Some people think that once they are diagnosed with thrombocytopenia or any disease, it automatically disqualifies them for life insurance. They give up before they even try, wrongly assuming that the company will take one look at their application and stamp it with a big red DENIED!
If you’re one of those people, we hope by reading through our blog you’ll understand that sometimes people just can’t qualify for the life insurance they need but at other times they do qualify and get a better rate than they ever thought was possible.
All by simply doing some research before applying, reaching out to licensed agents to discuss specific health problems, and making sure you have the right information prepared, you can make sure you’re prepared to start the application process.
While it isn’t necessarily hard to apply for life insurance with thrombocytopenia, you do need to be aware of the extra steps it will take to get the best policy. And, what it means if your health causes a denial or substandard rating.
Today, we discuss thrombocytopenia, and what it takes to get approved for a life insurance policy with this health condition.
What is Thrombocytopenia?
A person who has thrombocytopenia has low blood platelets in their bloodstream. Platelets (thrombocytes) are the colorless blood cells with the important task of clotting your blood to prevent you from bleeding to death when you are injured or have had surgery.
A normal person has anywhere from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter in their blood at any given time. Anything lower than this figure is cause for concern and the need for testing to confirm thrombocytopenia.
You can inherit this condition or acquire it later in life, and there isn’t always a cause that can be attributed to it. Having this condition could mean your bone marrow doesn’t produce enough platelets, your spleen holds on to too many of them, or your body destroys them before they can be put to use.
There are three types of thrombocytopenia:
- Idiopathic (or immune) thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
- Most common condition
- Immune – diagnosed when an underlying autoimmune disease causes the body to attack its own healthy cells
- Idiopathic – diagnosed when your doctor is unable to determine the cause of your low platelets
- Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
- Much rarer than ITP
- Formation of small clots in the circulatory system
- Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)
- Rarest form and most severe
- Usually caused by kidney or liver disease
The most common symptoms reported include:
- Enlarged spleen
- Unusual heavy menstrual periods
- Blood in urine or stool
- Easy or excessive bruising (purpura)
- Superficial bleeding under the skin (petechia), mostly on the lower legs
- Cuts that won’t stop bleeding
- Nose and gum bleeding
As with most conditions, symptoms can mean any number of ailments or health issues. You always want to see a doctor and get tested to rule out any other problems and to help pinpoint what is going on so you can get the right diagnosis.
Your doctor will do a complete medical history and physical exam to verify all your symptoms and rule out any other possible conditions. They will also order a complete blood count (CBC) test to determine the number of blood cells and platelets per microliter.
If the cause is not evident once these tests are complete, you may be sent for additional testing to try to determine the cause of your low platelet count.
The type of treatment you are prescribed will depend on the cause and severity of your platelet condition.
You may have to undergo:
- Blood or platelet transfusion
- Plasma exchange
- Treatment of underlying issue causing low platelet count
What can I qualify for?
Having a cause for the disorder will likely get you a better rating for your life insurance policy, depending on your other health circumstances.
Also, keep in mind that life insurance companies look back at your health over the past five to ten years. This means anything that has happened medically will be taken into consideration when deciding to offer you a policy and at what rate.
If you had thrombocytopenia but have since recovered and are in otherwise great health for your age, you actually have a chance at getting a preferred rating on your life insurance policy. This isn’t the norm and you shouldn’t expect it right off the bat, but it can happen if there are no other health concerns and you’ve had high platelet counts for at least the last two years or more.
With this diagnosis, you should be prepared to get standard rates at best. Be prepared for substandard or table ratings, especially if you are still undergoing treatment or have another health issue that either caused or was caused by your thrombocytopenia.
Make sure when you are getting quotes for life insurance that you are honest with the agent. This way they can offer you the best rates for your individual health and help you meet your expectations when you fill out the application.
If you have not already done so, check out rates online from some of the best companies in the business or give one of our advisors a call to discuss your case.
How can I get the best rate?
To make sure you get the best rate you qualify for, you will have to be prepared with a lot of information to complete the application. If you haven’t already done so, read our recent article on how to get cheap life insurance for tips on getting the best rate.
There are basic medical questions that everyone has to answer on a life insurance application. You should also be ready to answer any of the following questions:
- What is your most recent platelet count?
- What was your baseline platelet result?
- How long ago were you diagnosed?
- Have you been hospitalized or had surgery for this condition?
- What is the cause of your thrombocytopenia?
- Are you on any medications for this condition?
- Are there any other health issues?
- Were you cured of the condition or is it chronic?
- Do you have any upcoming procedures or surgeries related to this diagnosis?
Based on the answers to your questions on the entire application, and results of the medical exam, the life insurance underwriter will determine the best rating for your policy.
To be better prepared for the rating determination, make sure you have a general idea on your overall health. Check out the results of your latest blood work and physical exam. If you don’t have any other health issues, you have the chance of getting standard or better rates.
If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol readings, or some other form of health concerns, you should be prepared for a standard or lower rating, which comes with higher premiums over the life of the insurance policy.
What if I get denied?
Sometimes, even your best effort falls short and you are denied for a life insurance policy. You have a few options to choose from if this is the case.
You can get quotes for no exam life insurance. As the name suggests, you don’t have to do a medical exam, but you still have to answer some health questions. If you’ve been hospitalized or had surgery, or your thrombocytopenia hasn’t been resolved, you might not be able to get this type of policy either.
There is also the option of guaranteed issue life insurance. This is the most expensive option, but you are guaranteed the policy as long as you are still alive and can make the premium payments. This type of policy should be a last resort due to its expense and low coverage options, but it’s better than nothing.
What if the policy is too expensive?
If you apply for a policy that is based on standard rating premiums and then get approved for a substandard policy, the rate will be more expensive. How much more is determined by your health issues, age, and exam results.
You might find the policy is too expensive for you to afford. You have options here as well.
Every state has what’s called a free look period. This means that for a certain amount of days (at least 10, some states allow more) you can decide if you want to keep the policy that the insurance company offers. If you decide you don’t want the policy, you can decline and get back any premium you paid for the policy.
One of the best things about the free look period is that if something happens to you while you are reviewing the policy, the insurance company will honor the policy and provide the death benefit to your designated beneficiary.
This gives you not only peace of mind, but time to check other rates and compare to see what you could get with another company. You might find a no exam policy that has a cheaper premium that you can choose to get instead.
Just make sure that you act quickly to get something in place before your free look period expires, so you don’t go without coverage.
If you haven’t done so already, make sure you check out our free life insurance quotes, provided by some of the best life insurance companies!