You think, “Huh, it’s been a while since I’ve gotten a physical exam, maybe it’s time I schedule one. I’ve been feeling pretty off lately.” After your appointment, you get your results back from your doctor, and she tells you that you have type II diabetes. Your world is turned upside down. You may ask yourself, “Where do I go from here?”
Diabetes is very prevalent, and in the U.S. alone, about 27 million people have been diagnosed with Type I or Type II diabetes. In addition, roughly 86 million Americans have some form of prediabetes. Since the disease is so prevalent, more and more life insurance companies are becoming more lenient when it comes to their underwriting guidelines in relation to it.
This is where Term Life Advice comes in. We work with over 60 top-rated life insurance companies, and are determined to match you with the best company for your needs. Most importantly, our licensed agents are experts at matching their potential clients with the most affordable life insurance options available.
Quick Article Guide:
1. What is Type II Diabetes?
2. Do I Qualify for Life Insurance?
3. Which Health Class Will I Fall Into?
4. What is the Process When Applying for Diabetic Life Insurance?
5. Best Diabetic Life Insurance Companies
6. How to Treat Type II Diabetes
7. What This All Means
What is Type II Diabetes?
First thing’s first: what causes type II diabetes? Type II, also known as adult onset diabetes, is predominantly caused by two things – genetics and lifestyle. If your mom or dad has or had type II diabetes, you are at a greater risk of developing the same disease. While it has not been determined which gene exactly is responsible for the development yet, researchers do know that gene mutations can increase your risk.
Then there’s lifestyle, which many argue is a much bigger piece of the puzzle. Even if you’re genetically predisposed to type II, you can vastly decrease that risk by taking good care of your health and body. How do you do that? Eating healthy, whole, nutrient-dense foods, watching your cholesterol levels, and making sure to exercise often (a 30-minute walk is a good start). Now we’re not saying that you can’t even eat your favorite not-so-healthy foods or take a day off from exercise, just make sure that the majority of your diet consists of good quality foods, and you move your body regularly.
As you may know, there are three categories of diabetes: type I, type II, and gestational. Type I is generally categorized by the body (the pancreas, specifically) not producing any or enough insulin, while type II is when the body usually produces enough insulin, but has become insulin-resistant. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, but blood sugar levels usually return to normal soon after delivery. What does insulin do? Great question.
Insulin is responsible for helping the body store and use sugar from the food you eat to produce energy. If the insulin can’t be used as intended, the glucose (sugar) from what you ate cannot get into the body’s cells and instead collects in the bloodstream. This causes damage to multiple points in the body, and causes cells to malfunction since they aren’t getting the glucose they require. Basically, it’s a cascade of negative effects.
You may be wondering how this will impact your life insurance rates. Yes, some companies may not offer as low of rates as others do, but that’s what we’re here for. Read on to learn some tips and tricks so you can get the rates you desire.
Can I Still Get Life Insurance with Diabetes?
Some people worry that they won’t even qualify for life insurance if they’ve been diagnosed, but that’s absolutely not true! To determine which health class you belong to, here’s some variables that underwriters look at:
- Family history
- Your medical history
- Type of diabetes
- Severity of the diabetes
- How long you’ve been diagnosed for
- How well you’ve controlled it
- Your age, height, and weight
- Your medication(s)
- Your A1C levels*
*A1C levels are the amounts of glycated hemoglobin in your blood.
Overall, life insurance companies just want to know how well you’re managing your disease. If your blood sugar and A1C levels are under control, you’re much more likely to get better rates. What are “under control” A1C levels? Levels below 5.7 percent are considered normal. To be diagnosed with type II diabetes, your levels have to be over 6.5 percent. A general goal for type II diabetics is to get their levels to under 7 percent, but it really comes down to each patient and what their doctor deems a realistic goal.
Here’s what information you should know before applying:
- What date you were first diagnosed: If you are diagnosed past the age of 30, you are more likely to qualify for affordable rates. Any earlier than 30 makes it quite a bit harder to obtain good quality life insurance.
