Life Insurance Approval With Addison’s Disease
By James Tobin
LIHD Difficulty Rating
While you may know about the day to day effects of living with Addison's disease, also known as primary adrenal insufficiency, and hypocortisolism, you may not know how it will affect your life insurance application. The eight questions and answers below are a good start to getting a handle on the issue. For more in-depth answers, just follow the links and keep reading.
Can I be approved for life insurance with Addison's disease?
Every applicant for life insurance with Addison's disease can be approved for a policy.
However, the type of policy that can be approved, and the rates charged, will depend on the nature of your Addison's, how long ago it was diagnosed, and your overall health.
Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, this review of life insurance options with Addison's disease is broken into three sections: (click link to go directly to section)
What information will life insurance companies want to know?
In order to underwrite your application life insurance carriers will need to know the symptoms that you have experienced, the treatment undergone, including prescription drugs used, and any medical follow up. For a more exhaustive discussion of the underwriting of Addison's applications please scroll to What Insurers Will Want to Know About Your Addison's Disease
How much will life insurance cost with an Addison's diagnosis and how exactly does the Addison's disease affect the rates?
The rates you pay for tem insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier. Auto immune applications are generally going to be rated as standard (rare) or lower. This issue is discussed using pricing samples here. Sample pricing for simplified issue and guaranteed issue policies is provided in the corresponding links.
Will I need to take an exam for Addison's disease life insurance?
In order to get the best term rates possible you will need to take an exam. However, if it turns out that simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies are the best fit for your application, no exam will be required. See How Term Life Insurance Works for more on the exam.
What can I do to improve my rating and lower my life insurance rates?
The most effective ways to improve your life insurance rating are to use an agent that has access to the companies that will view you most favorably and to take care of your health.
See Why to use Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Addison's to better understand the reason to use an independent agent.
As far as lifestyle goes, if you take diet and exercise seriously along with limiting alcohol and quitting smoking (if you smoke), it should be reflected in your blood markers.
if you have a medical condition like Addison's, documenting compliance with medical advise and any medications is very important. Obtaining Having a physicians letter stating that you have been compliant and improving is helpful.
Do these things and you can't help but improve your health and your life insurance rating.
How accurate are the quotes I get from your quote tool?
The quotes you receive from the quote tool on this site are 100% accurate for the information inputted. That is to say, if you get the rate class correct- your rate will be correct. The problem with online tools is that people generally think they are inn better or worse shape than is reality.
If you are unsure about rate class you should choose a range and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively, if have an existing condition , such as Addison's disease, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
What are the best life insurance companies for Addison's survivors?
Life insurance companies have differing appetites for specific risks. These appetites are reflected in underwriting and ultimately pricing. Simplified issue carriers will be state dependent and three of the better known term carriers for dealing with auto immune applications are Prudential, American General (AIG), and Banner.
However, risk appetite can, and does, change and the only way to guarantee the best possible deal is to work with an experienced independent agent. see the case study here to get a clear understanding.
What is the application process for life insurance with Addison's disease?
The life insurance application process is an eight step process that includes choosing your terms, picking a carrier, submitting to the exam, and signing documents (digital signatures accepted). The entire 8 step process is laid out for you here.
While the application process is basically the same regardless of your existing condition, you can see a discussion of the process specific to Addison's disease here.
Traditional Term Life Insurance with Addison's Disease
While it is possible to see auto immune applications receive standard ratings, it is unlikely that an offer for life insurance will not be rated as substandard. However, the severity of the rating can vary significantly, therefore it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with Addison's cases and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive.
The process of obtaining a term life insurance offer with a diagnosis of Addison's disease is similar to seeking life insurance after a heart attack, Sleep Apnea or AFib and many other specific conditions.
Primarily, term life insurance is available for lengths ranging from 5 years to 30 years with 20-year terms being the most popular. Term policies usually have a minimum face amount of $50000, and the policies terminate at the end of the term period or can be renewed annually at a vastly increased rate.
