Life Insurance With RA
Impact on Underwriting Class:
Standard Rates Possible
Table Ratings Likely
Rate impact based on sevrity and
frequency of flare history, any
complications, prescription drugs
Frequently Asked Questions...
Every applicant for life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis 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 RA, how long ago it was diagnosed, the severity, and your overall health.
Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, this review of life insurance options with rheumatoid arthritis is broken into three sections: (click link to go directly to section)
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 RA applications please scroll to What Insurers Will Want to Know
In order to get the best rates possible you may need to take an exam. Mild cases of rheumatoid arthritis may be eligible for no-exam underwriting. However, applications seen as more serious cases will require an exam.
The exam is a para-medical exam that collects blood and urine samples. The exam is administered at no cost by a travelling nurse and can be done at your choice of location.
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.
The rates you pay for tem insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier. RA applications are generally going to be rated as standard (rare) or lower. This issue is discussed using rating guides and pricing samples. Sample pricing for simplified issue and guaranteed issue policies is provided in the corresponding links.
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, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
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 rheumatoid arthritis 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 auto immune medical condition like RA, 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.
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 RA and Lupus 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.
Regardless of your pre existing condition, the application process is largely the same. 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.
When you're dealing with Rheumatoid arthritis, you know about the everyday challenges that you face. What you may not know is that obtaining life insurance with depression may also be a challenge.
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.
While it is possible to get standard rates on applications with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, it requires a carefully packaged application to a receptive insurer. Therefore it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with RA cases and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive.
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.
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 the age of diagnosis and patient compliance.
Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are merely the best estimates for life insurance with atrial fibrillation based on experience..
Best Level – If RA is detected early, symptoms are under excellent control and complications or further damage to affected organs has been prevented, some cases have a chance for a standard rating. Simply use the quoter on the left for a standard quote.
Mid Level –If your RA seems to be mild with only the use of NSAID drugs and good compliance but less than 3 years since diagnosis or cases where heavier drugs are only 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 Level – If your RA symptoms are severe and you have a need for chronic maintenance drugs and/or your RA has proceeded to your organs, 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 this is more expensive than standard rates, it may still be a very good outcome.
Decline– For a severe case you may be declined for traditional coverage. If this happens 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.
The basic mechanics of term life insurance are pretty straightforward. As long as the policy premium is paid by (or for) the insured, and the policy is in force, the beneficiary will receive the death benefit upon the insured's death.
Some Sample Non-Smoker Monthly Term Rates for RA:
$500000 20 Year Term
$100000 10 Year Term
$250000 10 Year Term
$200000 20 Year Term
The trickiest part of term life insurance with a health condition like atrial fibrillation 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.
Although the term life insurance market is quickly adopting accelerated underwriting programs that do not require a
medical exam as part of the application process, this option will not be available if you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
You will be required to take a para-medical exam. The exam is a 15-20 minute meeting with a nurse. Your exam will consist of a blood draw, a urine sample, and height and weight recorded.
Most term carriers will have the underwriting department do a telephone interview with you. The In the case of RA the conversation will be wide-ranging, and last about 20 minutes.
The purpose of the interview will be to flesh out the information that it has from your exam, medical information, and driving history. Questions will often revolve around diet and lifestyle. Answer as honestly as possible, but never "offer" unrequested information.
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.
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 almost all of the top term life insurance carriers.
Life insurance underwriters will generally be concerned with 5 general questions:
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.
The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are not yet perfectly clear. There is some evidence for genetic , hormonal, and environmental factors.While the causes have not been positively identified, the following risk profile has emerged:
For a more detailed discussion of the potential causes of RA you can visit the Arthritis Foundation
Underwriting will want to know any symptoms you have had and ow long you suffered them prior to diagnosis.
Rheumatoid arthritis usually shows itself at first with the swelling, warmth, tenderness and stiffness of smaller joints. The joints usually affected first are the fingers and hands and toes.
There are graphics available at National institute of Health These graphics show the stages of joint decay associated with RA .
As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body.
The Mayo Clinic points out that about 40 percent of the people who have rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms that don't involve the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many non-joint structures.
The non joint body parts that can be affected are extensive:
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 RA.
Below is a list of the more common prescriptions provided to rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
We understand that memories of certain treatments can be "hazy". To be sure,your medical records will be looked at to establish the prescription history. However, in order to get an accurate quote, you will need accurate information.
Because RA is a progressive condition , underwriting will be interested in your compliance and follow up. Specifically, this means wanting to know if have you've been taking prescribed medicines and attending regularly scheduled follow up appointments with your physician.