- Your A1C levels: Like stated previously, if you could get your levels to under 7%, that’s great, and you’re much more likely to qualify for a higher rate class than standard. But even so, you can still qualify with levels elevated up to 8.5 percent.
- Your medication(s): How are you controlling your diabetes – through pills, insulin, diet, all of the above? While diet is the ideal, pills are the second best option in regards to underwriting. The least favorable medication is going to be if you are taking insulin, but you can still get affordable rates even so! Any other medications you take will need to be noted as well.
- Your fasting blood sugar level: Typically, blood sugar levels equal to 140 or lower are considered the best possible levels, but you can be considered with levels up to 180. Some underwriters will also inquire about your most recent glycohemoglobin (HbA1c) or fructosamine level if available.
- How often you see your physician: Clients who regularly meet with their doctor and keep their disease well under control are more highly regarded. Meeting at least 2 times a year is recommended, but 4 times or more shows that you’re very proactive when it comes to the disease, and makes you more desirable to companies when it comes to receiving the best rates.
- Any other health issues: Underwriters will want to know if you’ve had any of the following in addition:
- Chest pain or coronary artery disease
- Protein in the urine
- Abnormal ECG
- Kidney disease
- Elevated lipids
- Black out spells
Which Health Class Will I Fall Into?
Life insurance companies have a “risk scale” that they use, which contains 12-16 different rate categories. However, only the top four risk categories are normally shown on quote engines – Preferred Best, Preferred, Standard Plus, and Standard.
If you are a well-controlled diabetic, most companies will offer you a standard rate. However, that’s not always the case. If you’re a diabetic, but control the disease through diet alone and have A1C levels under 6 percent, you can qualify for standard plus rates, which will be more affordable. If you are over the age of 60 with diabetes, you may even qualify for preferred or preferred plus, which are the best possible categories you can fall into. On the other end, if your A1C level is 7.5 percent or higher or you are taking insulin for your diabetes, you will probably get placed in a rate class below standard, such as the table B or D rate class.
Keep in mind though, age is a big factor here. The reason why it is so much more expensive for younger diabetics comes down to the fact that they have had to deal with high blood sugar levels for longer periods of time. The longer one has to battle with that, the more likely he or she is to experience side effects from high blood sugar levels, which include things like neuropathy, retinopathy, cardiovascular disease, or kidney disease.
To give you an idea of what rates you can expect, we compared quotes for a 40, 50, and 60-year-old asking for $500,000 in coverage.
Male Diabetic Sample Rates By Age and Rate Class
|40-Year-Old Male||Standard Plus||Standard||Table B||Table D|
|10 Year Term||$34.40||$39.09||$49.02||$63.64|
|20 Year Term||$51.29||$59.64||$74.36||$97.42|
|50-Year-Old Male||Standard Plus||Standard||Table B||Table D|
|10 Year Term||$71.73||$85.57||$105.01||$138.30|
|20 Year Term||$120.60||$141.87||$178.33||$236.05|
|60-Year-Old Male||Standard Plus||Standard||Table B||Table D|
|10 Year Term||$174.15||$204.11||$258.65||$341.23|
|20 Year Term||$321.20||$388.03||$479.23||$638.95|
Female Diabetic Sample Rates By Age and Rate Class
|40-Year-Old Female||Standard Plus||Standard||Table B||Table D|
|10 Year Term||$27.43||$31.82||$38.57||$49.71|
|20 Year Term||$40.70||$47.21||$58.48||$76.25|
|50-Year-Old Female||Standard Plus||Standard||Table B||Table D|
|10 Year Term||$57.10||$65.44||$83.07||$109.05|
|20 Year Term||$91.50||$108.27||$134.67||$177.85|
|60-Year-Old Female||Standard Plus||Standard||Table B||Table D|
|10 Year Term||$115.50||$135.36||$170.68||$225.85|
|20 Year Term||$223.37||$270.62||$332.47||$441.58|
What is the Process When Applying for Diabetic Life Insurance?
