With all the political spin put on health care and how to handle all of those who are uninsured or under insured, maybe, just maybe, the emphasis ought to be on education and prevention as much as or even more than treatment.

A study just released shows that type 2 diabetes is exacting a heavy toll, not only in health care costs, but in lost time and lost lives. The incidence of newly diagnosed diabetes is growing at an alarming rate, and it isn’t “adult onset”, the traditional type 2. More and more there are children being diagnosed. The study showed that there were 63% more people with diabetes in 2004 than there were in 1994. The scary part is that this study was only done on insured people.

If diabetes is rampant in those with insurance, what is going on with the tens of millions of uninsured people. And if the numbers are increasing so rapidly among those with insurance, what does that say about the quality of medical care that is being offered. There is obviously very little emphasis put on prevention. It is a rare case of type 2 diabetes that just pops up out of nowhere. Generally a person diagnosed with diabetes should have seen that one coming.

The study also showed that there is a much higher incidence of kidney failure associated with type 2 diabetes during the study period. Again, since all of these folks were insured, the quality of the medical care has to be questioned. Diabetes has to be in a fairly uncontrolled state in order to cause kidney damage. That means that education is lacking and people, even if it’s covered by insurance, are not being compliant with their treatment.

Bottom line. Underwriting for life insurance looks for compliance and control in diabetes. Life insurance underwriters are very aware that poorly controlled or uncontrolled diabetes is a problem that carries a viciously high mortality rate. They don’t want anything to do with that type of risk, at least not at reasonable rates. Juvenile onset of type 2 diabetes is a real problem. Underwriters are fussy about people diagnosed in their 30’s and 40’s. What are they going to do when the teenagers of today reach adulthood with 20 years of diabetes under their belt and want life insurance? Will they be insurable at all? The only chance I can see of that happening is if they have really taken charge and are controlling it religiously.