Trying to get life insurance with Cushing’s Syndrome does not mean you are automatically disqualified.. But the treatment, prognosis, and your current health are going to be the deciding factors on what coverage, if any, you’re able to get.
Let’s find out more about Cushing’s syndrome and how to qualify for your best price when applying for a life insurance policy.
What is Cushing’s Syndrome?
Cushing’s syndrome, which can also be called hypercortisolism, is a hormone related syndrome caused by excess cortisol in the body. It is considered a rare disease which affects women more often than men and is most common in people 20 to 40 years old.
Cushing’s disease is specifically caused by a tumor of the pituitary gland in those who have Cushing’s syndrome and is diagnosed with further testing.
The most common symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome are:
- Red face
- Round face
- Irregular periods
- Poor concentration
- Thin arms and legs
- Weak muscles
- Poor short term memory
- Weight gain, especially in the neck region and abdomen
- Excessive hair growth in women, mainly on the face and neck
- High blood pressure and/or sugar levels
Doctors who think you might have Cushing’s syndrome will send you for further testing to confirm their suspicions and rule out other issues. This is due to the fact that some of these symptoms are common among the general population, and could mean you have another condition or health concern that they want to rule out before confirming your diagnosis.
The Pituitary Society calls conditions that closely resemble or could be mistaken for Cushing’s syndrome “Pseudo-Cushing’s state” and can include:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Psychiatric disorders
- Excessive strenuous activity
- Extreme obesity
Initial testing is done on patients by having them take a saliva and/or urine cortisol test. Further testing is done by a suppression test to determine if the body is regulating cortisol correctly.
Once diagnosed, doctors will run further tests to try to determine the cause. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the most common cause of Cushing’s syndrome is taking high doses of glucocorticoid medications over a long period of time.
If your doctor finds that your Cushing’s is caused by glucocorticoids, they will reduce the dosage to the lowest that will control the disorder. They may also switch medications to a non-glucocorticoid.
Other treatments include radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. The treatment is determined by the cause of your Cushing’s syndrome. It is possible to cure Cushing’s in some patients.
Have your health information ready
When filling out the life insurance application, you will have to answer some health questions. In order to prove how healthy you are despite your Cushing’s syndrome diagnosis, you will have to provide information for the underwriters to get a good picture of your health.
That information will include:
- Your doctor(s) information – name, office address, phone and fax number
- Date of diagnosis
- What tests were run and what was the outcome of each
- Were they able to find a cause? If so, what caused it?
- Date and type of surgery completed, if any
- All medications currently taking or recently completed
- Any long term plan you and your doctor have come up with and the goals you are working towards
- You will be asked whether or not you are a tobacco user
- You will also need to have all relevant information on any other medical issues you have/had, especially if they have to do with your Cushing’s syndrome diagnosis
The more thorough you are in providing information, the better chances you have of getting the best rate possible for your life insurance policy with cushing’s syndrome. The agent helping you with your quote can guide you to the product that you have the greatest chance of getting approved.
Of course, we cannot stress this enough – always be honest when completing the application. Any omission or lie could cause you to be denied for life insurance, even if you are otherwise healthy. You will be asked if you have been denied life insurance before and, if so, what the reason was. So, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to getting a life insurance policy.
How can I get the best rate?
Your current health is going to be the second most important factor for the insurance company to determine your policy rating.
Picking the right insurance company is the most important. Each company has its own criteria and qualifications, so it’s important to find the one that will work best with your situation with Cushing’s Syndrome. Luckily, we provide company reviews that can help you decide which one might be the best fit for you.
If your Cushing’s diagnosis was within the last 10 years, you may not qualify for no exam life insurance and will have to go with a fully underwritten policy. If that is the case, you will have to complete a medical exam so the life insurance company can get a deeper picture of your current and future health and mortality risks.
Having to take the medical exam may not be the worst thing for you. If you are otherwise healthy and your Cushing’s syndrome is well controlled or has been cured, the company will most likely give you a standard rating.
With a condition like Cushing’s, it will be near impossible to get a preferred rating on your life insurance policy. However, being in optimal health and having had your Cushing’s cured means that it is not out of the question with the right company.
Getting even a standard rating will be good news since no exam life insurance usually comes at a higher cost.
If you have other underlying health issues, like being overweight or high blood pressure, you might get a substandard or table rating on the policy. This means you will pay higher rates than a healthier person for the same policy.
Tips for getting the best rates
If you are a smoker…
Consider quitting. Don’t just consider it, DO IT!
Not only will it give you better rates to be a nonsmoker, but the likelihood of a Cushing’s syndrome diagnosis with being a smoker may very well make the policy too expensive and unaffordable.
Or worse, get you denied by the carrier.
If you are overweight or close to it, chances are you likely have some other health issues as well. By being active, exercising regularly, and eating a healthier diet can help you take charge of your health and potentially get a higher life insurance rating.
Think about how much money a better rating will save you over the life of your policy. A savings of even $10 a month over the course of a 20-year term policy is $2,400! When you are getting quotes, be sure to ask about the price for the next best rating, so you can compare the savings. It might just be the motivation you need to kick it in gear and start taking action to lose some weight.
Not only will it get you cheaper life insurance, but it will also add years to your life and hopefully encourage you to continue to make healthy choices as you age. It sounds like a win-win to us!
Put off getting life insurance
We know it might sound crazy to put it off. But it’s something to consider, especially if your diagnosis was within the last five years and you are still being treated for it.
This is especially true for those who have had other diagnoses along with Cushing’s syndrome, like a tumor or cancer.
If your Cushing’s syndrome was cured, then you stand a much greater chance of being approved for life insurance than if you are still being treated for it. The longer you wait between diagnosis and submitting the application, the better the odds of getting an approval.
What if I don’t qualify?
If your specific prognosis is poor and you have other health issues, you probably won’t find a company willing to approve your application and issue you a policy.
If that happens, don’t panic just yet! We have other options for you.
Check with your employer, if you haven’t done so already. Chances are, you can get a sufficient amount of group life insurance through them for a very small amount of out of pocket cost. Some companies even offer up to a certain amount completely free for their employees.
The great thing about group life insurance is there are no health questions on the application. However, if you leave your job or are let go, you might not be able to take it with you and you will be left without life insurance.
If all else fails, you can still get some minimum coverage with guaranteed issue life insurance. You may not be able to get as much coverage as you would like or need and the price may be higher. But, you can at least get something in place to ease your family’s financial burden when you pass.
If your health improves down the road, you can always apply for life insurance again to see what rate they will offer you. This is just one reason why maintaining a healthy lifestyle is so important. However, we understand that not all health conditions are easy to avoid, which is why we are here to help provide you with a smooth and transparent life insurance process.
We work with some of the top-rated life insurance companies and will always try and get you the best rate possible. Get your quote today!