Nearly 24 million Americans age 20 or older have diabetes. For many, the process of obtaining insurance protection, especially life insurance or long-term care insurance (LTCi), can be a difficult road. Often time-consuming efforts lead to being declined coverage.
Historically, many insurance companies have classified anyone with type 1 diabetes as an automatic decline, without any consideration of each case individually. Type 2 diabetes is generally treated differently.
The reason for automatic declines arise from the fact that type 1 diabetes is classified as a chronic condition that has traditionally been associated with more care as a person ages and with a shorter life expectancy.
Long-term care insurance is especially difficult to obtain because it covers so much of the needed care that standard medical insurance does not cover.
Some 8 million Americans now have some form of long-term care insurance in place and about 350,000 new policies are placed yearly according to the 2010 Long-Term Care Insurance Sourcebook. LTCi protection pays for home care, assisted living and care in a skilled nursing home care or Alzheimer’s facility. As many families have discovered, long-term care is expensive, and long-term care coverage has saved many families who would not have had the resources to support an ailing loved one without it.
There is good news for the millions of Americans with some form of diabetes. As medications, blood glucose monitoring, and life expectancy have improved, so have the chances of obtaining both life insurance and LTC insurance. Insurance carriers are willing to considering those with type 1 diabetes, and many have expanded underwriting guidelines for those who have the disease under control.
According to Scott Olson, president of LTCShop.com, Some carriers will not consider anyone with type 1 diabetes. Others treat type 1 just like they treat type 2. And, some long-term care insurers will health underwriter type 1 tougher than they do type 2.
Those who treat type 1 diabetes just like type 2 are typically looking at the following: How much insulin does the applicant use. Most insurance companies are looking for usage of less than 50 units per day, but it can be higher in some cases.
Insurers will also look at the applicant’s height and weight. The higher the weight, the less likely the chances that the applicant will be approved. A1C is hugely important. Most LTC insurers want a1c to be below 8.0. But, some will accept higher numbers.
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Finally, insurers will look for what are called co-morbid conditions, especially heart disease. If someone has diabetes and heart disease it can be very difficult to get approved, Olson notes. Which company will approve them will depend upon what type of heart disease (valvular disease, CAD, atrial fibrillation)
Insurance companies that treat Type 1 differently than Type 2 are looking for the following addition information in the process of health underwriting applicants for coverage. They’ll want to know the onset age for the condition.
Not only will acceptable health conditions vary from one insurer to another, costs for protection can vary significantly according to research conducted annually by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry’s trade organization. Companies offer different discounts notes Jesse Slome, the organization’s executive director. It is especially important for those with diabetes to work with an experienced professional who understands what various insurers look for.