up, See Your Doctor
It can be tempting to keep your autoimmune disease flares to yourself if you get them frequently. Many people choose to self-treat in order to save money on medical fees or to avoid embarrassment. It’s critical, though, that you tell your doctors about your flare-ups and how severe they are.
When processing and evaluating disability claims, insurance adjusters rely extensively on medical records. When you visit your doctor, they will write down your symptoms and how long they have been there. The doctor will also provide you an update on your medical needs. This information can help your doctors construct the best treatment plan possible, and their notes can be used as evidence in your disability claim.
Consider the Side Effects of Your Medications
When filing a disability claim, the insurance company must examine how your treatment plan affects your capacity to work, including pharmaceutical side effects. This is especially significant in autoimmune disease cases, because many immune-suppressing drugs have serious adverse effects such as fatigue, nausea, and a reduced ability to fight infection.
Begin Keeping a Diary of Your Symptoms
You probably have no idea how much your autoimmune disease affects your day-to-day life. You’ve probably modified your routine because you’ve grown accustomed to the everyday exhaustion and unwelcome flare-ups. It’s a good idea to keep a log of your daily symptoms and activities as you prepare your disability claim. You might wish to keep track of your naps, rest intervals, and other adaptations you make to cope with your symptoms, for example.
When speaking with your doctors or the disability insurance provider, this information can assist you comprehend the scope of your limits and offer you with more specificity.
How Important is It to Disclose an Autoimmune Disease During the Life Insurance Application Process?
It is crucial to disclose an autoimmune disease during the life insurance application process. Honesty and transparency regarding your medical history, including any autoimmune conditions, are essential for the following reasons:
- Accurate risk assessment: Insurance companies rely on accurate information about your health to assess the risk of insuring you. Disclosing your autoimmune disease allows underwriters to evaluate your specific situation and provide appropriate coverage and rates based on your individual risk profile.
- Validity of the policy: Failure to disclose an autoimmune disease or any other significant health condition during the application process could be considered material misrepresentation or non-disclosure. If the insurance company discovers this omission after issuing the policy, they may have grounds to void the policy, potentially leaving your beneficiaries without the financial protection they expected.
- Claim denial: In the event of a claim, insurance companies may investigate and review the information provided during the application process. If they find that you did not disclose your autoimmune disease, the insurer could deny the claim, leaving your beneficiaries without the death benefit.
- Legal consequences: Intentionally withholding information about your autoimmune disease during the application process could be considered insurance fraud, which may result in legal consequences.
Being open and honest about your autoimmune disease during the life insurance application process ensures that your policy is valid, your beneficiaries receive the intended benefits, and you are treated fairly by the insurance company. It also helps you find the most appropriate coverage and rates based on your unique health situation.
Are There Any Waiting Periods or Exclusions Related to Autoimmune Diseases When Applying for Life Insurance?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance with an Autoimmune Disease
Yes! You can get life insurance if you have an autoimmune disease. The type of insurance and your premiums will depend on the type of autoimmune disease that you have and its severity. For an accurate rate, it is best to contact an advisor to discuss your conditions.
Due to the severity of each autoimmune disease, it varies greatly from one individual to the next, insurance companies will take the time to learn about your specific problem. They may ask you extensive questions or for a medical exam.
To obtain traditional life insurance, you must typically demonstrate that you are in excellent condition. If you have a health problem when you apply, you may not be able to meet this criteria, and your application may be denied by the insurance provider. Alternatively, they could charge you more for coverage.
Since life insurance companies will thoroughly examine your health and age as the main factors when underwriting and approving your application, having an autoimmune disorder and compromised autoimmune system will cause your premiums to be higher. Other factors, including your lifestyle and gender, will, of course, also influence your rates. Risky habits and harmful hobbies or occupations (such as drinking and rock climbing) can also raise the cost of life insurance.
Having an autoimmune condition does not automatically disqualify you from getting life insurance.
You can do some important things to help you get more favorable rates.
- Stick to your treatment strategy: The better your medical condition is managed, the lower the risk to a potential insurer. So, whatever your problem is, find the correct doctor or specialist, get a treatment plan, and stick to it as closely as possible. That way, you’ll have a better chance of preserving and enhancing your health, insurability, and even your quality of life.
- Exercise on a regular basis: Exercise has been shown to improve your health and overall well-being. Most of the elements that make a person dangerous to insure are mitigated by exercise. One caveat: consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program, especially if you have just experienced a serious health crisis. Even if you are unable to engage in severe exercise, basic activities such as strolling can be beneficial.
- Get in shape: It may appear difficult to lose weight, but it is doable. And it’s crucial since being overweight can have a variety of negative effects on your health, well-being, and life expectancy. Take measures to change your eating habits and boost your physical activity until you can shed a small amount of weight each week without feeling deprived – even if it’s only half a pound. You might be able to reach your weight-loss target over time.
Life insurance applications often include health-related questions, and you typically give the insurer permission to examine any medical records needed to verify your answers. In addition, as part of the underwriting process, you might be expected to have a medical checkup, and they will look for certain indicators in your blood work and other tests that suggest an underlying medical issue.
If you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease after purchasing a life insurance policy, your existing policy should not be affected as long as you continue to pay your premiums on time. Life insurance companies cannot alter the policy terms, increase premiums, or cancel the policy due to a new diagnosis, provided that the initial application process was completed honestly and accurately.
Finding the right life insurance policy for you
Whether you’re at risk of an autoimmune disease, or are currently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, there’s a life insurance product or package for your situation. A life insurance specialist can help you create the best plan and package for your needs.
At Protect Your Wealth, we work with and compare policies and quotes from the best life insurance companies in Canada to ensure the best solution for you and your needs. We provide expert life insurance solutions, including no medical life insurance, critical illness insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance to build the best package to give you the protection you need.
Contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta including areas such as Waterloo, Kingston, Prince George, and Edmonton.