Additionally, underwriting will be interested in knowing if you are taking any dietary/homeopathic steps to treat the condition. For a full discussion of this see the Cleveland Clinic.
While any application for life insurance will take into consideration your overall health including conditions like high cholesterol and gout, underwriters in RA cases will specifically look for certain related conditions.
RA is often connected to the occurrence of heart problems due to hardening and blocked arteries. RA is also associated with an increased risk of Lung disease and the blood cancer lymphoma.
With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance is essentially the same for everyone regardless of health.
The primary caveats with rheumatoid arthritis are that in addition to no exam policies not being available, an attending physician's statement (APS) is guaranteed to be requested.
The APS can 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:
Please see the case study below. It will show you why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance with RA or any other impairment.
Gender: Female Age: 43
$500000 20 Year Term
Well controlled mild RA. Diagnosed Age 34
NSAID 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 RA 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 RA 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 one's 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).
* Note that while overfunded ‘investment grade" permanent policies are excluded from this review, such policies generally follow the term life insurance guidelines.
It's worth noting that a few of the prominent carriers that offer these products have "healthy lifestyle" credits that "table shave" ratings by as much as 2 tables.
For example, a atrial fibrillation case that was rated table 2/B could be "table shaved" back to a standard rating. Table shaves are not offered on term products.
Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate RA term life insurance quote possible, it's time to begin the application process. The term process is outlined "step by step for you in the Life Insurance Buying Guide.
The Help Desk is committed to transparent pricing (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like) and making the application process as painless as possible.
Final expense or "burial insurance carriers are not concerned with rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, they don't even ask! 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 severe rheumatoid arthritis to get coverage.
How the policy works will be dictated by the type of final expense or burial policy it is:
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; 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.
$25000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
$15000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$10000 "Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
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.
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!
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.
As stated before, simplified underwriting is seldom concerned with rheumatoid arthritis. 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. Rheumatoid arthritis offers are generally not "graded". So, full coverage would begin on day 1.
Final expense policies contain "knockout" questions and prescriptions.Since RA is not a question on these policies, the only way to get ‘knocked out" is if you answer yes to a different "knockout" question.
Knockout questions tend to revolve around heart attack, stroke, cognitive function, insulin use, amputations and some of the heavy drugs these conditions require for treatment.
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 conditions, that is exactly how to start.
Because RA by itself will not cause a "knockout", 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.
As a stand-alone condition, RA does not require the use of guaranteed life insurance. The only time that an applicant would need to go the guaranteed route is if the rheumatoid arthritis was paired with a condition that could not qualify for graded a final expense policy.
If this describes your situation, keep reading.
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.
With only the requirement of age (40) 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 premiums plus interest if you die if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
Also, like the "final expense" write up says, these provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
There is no exam for guaranteed life insurance. After all, it's guaranteed to be issued regardless of your health.
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.
The guaranteed issue process is lightning fast and can be handled over the telephone in a matter of minutes. Give us a call or email us.
In addition to reassuring you that life insurance is attainable with RA, this article pointed out that insurance companies have different pricing and underwriting standards from one another.
Furthermore, these underwriting differences are a reflection of the company's appetite for a specific health risk. For example, Prudential Financial may have more of an appetite for the risk that RA presents than say, Banner.
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 you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel? You'd probably be sad like the puppy or mad at the agent or yourself or both.
So it's crucial that your Agent represent multiple carriers. In fact, most good independent agents will have access to over 40 or 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at the best rate.
Key Take Aways
Thank you for choosing the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis. We are committed to a totally transparent process (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like), and making the application process as painless as possible.
Should you have any question, please do not hesitate to give us a call or contact us via email.
Unlike osteoarthritis , which is a degenerative disease, Rheumatoid arthritis or RA is an autoimmune disease.
Approximately 2.1 people suffer from RA in the united States, with women being 3 times more likely to suffer the disease.
RA is believed to cost the economy $ 128,000,000 annually in medical costs and lost productivity.
Several well known celebrities have suffered from RA over the years. Among them are comedienne Lucille Ball , famed painter Pierre Renoir, actress Kathleen Turner, baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax and actor James Coburn.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you know haw difficult the day to day can be. What you may not have known is how it can effect your life insurance application.
We hope that this page helps you better deal with the life insurance process with RA.
Keywords: Life Insurance With RA,Rheumatoid Arthritis Life Insurance policy, Burial Insurance with Rheumatoid arthritis.
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Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on LinkedIn 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..
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