Things to Know About Term Insurance
In addition to the period of insurance, it is essential to understand the available policy riders. Riders are additional benefits that, often for an additional cost, are included in your policy.
The five most prominent riders are listed below with links to in-depth descriptions.
- Waiver of Premium
- Living Benefits
- Conversion Privilege
- Child Rider
- Additional Purchase Option
While there is no waiting period for the insurance to go into effect, the insurance company has a two-year window from the policy start in which they can contest a benefit for material misrepresentation on the initial application. So, honesty is the best policy.
You can dive deep into the ins and outs of term life insurance, learning about available term lengths, riders, financial ratings, and rates. The Life Insurance Help Desk works with the top term life insurance carriers.
What Life Insurers Will Take Into Consideration
When applying for life insurance with Addison's disease, or any other condition, underwriters will generally be concerned with some basic questions:
- Do you fit into the usual risk factors for the condition
- What are/were your syptoms
- What was the Diagnosis & Treatment
- What is the aftercare (follow up & compliance)
- What is your health like apart from the condition/history in question
While the outline above is general in form , the questions will require specific answers. These answers will be gathered from your application, a telephone interview, the Medical Information Bureau, a Script Check, and an attending physicians statement (APS).
Lets look at the general areas of inquiry one at a time.
Do you "fit" into the usual risk factors for Addison's Disease
Due to the myriad possibilities with auto immune disorders, other than scrutinizing drug and alcohol use, this is not a factor.
Addison's disease is most often caused by an autoimmune response in which the immune system attacks the adrenal gland cortex.
The disorder can also be cause by a variety of issues ranging from tuberculosis, and injury to the adrenal glands to cancer cells. For an in depth discussion of causes please see the Addison's pages of the Cleveland Clinic site.
The reason it matters with most conditions is that underwriters are more comfortable with making offers when an applicant fits into a common pattern. If the condition doesn't fit, there as a real possibility that something else is at play. When this is the case, underwriters will try to allay their fears by taking a harder look at the file.
What are/were your Addison's Symptoms
Underwriting will want to know the symptoms you had (if any) and how long you had them before the diagnosis.
The most common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency are :
- chronic, or long lasting, fatigue
- muscle weakness
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- abdominal pain
Your Diagnosis and Treatments
Life insurance underwriters will want to know the date of first diagnosis and of any subsequent major flare-ups. Underwriting will also want to know what medications you have been prescribed for your Addison's disease..
Because Addison's disease causes a hormonal deficiency, it is commonly treated with hormone replacement therapy. This generally entails hydrocortizone and fludrocortizone.
In addition to adhering to a doctors recommendations regarding salt and water intake, Addison's patients should wear a medical bracelet identifying them as an Addison's sufferer. This information will help with medical decisions made due to a adrenal crisis.
While information that is "foggy" will be taken from your medical records, knowing the dates of diagnosis and treatments is necessary to get an accurate quote for life insurance with Addison's.
Your Follow Up Care
For Life insurance with Addison's disease, underwriters will want to see that you have been compliant with prescription medication and any follow up requirements including doctors appointments.
In addition to taking prescription medications, dietary improvement and supplementation are often encouraged by physicians.
Your Over all Health (and related conditions)
While any application for life insurance with Addison's disease will take into consideration your overall health including conditions like high cholesterol and gout, underwriters in Addison's cases will specifically look for certain related conditions.
Among the related conditions of special concern to underwriters are
- Adrenal failure
- Low Blood Pressure
For a full discussion of related orders (not necessarily of concern to underwriting visit the Mayo Clinic page on Addison's disease.
No Medical Exam Term Life Insurance with Addison's
The term life insurance market is quickly adopting accelerated underwriting programs that do not require a medical exam as part of the application process. However, these no exam or non-med policies will not be available if you have had a diagnosis of Addison's disease.
Without the no exam option, you will be required to take a para-medical exam. The exam is usually a 15-20 minute meeting with a nurse. Your exam will consist of a blood draw, a urine sample, and height and weight recorded.
