Diabetes Lifeline: Life Insurance, Anyone?

SOS Again: I’m back today with another pressing query for Diabetes Lifeline, the new Lifesaver_2“community category” I’ve created to post some of the appeals I get via email. So many people in need of assistance… I’m hoping you all can respond with your experiences and offer a helping hand.

Recently I received this email from a concerned mother named Pat:

My son Matthew is 33, married with an 11 year old son. He was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the ripe old age of 30. Matthew has been turned down for life insurance through his company because of the diabetes. Matthew is so careful and works so hard to keep his insulin in check. He is just devastated that he can’€™t get life insurance for his wife and child. Do you have any experience with this situation that you could share with us? We would appreciate any help you can give. Surely there’€™s some company out there that covers diabetes patients?

Later I got the chance to personally query her son, Matt Collins:

Were you able to get any coverage from your employer?

I was able to get medical coverage through my company, but no life insurance. I never even had the chance to prove that I’m in good health (despite being T1 diabetic). I filled out the registration form (which only wanted basic info about chronic illnesses) and sent it in. The only correspondence that I received was from the company was telling me that my family had been approved for life insurance but that I was declined. The way the registration form was set up, it seemed to me that no matter what chronic illness you had or listed, they weren’€™t going to approve you. (I’m not sure if that’€™s their legal right or not, but I do know that they made NO mention about that requirement on the form.)

What about the risk/emotional toll for you and your family?

At first I was very angry. But then I felt depressed, inadequate, and worried for my family.

To be honest, after all this time I still haven’€™t found insurance. But I haven’€™t been aggressively looking either. The whole ‘€œlife insurance’€ experience has last a bad taste in mouth — so I’€™ve yet to get properly motivated in searching for other life insurance companies.

– M.C.

Tips, anyone?

**** UPDATE: Comments are fixed on this post!
Apologies for the inconvenience — I hope you will re-try to add your input here. ****


9 Responses

  1. Kassie
    Kassie May 12, 2007 at 1:22 pm | | Reply

    I’ve recently felt the sting of insurance rejection, though I was lucky when employed – my employer offered a policy equivalent to annual salary regardless of health – no questions asked.

    The ADA has a fact sheet on insurance, and I know actual people with diabetes who have purchased life insurance outside of work, but it’s a challenge. Check out http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy-and-legalresources/healthcare/lifeinsurance.jsp

  2. Wil
    Wil May 12, 2007 at 1:24 pm | | Reply

    My brother, a Type 1 diabetic from the age of 10, was also denied life insurance coverage. His only solution was to purchase, in annual increments, equivalent cash cost of an annuity. That amounted to a tidy sum upon his death some 40 years later.

  3. john
    john May 13, 2007 at 7:18 am | | Reply

    Get a financial advisor.
    They will help you figure out how much you need to get, and will deal with many insurance companies – knowing which ones will cover you.

    The big factors are A1C and complications.

    I got a half million policy with an A1C of 7.8, 42 year old – t1 for 37 years. $3500/year

    I am hoping to reapply with a better A1C. Or even better, a cure in the next decade.

  4. Hamish
    Hamish May 13, 2007 at 6:35 pm | | Reply

    There must be a big difference between insurance for T1 and T2. Last year All State had no problem giving me a quote for life insurance despite me disclosing type 2 diabetes to them (don’t think they have a check box for type 1.5). It was more expensive than for someone without diabetes, but not crazy expensive.

  5. EmilyS
    EmilyS May 14, 2007 at 5:32 am | | Reply

    This probably doesn’t help Matt at all, but when I started my current job there was a 60 window in which I could enroll in the life insurance program without any questions asked about my health. I have had type 1 for 12 years. After that period, I was told that I would have had to fill out a questionaire and possibly have a physical. I would have to check to see who my employer gets insurance through.

    Below I am including a link to Ed Hinerman’s blog, who I have seen comment on http://www.diabetesblog.com. He is also an insurance underwriter, and doesn’t seem to think that diabetes automatically makes anyone uninsurable.


  6. john
    john May 15, 2007 at 5:00 pm | | Reply

    hey, the flip side….you can get long term healthcare at a decent rate.

    They think once things go downhill, you wont be around that much longer.


  7. Ed Hinerman
    Ed Hinerman August 19, 2007 at 7:57 pm | | Reply

    I hear the frustration, but please know that not all insurance companies treat diabetes equally. Where one will call you uninsurable before you even get the whole word out of your mouth, another will simply want to know more information.

    If you know you have good control and the insurance company or agent doesn’t seem to care or know what you are talking about, find a new agent. Get an independent agent as opposed to an agent who represents only one company.

    Don’t give up. I don’t and it’s paid off for plenty of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

  8. Michael Hitcho
    Michael Hitcho August 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm | | Reply

    Matthew, there is plenty of hope for your situation. If your A1C is between 6 and 8 with daily readings of under 145, there will be a few major insurance companies that would like to have your business. Keep in mind that I’m not talking about the insurance companies that you get your car or home insurance from.

    If your readings are higher, there are a handful of insurers that would issue you a non medical policy. The only down fall is that they usually have a few restrictions should something happen to you in the first 2 years.

    Something is always better than nothing. Take a look at: http://www.diabetesandlifeinsurance.com

  9. Hadley
    Hadley May 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm | | Reply

    If you have tried specialty insurance brokers with access to high risk life insurance companies with no luck, there are still guaranteed acceptance life insurance plans that may be available. The trouble is, the rates are very high and the amount of life insurance is usually limited to around $25,000 or less, depending on the carrier.

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