Getting Life Insurance with Addison’s Disease …What You Need To Know

Getting Life Insurance with Addison’s Disease …What You Need To Know

If you are looking for information on getting life insurance with Addison's disease, you are in the right place.

While you may be aware of the debilitating affects of  Addison's disease , you may not know the affect it can have on your life insurance application.

While the process of applying for life insurance with Addison's disease is very much the same as with other   pre-existing conditions like Crohn's disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, it is helpful to know the nuances. 

The purpose of this article is to provide a brief description of the disease and answer any questions you may have about how to obtain life insurance with Addison's disease at the best price possible.

If you already know more than you ever wanted to about Addison's disease , you can use the quick navigation  tool to skip to the life insurance portion of the article.

Fast Facts About Addison's Disease

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.

Life Insurance with Addison's Disease
Life Insurance with Addison's Disease

What is 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.

​What are the Common Symptoms of Addison's Disease?

The most common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency are :

  • chronic, or long lasting, fatigue
  • muscle weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain

For a complete list of symptoms including those of an adrenal crisis,  please visit the National Institutes of Health.  

What are the Causes of Hypocortisolism?

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.

What are the common Treatments for 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.  

Getting  Life Insurance with Addison's Disease

With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance with Addison's is essentially the same as applying with any other condition. 

The primary caveats with Addison's disease are that no exam or so called “non-med” policies will only be available in limited face amounts and an attending physician's statement (APS) will required.

The APS will likely slow the process as doctors are in no 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:

  1. Date of Diagnosis

  2. Age at Diagnosis

  3. Complications

  4. Treatments Undergone

  5. Dates of Treatments

  6. Severity of Symptoms (Any Hospitalizations?)

  7. All Other Health Issues

Possible Underwriting Ratings with Addison's

Because Life insurance applications 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 significantly different offers from the same company based on age of diagnosis and patient compliance. Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience.

Best Case – If Addison's symptoms are under excellent control and no complications some cases have a chance for a standard  rating. Simply use the quoter on the right for a standard quote.

Table Rated Quote- If you  are currently , or recently been dealing with active symptoms or you have additional ,unrelated, health concerns, you will probably be faced with a table rated quote. 

To learn about how table ratings work click here.

* while expensive this may still be 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.

Why you Should Use an 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 TransAmerica may have more of an appetite for the risk that Addison's presents than say Protective. 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 pretty peeved 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, do you think he'll be in a hurry to let you in on this information? Probably not.

Key Take Aways

  • Access to more carriers will result in better pricing.
  • It may be worth paying slightly more if there is a strong permanent conversion product.
  • Only independent brokers have the freedom to offer the best deal at all times.

Case Study Pricing Life Insurance with Addison's Disease

So, I have been going on about the importance of using an independent Agent and you may think that sounds a bit self serving coming from an independent agent.

You’d be are 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 or any other impairment.

Gender: Female Age: 43

$500000 20 Year Term

Tobacco: No

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

mutual omaha67.11mutual omaha97.96mutual omaha128.80
prudential logo89.10prudential logo134.71prudential logo181.14

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 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 Prudential (the most expensive standard rate) is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carriers will likely rate the risk table 4 while Pru might well go standard.

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 Prudential @ standard and Banner @ Table 4).

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.

Thank you for choosing the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance with Addison's disease, should you have any questions please don't hesitate to give us a call or shoot an email over.

James Tobin, CFP

Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on Google + and Facebook. Over the past 10 years, Jim has used his CFP-financial planning designation to help individuals with their life insurance needs. In addition to working with life insurance clients, Jim teaches ESL classes in his spare time. He resides with his beautiful wife Nicole and the 3 cats that rule their lives..