Life Insurance with Ulcerative Colitis
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UPDATED: Jul 9, 2019
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Buying life insurance while younger and in better health is not only simple but very affordable. However, if you have pre-existing medical conditions, it gets very challenging to find the best policy at the best price with the appropriate carrier.
For those who seek affordable life insurance with ulcerative colitis, this article is for you. I will cover the underwriting questions you should be ready to answer and the expected rates if you have a history of ulcerative colitis. Let’s get to it!
What Is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which affects the digestive tract. It attacks the large intestine (colon) and rectum. The symptoms include diarrhea with blood, cramping, and abdominal pain among many others. There are a few types of ulcerative colitis which are distinguished based on its location.
- Ulcerative proctitis: The inflammation is around the anal area. This is the mildest form of ulcerative colitis. The symptoms are rectal bleeding.
- Proctosigmoiditis: The inflammation affects the rectum and sigmoid colon (lower end). The symptoms are cramps and pain, bloody diarrhea, and inability to move bowels.
- Left-sided colitis: The inflammation extends from the rectum up through the colon. The symptoms are bloody diarrhea and pain and cramping on the left side.
- Pancolitis: Typically affects the entire colon. The symptoms include severe bloody diarrhea, pain, cramping, fatigue, and significant weight loss.
- Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a rare form of colitis which also affects the entire colon with the usual symptoms such as cramps, severe pain, and bloody diarrhea. It adds another one, the inability to eat.
What Are the Insurance Companies Looking for When Insuring Individuals with Ulcerative Colitis?
Buying life insurance with pre-existing conditions calls for a distinct set of questions. Since every health ailment poses a unique risk to the insurance carrier, there is a set of questions the underwriter follows to determine your eligibility for coverage and the rates you can qualify for.
Not all health ailments have equal risks. For instance, having a heart attack three months ago is very different than being overweight, taking a high blood pressure pill is unlike than having Type 2 diabetes. Let’s look at some of the questions the underwriter will ask if you have ulcerative colitis.
1. Date of First Diagnosis
You should expect this question anytime you have any health ailment. The underwriter tries to gauge the risk you pose by estimating the length of time you have dealt with ulcerative colitis. The longer you have had it while entirely controlled, the better rate you can expect. However, if you have been diagnosed with it for less than six months, you can expect a postponement (not eligible for coverage for the time being).
2. Note the Type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Present
There are two main types of ulcerative colitis the underwriter is looking at: chronic ulcerative colitis and chronic proctitis (inflammation in rectum only). The second condition, inflation in rectum only is a milder form of the disease when compared to inflammation of the entire colon.
Of course, the type and the number of episodes you have had, or currently have, will play a significant role in determining your eligibility or the rates you can qualify for. The last factor the underwriter considers will be if the condition was operated on or not. You have a better chance for a standard rate if a total colectomy was done and there were no complications.
3. Are You on Any Medications?
By now, you should be aware that the more medications you are on, the less control you have over the ailment, and the less likely you will get coverage issued. There are a few types of medications and treatment, such as anti-inflammatory drugs or immune system suppressors, to help you cope with ulcerative colitis.
Red flags will be if you are continually changing drugs, losing weight, or when the condition deteriorates. You will need the names of the medications, dosage, and how long you have been using them. Having that information before applying will help your broker in choosing the appropriate carrier.
4. Have You Had Any of the Following:
- Hospitalization due to ulcerative colitis
These are some, but not all, of the sub-questions that are related to treatments or complications of the ailment. Any time you have been hospitalized for ulcerative colitis, it would suggest a severe condition which often results in declined coverage.
The underwriter asks this question to get an additional assessment of the severity or complexity of the disease. Also, note that those with ulcerative colitis have a higher likelihood of developing colon cancer, so having a colonoscopy with regular checkups is essential as a preventative measure and early detection. If you have documentation of such, you definitely want to tell your broker and present it when applying for coverage.
5. What Is Your Build?
The underwriter will ask this question regardless of whether you have ulcerative colitis. In fact, it’s the second question, after your age, a broker would ask you when quoting life insurance rates. However, this becomes even more imperative when you have ulcerative colitis because rapid weight loss is one of the symptoms of a chronic type of ulcerative colitis which indicates deterioration and a chronic condition.
Losing weight and appetite, especially when you need that nutrition, is a huge red flag to the underwriter and will result in a postponement for coverage.
What Other Questions Will the Underwriter Ask?
As mentioned before, ulcerative colitis isn’t the only condition you will need to address when applying for life insurance coverage. There are questions about your driving history, felony conviction, bankruptcy, and even your profession. Below are a few of the basic questions:
- Current age
- State of residence
- Height and weight
- Income and liabilities
- High-risk hobbies (if any)
- Current and past health history
- Family history
- Foreign travel
- Smoking habits
- Alcohol habits
- Driving history
- Criminal history
- Prescription usage
What Rate Class Can I Qualify for If I Have Ulcerative Colitis?
This is where a broker can help. Every life insurance company has its own underwriting guidelines they follow to classify a client’s risk and to make sure the carrier doesn’t go under by issuing life insurance for anyone who wants to purchase. After all, could you imagine a company who issue policies for everyone without asking any health questions, or a bank who gives loans to anyone who asks politely? You get my point.
A broker knows which company to place you with based on your ulcerative colitis type, medication usage, and episodes. Better yet, if there is no chance for you to get a policy, he/she will let you know right over the phone instead of going through the underwriting process and waste 4–6 weeks.
I will estimate a few of the rates you should expect if you have ulcerative colitis. However, this is only general information, and you should treat it with a grain of salt.
- Six months or less since diagnosis or sever episode: Postponement
- Six months to two years since diagnosis: Table B, C
- More than two years since diagnosis: Table B
- More than ten years since diagnosis and no medication usage for five years: Non-rated
- Two severe episodes in the past year or three in the past three years: Table F
- If total colectomy was done with no other complications: Standard
Life Insurance with Ulcerative Colitis Sample Monthly Rates
40-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
40-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
50-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
50-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
60-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
60-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
This is our quick guideline for buying life insurance if you have ulcerative colitis. I sincerely encourage you to work with a broker who represents many companies and let him/her submit an anonymous underwriting pre-screening with as many companies as possible to get the best price. I must say it’s better than you trying to apply to ten different companies in the search for the best deal. You are not only wasting your precious time but if one company denies your coverage the rest may follow.
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