Note that more expensive simple issue and guaranteed acceptance policies do not require exams.
Likely Underwriting Ratings with Addison's Disease
Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience.
Best Case – If Addison's is mild, symptoms are under excellent control and there is good compliance, some cases have a chance for a standard rating.
Mid Case –If your Addison's seems to be mild with only the use of moderate hormone replacement and good compliance you may be looking at a mid substandard rate. You calculate this rate by multiplying the standard rate by 1.5 (Table 2/B) or 2 (Table 4/D).
To learn about how table ratings work click here.
Severe Case – If your Addison's symptoms are severe and you have a history of adrenal stress, including low blood pressure and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) , the best you will likely do is a severe substandard rate. You calculate this rate by multiplying the standard rate by 3 (table 8/H).
* while expensive this is still a very good outcome for the circumstances
Decline– For a severe case you may be declined for traditional coverage. If this is the case you may be eligible for a smaller face amount policy. These policies are referred to as Guaranteed issue or simplified issue. If you have been declined please contact us.
Pricing For Term Life Insurance
At the top of this article we stated that any body can be approved for affordable life insurance with Addison's disease. Note, however, we mention “affordable” rather than inexpensive or “low cost’. The reason for the distinction is that life insurance with Addison's disease is not cheap life insurance.
Often times, because the coverage can be expensive on a per benefit dollar basis, the benefit is reduced to make the life insurance affordable. While this is often not an ideal situation, the truth is we all have to live within our budgets, and sometimes the way to make life insurance with Addison's affordable is to reduce either the term of coverage or the benefit amount.
The difficult part of term life insurance with a history of depression is finding the best deal. This is because different carriers have differing appetites for certain kinds of risks. As a result
navigating this process is not as easy as using a quote tool and picking the lowest price. This is discussed in detail in the case study below...
$500000 20 Year Term
$250000 10 Year Term
$100000 10 Year Term
$200000 20 Year Term
Why to use Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Addison's Disease?
Now you already understand that your story matters, and that two people in similar situations can get very different offers from the same carrier.
What you might not know is that different insurance companies will also treat each case differently.
For example Lincoln Financial may have more of an appetite for the risk that life insurance with Addison's disease presents than say AIG. In this case the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.
So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that that you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel?
You’d probably be mad either at the agent or yourself or both. So it’s important that your Agent represent multiple carriers.
In fact a good independent agent will have access to over 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at a good rate.
Note, that if he doesn’t, he may not be in a such hurry to let you in on this info.
Case Study Pricing Policies with Addison's Disease
So, I have been preaching about the importance of using an independent Agent and you may think that sounds a bit self serving coming from an independent agent.
You’re right, it is. However, it is also the (provable) truth.
Please see the case study below . it will show why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance with Addison's disease or any other impairment.
Gender: Female Age: 43
$500000 20 Year Term
Well controlled mild Adrenal insufficiency Diagnosed Age 34
Hydrocortizone and Fludrocortizone only No Other Health Concerns
This looks like a best case scenario that would be either standard or Table 2/B or 4/D depending on the insurers appetite for a Addison's risk.. Let’s take a look at the rates.
- Standard Rates
- Table 2/B Rates
- Table 4/D Rates
Life Insurance Company
Life Insurance Company
Life Insurance Company
This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Prudential is 33% more expensive than Protective.
On it’s face this seems like a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple.
This kind of easy price shopping is particularly useful for younger folks in good health and demonstrates why you want to use an independent Agent.
For people who suffer from Addison's disease or any other serious diagnosis, it gets much more complicated.
Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a standard or table 2 risk and which ons will grade you as table 4-6.
In the case above Lincoln (the middle standard rate) is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carriers will likely rate the risk table 4 while Lincoln might well go table 2.
This is something you can’t know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this case using an independent agent could save you 15% (the difference between Lincoln @ table2 and AIG @ Table 4).
Obtaining Term Life Insurance With Addison's Disease
With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance with Adrenal insufficiency or Addison's as it is known, is essentially the same as for any other condition.
