If you have diabetes, you probably already know that it is no longer legal to deny you medical insurance because of it. But, what you may not know is that getting life insurance can still be a challenge. While it is possible to get life insurance if you have diabetes, you can also be denied. Knowing how to improve your chances of getting accepted and getting the lowest premiums is important to both you and your family. Follow these tips for tipping the odds in your favor.
Make and keep all doctor's appointments and follow your doctor's instructions. A record of regular checkups and compliance with your doctor's orders will show that you are at a lower risk for complications due to diabetes, such as heart disease, vision problems, and neuropathy. Regular checkups also include:
Vision Checks: People with diabetes should have an eye exam at least once a year, and any time they experience changes in vision. This preventive exam allows your eye doctor to evaluate the health of your eyes and detect and treat potential problems before they become major issues.
Foot Care: Because people with diabetes have decreased circulation in their extremities, which can cause decreased sensation in the feet, you can experience foot ulcers or other foot problems without knowing it. Likewise, the decreased circulation makes sores or cuts harder to heal, increasing the risk of infection. When untreated these issues can lead to gangrene and amputation.
Leading a healthy lifestyle will also put you in a favorable light with life insurance companies. Exercising, quitting smoking, and eating right all help to control the progression of the disease and minimize the health risks associated with diabetes. Don't succumb to the temptation to exaggerate the truth about your efforts, as your medical records will likely tell the true story. For example, if you say you have been exercising and controlling your carb intake, but the doctor's scales don't show a decrease in weight, or your blood glucose levels continue to soar, your story may not be taken seriously.
Your A1C results tell the story of how well you have been controlling your glucose levels for the past 3 to 4 months. According to the American Diabetes Association, a level below 7 is desired in non-pregnant adults with diabetes. Your target A1C numbers may vary depending on your age and the length of time you have had diabetes. Life insurance companies may set their own A1C targets to help assist in determining your eligibility and premium rates. In general, keeping your A1C number low will be seen favorably by life insurance companies.
Other Health Issues
Other health issues that may accompany diabetes include high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The combination of high blood glucose, high blood pressure, a high ratio of abdominal body fat, and high cholesterol is referred to as metabolic syndrome. This condition increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. The individual symptoms can be treated but cannot be cured. If you have metabolic syndrome, or any other medical conditions, it is important that you show you are adequately treating the conditions with positive results.
How does the life insurance company assess my eligibility for life insurance?
The insurance company may send a representative to do an intake and perform basic health checks, such as measuring your height and weight and taking a medical history. It will likely request medical records to verify your claims and to assess how well you are controlling your diabetes. There is no universal formula for calculating your health risks, but the life insurance company will consider all factors effecting your health when making a final decision. In general demonstrating good medical control of your diabetes and any accompanying medical conditions and showing that you make and keep your appointments and follow your doctor's advice will work in your favor.
If you have been turned down for life insurance because you have diabetes, don't give up. Do what you can to reduce your risks and seek out other life insurance providers who may have less stringent guidelines.