Can you get life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis?
“Yes, kale is pretty gross, but you should be healthier.”
“Yes, that Netflix show is addicting, but you have some serious bags under your eyes.”
Here’s an annoying one. Your manager says, “Yes, your presentation was amazing, but I’m not sure the client responded well.”. Ugh.
That often-used little phrase, “Yes, but…”, is common for life insurance and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Our clients will comment, “Yes, I need life insurance, but I’m not sure I qualify with rheumatoid arthritis.”.
To which we respond, “Yes, you can purchase life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis, and it can be complicated.”. See what we did there? Replacing the “but” with an “and” is refreshing.
If you have negative news, be open and honest. Let your colleagues know what the issue is and ask them to be part of the solution. Tough conversations are hard to get through, but honesty and straightforwardness show much more respect than a patronizing “Yes, but.” -Karen Hough,“Yes, But” – The Evil Twin to “Yes, And”, Huffington Post
So, let’s change the conversation from “but” to “and”. There’s a partnership in “and”.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And How It Affects Life Insurance
RA does affect life insurance. To what degree depends on six factors.
- Date of diagnosis – because RA is considered a chronic condition, insurance companies want to know how long you have been treating RA. Their concern is the longterm effects drugs used for RA management has on the body.
- Duration and frequency of RA flare-ups – the more often you have flare-ups, and how long they last, will increase your risk for joint and tissue damage.
- Deformity – insurance companies want to know if you have (and what type) a deformity. For example, a mild deformity of the wrists or fingers or a major deformity of the knees or hips.
- Disability – the inability to live independently and perform the daily activities of living, due to a disability, negatively affects your life insurance rating.
- Medication – how often and what type of drugs used in your treatment plan.
- Parts of the body affected – areas of the body, and to what degree affected by RA. For example, mild wrist pain or lung and kidney damage.
Bottom line – regardless of what stage your rheumatoid arthritis is at, there is always life insurance options.
Different Courses For Rheumatoid Arthritis And How They Impact Life Insurance Rates
As you know, RA is a fickle condition. In fact, most rheumatologists would agree that it’s poorly understood. How it behaves from person to person is entirely unique.
Fast facts about rheumatoid arthritis (Source: American College Of Rheumatology):
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. It is caused when the immune system (the body’s defense system) is not working properly. RA causes pain and swelling in the wrist and small joints of the hand and feet.
- Treatments for RA can stop joint pain and swelling. Treatment also prevents joint damage. Early treatment will give better long-term results.
- Regular low-impact exercises, such as walking, and exercises can increase muscle strength. This will improve your overall health and lower pressure on your joints.
- Studies show that people who receive early treatment for RA feel better sooner and more often, and are more likely to lead an active life. They also are less likely to have the type of joint damage that leads to joint replacement.
- It is important to get the help of a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is a doctor who treats arthritis and autoimmune disease. There are diseases that can be mistaken for RA. It is important to get the correct diagnosis without unnecessary testing. A rheumatologist will help find a treatment plan that is best for your disease.
Generally, there are three courses that RA can take.
- Monocyclic – only one episode of arthritis, ending within 2-5 years after initial diagnosis.
- Sometimes called remissive
- Usually a result of early diagnosis and treatment
- Observed more frequently in men
- More common in patients who tested positive for a rheumatoid factor
- Polycyclic – characterized by the levels of the disease fluctuating.
- Sometimes called intermittent
- Most common
- Constant reoccurrence of RA symptoms, but at varying stages and periods
- Individuals can go for long periods without symptoms
- Progressive – RA continues to increase and severity and does not go away.
- Least common
- Found in patients with most joints involved at diagnosis
- Additional symptoms appear, including disability
- Deliberate treatment plan needed
Let’s look at three examples of life insurance applicants who have rheumatoid arthritis:
- Tom is 30 years old and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis two years ago. He has only experienced one initial flare-up and does not need RA medication. He is an active part of his community and works as an entrepreneur. Tom likely has monocyclic rheumatoid arthritis. Tom would probably qualify for traditional life insurance at Standard rates. This is a best-case scenario.
- Leslie is 40 years old and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis five years ago. Leslie’s rheumatologist prescribed her Methotrexate to manage inflammation. She periodically takes Prednisone for pain management. She has no disability but does have a mild deformity of her finger joint. Leslie lives an active lifestyle and works at her local Parks and Recreation Department. She has polycyclic rheumatoid arthritis. Leslie would likely qualify for traditional life insurance with a Rated approval. A rated approval means that you will pay a surcharge on your life insurance premiums between 20-200%.
- April is 25 years old and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 10 years ago. April’s rheumatologist has prescribed her Enbrel and Prednisone in an effort to get her pain and inflammation under control. April is unable to work due to her severe RA and is disabled. She has deformities of the fingers and toes and is unable to walk for extended periods of time. April’s inflammation has affected her lungs. She has progressive rheumatoid arthritis. April would likely receive a Decline for traditional life insurance. April shouldn’t worry though, because other life insurance options exist, like graded benefit life insurance.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And Life Insurance Approval
We specialize in working with clients with rheumatoid arthritis find the highest quality protection at the best prices available. If you have RA and are seeking out life insurance, it’s crucial to collaborate with an agent with a deep understanding of RA. At Rheumatoid Life Insurance, our job is to be your advocate. As an independent life insurance agency, we will cross-reference the top-rated life insurance companies to find the best rate for which you can be approved.
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