The primary caveats with Addison's are that no exam or so called “non-med” policies will only be available in very small face amounts and an attending physician's statement (APS) is guaranteed to be requested.
The APS can slow the process as doctors are seldom in a hurry to respond to requests from life insurance companies.
The information that you will be required to provide in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:
- Date of Diagnosis
- Age at Diagnosis
- Treatments Undergone- This will require a list of any pharmaceutical drugs being taken as well as any recent prescription changes.
- Dates of Treatments-This will include any hospitalizations as well as evidence of compliance.
- Severity of Symptoms
- Other Health Issues
Because applications for life insurance with Addison's disease are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story always matters. That is to say two people with the same age and condition may get vastly different offers from the same carrier based on age of diagnosis and patient compliance.
Simple Issue Final Expense Burial Insurance with Addison's Disease
Final expense or "burial insurance carriers are generally not concerned with Addison's disease. Unlike term carriers, final expense insurance companies don't concern themselves with hypercortisolism . In fact, with most final expense carriers you are likely to end in day 1 coverage (no waiting period).
Regardless of the nature of the Addison's disease, there is no issue in getting coverage.
These "no-exam needed" burial policies are the next best choice for anyone who will not get through traditional underwriting.
The "final expense" market serves differing consumer needs. There is the need that is made obvious by the name "final expense". This term refers to a funeral, burial and miscellaneous cost tied to the rituals surrounding life's end.
Many of the buyers of these end of life policies simply want to remove any financial burden their funeral and burial would cause to their loved ones, while others want to leave a legacy.
Alternatively, the simplified issue marketplace serves as a safe harbor for people who need some life insurance, but cannot qualify for traditional term underwriting. The lenient underwriting standards of this market allow for people with a history of Addison's disease to get coverage.
How the policy works will be dictated by the type of final expense or burial policy it is:
- First-day Coverage
- Graded Coverage
How Final Expense Life Insurance Works with a History of Addison's Disease
With death benefit face amounts that top range from $5000-$100000, the simplified issue or "final expense " life insurance market is mostly made up of whole life insurance products. However, there several policies that have components of term policies starting to emerge. Make sure you know what you are buying!
Whether term or whole life, the calculation of the death benefit depends on if the policy is first-day coverage or graded
First day policies are straightforward, and provide a full death benefit from day 1 of the policy.
Graded policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period.
These policies commonly pay premiums plus interest if you die in the first year of the policy; 30-50% if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
The carriers offer graded policies based on the applicant's health. These provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
Graded or not, a whole life policy has a fixed premium that cannot increase and the policy stays in force until the premiums stop being paid or the insured dies.
Pricing for Burial Insurance with Addison's Disease
In addition to different underwriting standards, final expense pricing is complicated by the fact that a lot of providers only operate in certain states.
As a result the samples below are of limited value. You should use the final expense quote tool found here.
$25000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
$10000 "Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
No Exam, but possibly a phone interview
Many burial policy insurers will have 10-15 minute home office interviews using the telephone. They are looking for the use of prescriptions that do not come up on their prescription check and assessing cognitive function. Be alert!
Final Expense Policy Features
There are fewer riders associated with simplified issue policies than traditional term, but living benefits such as the accelerated benefit for terminal illness, and chronic illness are fairly common. Additionally, some final expense policies have a small cash component and have loan provisions.
The contestability laws are the same for all types of life insurance policies. That is, the carrier has two years from the origination of the policy to contest the benefit payout on policy where the application contained material misstatements.
What Final Expense Life Insurers Will Take Into Consideration When It Comes To Addison's Disease
As stated before, simplified underwriting is unconcerned with Addison's. Unlike traditional underwriting that grades on a scale, "final expense" is a yes or no proposition.
Note that "yes" is divided into first-day coverage and "graded" categories. Depression offers are generally "level day one" unless there are other serious health concerns.
