Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Life Insurance? [Complete Guide]

Written by Heidi Mertlich

Meet Jane. She has rheumatoid arthritis. Jane is looking for life insurance to provide protection for her family. Jane feels confused and frustrated. Are you like Jane? There’s hope!

Let’s spend the next five minutes finding out how rheumatoid arthritis affects life insurance and what you can do about it.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is fairly common. It’s the second-most common type of arthritis, behind osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. – The Arthritis Foundation

RA is inherently more difficult to treat. It falls into the autoimmune category of conditions and those are tricky and confusing.

In rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system becomes confused and attacks the lining of joints. At times, it can progress and attack major organs, like your heart or lungs.

Women are diagnosed about three times more often than men. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. Like osteoarthritis, pain, stiffness and swelling in joints are the primary symptoms.

Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect major organs, cause deformities and disabilities.

Two classes of drugs: DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) and biologics are used to treat RA. Additionally, NSAIDs and steroids control inflammation. A deeper synopsis of RA can be found here.

It’s routine for people to wonder if and how their rheumatoid arthritis might affect their life insurance rates.

The short answer is that arthritis can affect your life insurance. However, there are a number of variables that determine to what degree your life insurance is affected.

Jane Wants To Know: Can I Get Life Insurance With RA?

Let’s analyze Jane’s concerns.

  1. Jane wants financial protection. No one likes to think about it. But, if you have loved ones that depend on you, life insurance is a must. In the event of a tragedy, Jane’s life insurance proceeds can:
    1. Pay for funeral costs
    2. Finance future needs, like college tuition
    3. Pay off outstanding debt, like a mortgage or credit cards
    4. Cover daily living expenses, like food, rent and utilities
  2. But, Jane has rheumatoid arthritis. Jane’s concerns over her RA are understandable. Yes, her RA can affect how much she is charged, or impact her ability to be approved, for life insurance. Here’s what life insurance companies will want to know about to know about Jane’s rheumatoid arthritis:
    1. Date of diagnosis
    2. Duration and frequency of flareups
    3. Any deformities from RA
    4. Any disabilities from RA
    5. Parts of the body affected
    6. What RA medications are used
  3. Can Jane be approved? Jane’s ability to be approved for traditional, fully-underwritten life insurance depends on a number of factors, primarily stemming from the six items listed above. Each individual is unique, but the general guidelines are:
    1. The best rating Jane can receive is Standard because she has rheumatoid arthritis. This means she is approved for traditional life insurance at regular pricing rates.
    2. It’s typical for patients like Jane to be Rated due to the medications they take or chronic pain they experience. This means Jane would qualify for traditional life insurance, but would pay a surcharge of somewhere between 20-200% on her premiums (the amount you pay in exchange for insurance).
    3. Sometimes a Decline received. Jane could be denied traditional life insurance, for example, if she is unable to work due to a rheumatoid arthritis disability, has lung nodules and atherosclerosis as a result of inflammation, and is on chronic high dose medications to control flareups, like prednisone.
  4. What if Jane is declined? Above all, Jane shouldn’t despair! There are always life insurance options.
    1. The first thing Jane should do is reevaluate her decline by speaking to an expert life insurance agent, specializing in rheumatoid arthritis. Even after a denial, clients can reapply for traditional life insurance if it makes sense.
      1. It’s important to apply with the right life insurance company. Not all carriers view rheumatoid arthritis the same.
      2. Jane’s agent needs to submit her application in the best light. Many times this includes a cover letter and specific details about Jane, highlighting why she deserves coverage.
      3. If traditional life insurance isn’t an option based on Jane’s health status, there are still life insurance options. Jane can speak to her agent about a Graded Benefit Life Insurance policy.

Jane Needs To Take Action

Jane’s best chance of securing life insurance is today. Yes, it’s possible that she could improve her health or lifestyle and possibly qualify for lower rates in the future.

But, it’s not worth the risk. Jane doesn’t want to think about it, but it’s true that no one is promised tomorrow.

Our best advice is to purchase the best coverage you qualify for today. If your health improves in the future, you can always reapply for better rates.

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How Jane Can Prepare

There are a number of things Jane can do to prepare for a life insurance purchase.

  1. Determine how much coverage.
    1. Generally, 10 times the amount of your annual salary is recommended. However, there are many factors that influence how much life insurance makes sense. The age of your dependents, how many working years you have left, the amount of debt you have, and what you want life insurance proceeds to accomplish influence the amount you want. Remember, stay-at-home moms need life insurance, too!
  2. Decide on who your beneficiaries will be. 
    1. If the beneficiary is a minor, consult with a lawyer first. Life insurance companies won’t pay proceeds to a minor directly. Trusts are established for beneficiaries under 18.
  3. Have a list of all physicians, including rheumatologists.
    1. Include their contact information.
  4. Have a list of all medications taken.
    1. List the dosage and frequency.
    2. Document the start date of the medication(s).
  5. Be ready for the life insurance medical exam. 
    1. Schedule the test in the morning because fasting is required.
    2. Don’t drink coffee or use tobacco products.
    3. Do drink plenty of water.
    4. Avoid salty or fatty foods the day prior.
    5. Get plenty of sleep the night before.
    6. Don’t schedule the exam during a menstrual period because it affects the urinalysis.
    7. Avoid alcohol or drugs.
    8. Avoid strenuous exercise the day prior.

We Can Help Jane

Jane isn’t alone. In fact, there are thousands of “Janes”, each with their own unique story, finding their way through life with rheumatoid arthritis. One amazing blogger, Tanya, describes her relationship with RA succinctly.

The silver lining of RA, if there is one, is that it forced me to appreciate the small victories in my life, the littler things I’d accomplished, the finer moments being present with my family. -Tanya, Mom’s Small Victories

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.

Fill out our Instant Quote form to get started.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis Life Insurance
About Rheumatoid Arthritis Life Insurance

We work with individuals across the nation to secure the best life insurance rates.

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2 Comments

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March 16, 2017 at 3:38 pm

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April 14, 2017 at 8:31 pm
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