Type 2 diabetes is one of those anomalies, like obesity (which happens to be the leading cause), where there seems to be an aversion to calling it what it is, an epidemic. It reminds me a bit of the economic situation in our country and the aversion to using the word recession. Call it a meltdown, but don’t use the R word.

There are 23 million cases of diagnosed diabetes in the US today and everything I’ve read indicates there are probably close to that many undiagnosed cases. If nearly 50 million people had excessive ear wax buildup, it would be an epidemic. If you add to that the nearly 30% of the population that is obese (again, the leading risk factor for diabetes), we are a country that is in more than just economic trouble.

The thing I find most troubling from a life insurance aspect is the trend I’ve seen over the past decade of working with diabetics for a large percentage of them not to address their diabetes or their obesity with any real sense of urgency. It’s like no one has explained to them that they are just a few steps away from heart disease and possible death. I lay that blame partly on the doctors who seem to be too busy billing people to educate them but I also, in this day of Google, can’t see why self education isn’t happening at a faster pace.

The good news is for those who do take their medical situation seriously. For those who do educate themselves and do the right things like losing weight, controlling their diabetes either with medication or diet, and making the lifestyle changes they have to make, life insurance can be very affordable. Optimally a person with type 2 diabetes can still get better than standard rates, a home run where highly rated or decline results can be the outcome.

The key to better rates from an underwriting standpoint is mainly condensed into three criteria.

1. Age of diagnosis needs to be after 50. Diabetes can be a progressive disease affecting the heart, kidneys, eyesight and more. When diabetes starts earlier in life it has longer to damage your body, so later is better.
2. Absence of complications. If the disease hasn’t progressed in other health issues that is an underwriting plus.
3. Compliant and controlled. Underwriters can tell from your medical records if you have taken your diabetes seriously by complying with your doctor’s prescribed treatment and if you have, they can see the control in your lab results, most notably the hbA1c.

Bottom line. Diabetes is at epidemic levels and we, as a country, need to collectively get a grip and deal with it, preferably by prevention rather than treatment. If you have diabetes and want to find out where you stand in regards to life insurance, contact an independent agent today.