With regard to other impairments, underwriting will want to know if there are any and what they are. Such impairments that limit activities of daily living or ADL's ( eating,bathing, dressing, and toileting, transferring & continence), require home health care or nursing rehab. These issues may force a waiting period or outright decline.
Final expense policies contain "knockout" questions and prescriptions. Addison's disease medications in most cases will not knock you out of 1st day coverage.
Next Step For Final Expense With Addison's Disease
Because most final expense underwriting rules differ wildly, it's unusual that you can just go to the final expense quote tool and start. However, unless you have other serious conditions, that is exactly how to start.
Because Addison's disease is not usually an issue with final expense carriers, the best price may win. Remember to use the quote tool on the "final expense" page. The quote tool on this page is limited to term quotes.
Upon receiving your quote request, we will be in touch as soon as possible (often in minutes), and we will help you through the process. The whole process shouldn't take more than 30-40 minutes.
We are committed to a transparent pricing process and are happy to share a computer screen with you or send a video of the method used to get your rate. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Guaranteed life insurance for Addison's
As a stand-alone condition, Addison's disease not require the use of guaranteed life insurance. However, if the only offers are "graded", it may make sense to use a guaranteed policy until the 1 or 2 year period passes and you become eligible for day one coverage.
Additionally, if you are physically impaired due to additional conditions and require home health care, or nursing facility, you will likely require guaranteed life insurance
If this describes your situation, keep reading.
Pricing for Guaranteed Issue policies
Guaranteed policies should only be used as a last resort. In addition to the benefit grading provisions that make the policies toothless during the two or three year grading period, they are the most expensive policies sold.
Male Monthly Rates
Female Monthly Rates
How Guaranteed Life Insurance Works
With only the requirement of age (depends on the carrier) and citizenship, guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a death benefit that ranges from $5000-$50000. Such plans are exclusively whole life insurance.
However, all guaranteed issue policies are "graded". Generally, the grading represents a 2 or 3 year period that the policy must be in force before a full death benefit will be paid.
Like "final expense" policies, guaranteed policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period. These policies commonly pay only premiums plus interest if you die if you die before the end of the "grading" period. (2-3 years depending on carrier). After the grading period ends, the carrier would pay the full face amount.
Also, like the "final expense" write up says, these provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
No Exam Required on guaranteed policies
There is no exam for guaranteed life insurance. After all, it's guaranteed to be issued regardless of your health.
Contestability on Guaranteed issue policies
Although the contestability laws are the same as other policies, beyond age and citizenship, it's difficult to see where contestability may arise in a guaranteed issue case.
Your Next Step
Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate quote possible, it’s time to gather the information and speak to an independent Agent (raising my hand).
We are committed to totally transparent pricing (we’ll even share our computer screen with you if you’d like), and making the application process as painless as possible.
Simply give us a call or shoot an email over and we can get you started.
Thank you for choosing the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance with Addison's disease, if you have any questions, We’d like to hear them.
Fast Facts About Addison's Disease
Addison's disease, also known as primary adrenal insufficiency, and hypocortisolism is a endocrine condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce critical steroid hormones cortisol and aldosterone.
Cortisol is necessary to mobilize nutrients, modifies the body’s response to inflammation, stimulates the liver to raise the blood sugar, and also helps to control the amount of water in the body.
Aldosterone regulates salt and water levels which affects blood volume and blood pressure.
Addison's is a considered a rare disease with no accurate estimate of the number of people who suffer from the disease. According to the National Adrenal Disease Foundation, extrapolating previous studies would lead to an estimated 8800 cases in the United States.
Women are three times more likely to suffer from the disease.
Two of the most famous people known to suffer from Addison's are singer Helen Ready and President John F. Kennedy.
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- Can I get life insurance with Addison's disease?
- How expensive is life insurance with Addison's disease?
- What is the process for applying for life insurance after hypercortisolism diagnosis?
- What are the life insurance best companies for Addison's victims?
- What are common table ratings for adrenal insufficiency survivors?
- Can I get life insurance with Addison's over age 60?