I recently had a person email to tell me they had been declined for life insurance because they had a successful gastric bypass surgery three years ago. They wondered if, since this had come at the hands of a reputable company, they were just saddled with the fact that they were uninsurable no matter what.

They were uninsurable when morbid obesity would have been a kind way to describe their situation and among other health issues they were also dealing with type 2 diabetes. Now, three years later their weight is stable and very respectable and they are no longer diabetic and they are being told that they are still uninsurable. What gives?

Gastric bypass has been on an underwriting roller coaster for the past several years. At first companies were accepting the new weight of an individual one year after the weight had stabilized. So, if you lost 100 pounds in six months and leveled off, at 18 months out from surgery you could get insurance that was based on your new weight. Then some companies jumped clear off the deep end and wouldn’t consider someone until 5 years post bypass. Most recently the trend has been toward two years post bypass and at least one year of stabilized weight.

The problem from a consumer perspective is that there are companies that have stepped off the ride at different points and because of that, without the guidance of an informed independent agent, a person can inadvertently, innocently pick the wrong company and get mowed over like the gentleman I described above.

The good news is that there is good news for those who have chosen to undergo a gastric bypass procedure in order to get their lives back under control. Life insurance companies recognize that the procedure has risk, but many of them also recognize that there is great reward and a new life once the risk has passed.

Bottom line. Gastric bypass has survived the stigma of being the easy way out and is now recognized as a life changing and life saving decision. With life insurance the key is finding a company that supports that idea.