Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease…All You need To Know.
If you are seeking to find out more about obtaining life insurance with Crohn's disease, you are in the right place.
Assuming you or a loved have been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, you are acquainted with how uncomfortable the day to day challenges can be.
What you may not be aware of however, is how your application will be affected if you apply for life insurance with Crohn's disease.
Whether the risk you represent to the insurance carrier is health related like obesity and high blood pressure, or is lifestyle related like marijuana use or piloting private planes the application process is very much the same.
The purpose of this article is to provide a background on obtaining life insurance with Crohn's disease and answer any questions you may have about how you can obtain the best deal possible
If you already know more than you ever wanted to about Crohn's Disease, you can click on the quick navigation and skip to the life insurance portion of this article.
Fast Facts on Crohn's Disease : What your Friends and Co-workers May Know (or think they know).
Because the names of the researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital were listed alphabetically, Burrill Bernard Crohn's name is attached to the disease that affects close to a million people in the United States.
A long term chronic illness, Crohn's disease inflames and ulcerates the intestine (bowel).
Along with ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease is part of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Most commonly affected by Crohn’s is the lower part of the small intestine, although it can occur in any part of the large or small intestine, stomach, esophagus, or even the mouth.
Most persons with Crohn’s disease are under the age of 30. But many older adults suffer as well.
Smokers suffer from Crohn’s more often than non-smokers, and it often affects more than one family member.
Some of the well known people afflicted with the disorder include President Dwight Eisenhower, actress Shannen Doherty, and musician Mike Mccready of Pearl Jam fame.
Life Insurance with Crohn's Disease: What Carriers will Take into Consideration
Whether the application is for life insurance with Crohn's disease or any other impairment, life insurance underwriters will generally be concerned with 5 general questions with regard to medical issues:
- Do you fit into the usual risk factors for the condition
- What are/were your symptoms
- 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 the Condition
Because Crohn's is not common and often mis-diagnosed underwriters will scrutinize symptoms more closely than most files.
Underwriters tend to be more comfortable with making offers when the applicant's condition fits into a common risk factor pattern. If the condition doesn't fit, there as a concern 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.
Although. it's not known exactly what causes Crohn's disease, a variety of factors are thought to play a role. The primary triggers are listed as:
Being of Jewish heritage (3 to 6 times more likely than the general population)
Being of European (particularly Scandinavian) ancestry
Low exposure to sunlight
Eating a diet high in sugar and saturated fat and low in fruit and vegetables
Being overweight or obese
What are/were your symptoms
When underwriting applications for life insurance with Crohn's disease, carriers will want to know the symptoms you had and how long you had them before the diagnosis.
The Mayo Clinic list the Crohn's symptoms as:
- Abdominal pain
- Change in bowel habits
Key Take Aways
- Crohn's is a chronic, long term condition.
- Crohn's is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Crohn's most often involves the small intestine.
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 Crohn's.
While lifestyle changes are the first line of defense against Crohn’s, there are several medications that can be prescribed. The most common drugs are anti-biologics and corticosteroids. More severe cases use anti rheumatic drugs such as methotrexate. For a full list see WebMD.
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.
Your Follow Up Care
When evaluating life insurance with Crohn's disease applications, underwriting will want to see compliance with prescription medication and any follow up requirements including doctors appointments.
Follow up for Crohn's patients often includes dietary changes as well as supplements.
The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America suggests a meticulous food diary to pinpoint foods that irritate your system and ensure sufficient nutrition.
Supplements often recommended for Crohn’s disease include probiotics.
Vitamin supplements recommended often include B-12, folic acid, vitamins A, D, E & K, Iron & potassium. For a full list please see WebMD.
Your Over all Health (and related conditions)
While any application for life insurance will take into consideration your overall health including conditions like high cholesterol and gout, underwriters in Crohn's cases will specifically look for certain related conditions. Of major concern are the following:
Inflammation (swelling) of the eyes and mouth
Skin rashes or ulcers
To view the exhaustive list you can visit the site of the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Obtaining Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease
With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance is essentially the same for everyone regardless of health.
The primary caveats for life insurance with Crohn’s Disease are that no exam or so called “non-med” policies will only be available in small face amounts and an attending physician's statement (APS) may to be requested.
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:
Date of Diagnosis (your corresponding age)
Dates of Treatments
Severity & Frequency of Symptoms
Any Other Health Issues
Some of the details that this list will require are any hospitalizations, recommended surgeries, employment disability, last episode-how many episodes in last 6 mo.,1 & 5 year periods, and any prescriptions being taken.
Possible Underwriting Ratings with Crohn’s Disease
Because Life insurance applications are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story 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.
Underwriters will take all the information they have received on your case, this will include a prescription check and a motor vehicle check along with medical records.
Once all the information is obtained (it can happen pretty quick with computers) the underwriter will use a point system to assign a value to each of your issues. This point system which is different with all carriers , will determine your rate class.
Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience.
Best Case – If Crohn’s is detected early, symptoms are under excellent control with no complications, most cases have a possibility for a standard rating. Simply use the quoter on the left for a standard quote.
Mid Case –If your Crohn’s is more challenging despite good compliance or cases where heavier drugs are occasionally required 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 Crohn’s symptoms are severe and you, have been hospitalized recently, require heavy maintenance drugs and/or you have additional medical conditions, the best you will do is may be a severe substandard rate. To calculate this rate multiply the standard rate by 2.5 (Table6/F) or 3 (Table8/H).
* while expensive this may still be a very good outcome for your 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.
Key Take Aways
- Because two people with the came condition can get different ratings from the same carrier- Details Matter!
- Standard Rates are possible with Crohn's disease.
- Graded cases may still be a "good deal" depending on your circumstance.
Why you Should Use an Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Crohn’s
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 Crohn’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 probably won’t be in a hurry to let you in on this info.
Case Study: Pricing Life Insurance with Crohn’s disease
So, I have been droning 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 IBS or any other impairment.
Gender: Male Age: 53
$250000 20 Year Term
Well controlled mild Crohns Diagnosed Age 46
OTC Anti-diarrheal use No Other Health Concerns
This looks like a best case scenario would be either standard or Table 2/B depending on the insurers appetite for a Crhn's risk. Let’s take a look at the rates.
Standard Rates Table 2/B Rates Table 4/D Rates
This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available, illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Prudential is 15% more expensive than Banner.
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 type of easy price comparison is particularly helpful for younger people in good health and shows why you want to use an independent Agent.
For people who suffer from IBD 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 risk and which ons will grade you as table 2-4.
In the case above Banner is best in either case. But, if your Agent can’t use Banner, 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 2 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 24% (the difference between Prudential @ standard and Principal @ Table 2).
Over the life of the policy that’s more than $7800 that would be better left in your wallet!
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.
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 using the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance with Crohn's disease. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Call (203) 424-1100 or shoot us an email.