Now that we’ve discussed the health classes and pricing, you’re probably wondering what all the applying process entails. There are two options when it comes to applying: a no exam policy, or a policy including a medical exam. Fortunately in today’s day and age, there are opportunities for both!
No Exam Policies
A “no exam” life insurance policy basically means that you don’t have to complete a medical exam and get blood drawn in order to proceed with applying for the policy. With some medical conditions, it is required to complete an exam before you can get approved. However, if you believe you may have diabetes, but haven’t been officially diagnosed yet, a no exam policy might be a better way to go to get much more affordable rates. If you have already been diagnosed but still want to go the no exam route, there are still options! They just may be a little more expensive.
We’ve already covered the no exam policy, so now let’s move on to policies available with an exam. If you choose to complete a medical exam, an examiner will come to your home, take your height and weight, a small blood sample as well as a urine sample. The whole process normally doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes. After your lab results have processed, the life insurance company you applied with will request your physician statements and look over your medical and prescription records. From there, the underwriter will determine which risk class you belong to and provide you with the rates they can offer.
Here’s an article that discusses what the physical exam involves and how to ace it.
When buying life insurance, it is always best to go with an independent agency (like Term Life Advice…wink wink). Since we work with over 60 companies, we can compare rates and find you your most affordable, yet optimal option. When you do so, your agent will follow up after speaking with your chosen company to let you know if you’ve been approved. We do all the hard work so you don’t have you, and are with you every step of the way.
The Best Diabetic Life Insurance Companies
“So, who are these companies that are going to offer me affordable rates?” You ask. As you may know by now, different companies are going to offer different rates based on your health, age and history. While some may be great for diabetes, others are not going to be as lenient. Here’s a list of our top picks for affordable diabetic life insurance companies:
- Banner Life/William Penn (a Legal & General Company)
- American General (AIG)
- John Hancock Financial, Inc. (especially for those over age 60)
- Lincoln Financial Group (for those over the age of 70)
- Protective Life (for those over the age of 70)
Just remember, there are tons of factors to take into consideration besides your diabetes, so don’t pick a company solely off of that component!
How to Treat Type II Diabetes
While you can still get affordable rates with type II diabetes, most people would rather treat and rid of the disease rather than endure it. Luckily, type II diabetes is treatable! We came up with a few tips on how you can beat it:
Oh boy is this one important. Generally, those who have type II diabetes are overweight. In order to lose weight, you have to eat a healthy diet, along with eating the right amount of calories for your body to be in a slight deficit (we recommend speaking with a dietician to get a personalized meal/diet plan).
Overall, vegetables and fruits are your friends, refined sugars are best if limited, and many recommend going with a lower-carb diet to achieve success (again, dieticians know best).
Ah, everyone’s favorite. While you may not be the biggest fan of it (or maybe you are, we don’t know!), exercise is essential to aid in weight loss and just maintain overall health of your body. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 5 days a week.
In addition, exercise can be very effective in controlling blood glucose levels. When you work out your muscles, they take in glucose from the blood, liver and muscles. When you finish activity, your body starts to replenish its glucose stores by taking available glucose from the blood.
Alcohol and Smoking
This one may seem fairly obvious, but reducing alcohol intake and quitting smoking will vastly help in treating your diabetes, as well as helping your overall health. If you partake in either and are trying to get rid of your type II diabetes, we suggest giving these two the boot.
While we don’t suggest solely taking medicine without practicing the other lifestyle changes, medicine can be very helpful in treating diabetes. We suggest speaking with your doctor to find out which medication or insulin therapy fits best with your specific case.
What This All Means
You may have type II diabetes, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’re doomed when it comes to purchasing life insurance. You still have quite a few options! Whether you decide to go the exam or no exam route, our licensed agents can help find the best company for you and your needs.
If you’d like to get an accurate quote based on your age and health, give us a call today toll-free at: 855-902-6494. Our services are free, and our agency can quickly compare your options and rates by asking you a few questions about your health and lifestyle.
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