This is a verbatim copy of the life insurance information page that the American Diabetes Association provides its’ members with. It’s important to note that much of what was written was put in place when a company called US Financial was still in business. They truly did stand out in diabetes underwriting, but they’ve been gone for 3 years. Comments from me are in bold print.
Once a person is diagnosed with diabetes, life insurance policies sold within the United States can become unaffordable or unavailable. This is because life insurance policies are allowed by state and federal law to “rate” or charge a premium based upon an applicant’s health status. In addition, a plan can choose to not provide a policy based upon an applicant’s health status. I just find this a bizarre way to start a discussion on diabetes and life insurance. Policies could be come unaffordable or unavailable, but in all likelihood they won’t. Federal law has absolutely nothing to do with insurance rate classifications. Stating that a plan can choose to do something means absolutely nothing to someone who’s not in the business.
Even so, it is possible for many people with diabetes to find affordable life insurance policies within the United States. You just have to know where to look. Certain life insurance companies, or carriers, specialize in selling policies to people with chronic health conditions like diabetes. US Financial is really the only company that ever specialized in impaired risk. Others have been good at certain aspects but their underwriting has never been truly consistent. That is why using an independent agent is so important.
To find the best life insurance policy for you, please consider the following:
* A major factor in the cost of life insurance policies for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is how well they manage their diabetes. If you have a lower A1C, good blood glucose control, lead a healthy lifestyle, and do not have complications from diabetes, chances are your rate will be more reasonable too. Age of onset is huge also. Especially today with type 2 diabetes occurring earlier due to the epidemic of obesity. The reason that age is so critical is that diabetes, given enough time even with good control, does damage.
* Find an insurance agent that is experienced in obtaining policies for individuals with “impaired risk” — they will know what carriers may offer you a policy and which one(s) may not. You will know a knowledgeable and experienced agent by their questions. If they don’t sound like they understand diabetes, find another independent agent and start over.
* Apply for a policy with a life insurance carrier that uses “clinical underwriting” — a process that looks at your total health, not just what health conditions you may have. US Financial is the company that coined the phrase clinical underwriting and they are the only company that ever truly utilized it. Again, out of business for 3 years.
* Shop around — on the internet, by phone, or through referrals from family and friends. Becoming your own advocate will help you to find a life insurance policy that best fits your needs. You should shop for an independent agent that you trust knows what they’re doing and let them take over the shopping duties. A good agent can cut the weeks worth of your time in just a few days.
* Never take no for an answer! Just because one company rates or declines your application does not mean that another company will not look at you more favorably. Can’t argue with that. There are a couple of thousand companies that sell life insurance in one form or another. There about ten that are truly good at what they do. If you got a decline, there is a very high likelihood that it was because the wrong agent took you to the wrong company.
Bottom line. My personal opinion is that the best suggestion that the ADA had in this whole thing is to “be your own advocate” since they are quite obviously not interested in taking on that task.