Did you go in for a routine health screening to find out you have diverticulosis? Do you need life insurance and are worried you might not qualify? Check out our latest article to learn more.
Life Insurance with Diverticulosis
For some, getting life insurance is a daunting task that is sometimes avoided until it’s too late. What do we mean by that? Well, some people wait until they get a medical diagnosis before they start the process of getting life insurance.
And those people sometimes are surprised by the rate they get and the premium cost for the coverage they need. Having health issues is very common today. Most people have at least one health issue. And, as we age, we have a greater chance of getting diagnosed with a health condition.
For some, they may not know that they had a specific health condition because some have no symptoms. One of those conditions is diverticulosis. While some people do have symptoms, they can be mistaken for other conditions. Then, they have some testing done and find out it’s something like this.
Diverticulosis may sound scary, and you might worry that you can’t get approved for life insurance with it. We are here today to tell you that you can get approved and can still get a good rate.
Let’s take a look at what diverticulosis is and what it means for your health. Then, we’ll go over the steps you’ll need to take in the life insurance process and how to get approved. As always, we’ll offer some tips on how to get the best rate.
What is Diverticulosis?
Your digestive tract includes the colon, large and small intestines. The tract has an inner and outer lining to protect the rest of your body from the digestive process.
Diverticulosis happens when a pocket or pouch forms along your digestive tract. The pockets push through the weaker inner lining into the outer lining. The pocket/pouch is called diverticulum if there is only one, and diverticula if there are several.
These pouches happen most often in the colon and are more common the older you are. It is rare for someone 40 years old or younger to have diverticula. As many as half of Americans will have a diverticulum by the age of 60.
According to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), almost everyone will have them by the age of 80.
Earlier we said that most people do not have symptoms, and that’s true. It is usually found during a routine exam for another health condition.
Still, some people do experience symptoms, which include:
If left unchecked or untreated, this condition can lead to diverticulitis. This is when the pouches become infected or inflamed. Symptoms of diverticulitis include:
- Abdominal pain (especially on the left side)
Like we said before, most people find out they have diverticulosis when being examed for another health condition.
The most common way this condition is diagnosed is during:
- Physical exam
- CT scan
- Polyp screening
While it isn’t exactly known what causes diverticulosis, doctors believe the main reason is due to a low fiber diet.
Fiber helps move food through the digestive tract and also helps reduce the chances of constipation. When someone is constipated or has trouble eliminating, they tend to strain to relieve themselves. Over time, constipation and straining can lead to stress on the colon, causing diverticulosis.
This is the reason most diverticula are found in and around the colon. It’s also why pain on the left side is common. The sigmoid, or descending colon, is located on the left side of the abdomen. The colon is narrowest here and has the greatest pressure within the digestive tract.
Once you’ve been diagnosed, there are some things your doctor can prescribe as a treatment plan.
The treatment can include any or all of the following:
- A high fiber diet
- Fiber supplements
- Medication for pain relief
- A liquid diet
Once you have diverticulum in your digestive tract, they will not go away. However, being proactive can reduce your chances of getting diverticulitis.
If you are experiencing no pain or discomfort, your doctor may monitor you and not prescribe treatment. If they do, it is always advised to follow your doctor’s orders. Because if you don’t, it can lead to diverticulitis and it could also affect your life insurance rates.
The Life Insurance Process
If you are ready to start the process of getting a life insurance policy, here are the steps you will have to take.
Get a Quote
First things first, you have to get a quote. If you aren’t perfectly healthy, it’s always best to work with a licensed life insurance agent.
An agent works directly with the life insurance companies and knows which are best for which health issues. This gives you the greatest chance of getting approved with the most favorable rate and pricing.
Another reason it’s important to work with an agent is because they can help you through the process. They can make sure you have all your information and documents available to make the process run smoothly.
But the best part about working with a life insurance agent? It’s at no cost to you. The agent helps you get the best quote and chance of being approved without costing you any more money.
It’s really a win-win situation and one of the smartest decisions you can make. Of course, after making the decision to get life insurance to protect your family and their lifestyle.
When preparing to complete the application, you’ll need to gather information and maybe even supply documents.
You’ll have to answer standard life insurance questions like everyone else. But with a diagnosis like diverticulosis, the underwriters will want to know even more.
Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- When were you diagnosed with diverticulosis?
- What screening did you have done when you were diagnosed?
- What other health issues do you have?
- Did you require surgery due to your diagnosis or other health issues?
- What treatment plan did your doctor prescribe? Are you following it?
- Have you had any complications due to your diagnosis like bleeding, fistulas or abscesses?
Depending on your answers, you’ll have to provide further information; like doctor’s information, surgery dates and outcomes, and medication information.
The underwriter assigned to your case may also check the Medical Information Bureau to confirm this information. This website can help them confirm the information you provided.
It’s never okay to lie on an application, especially for life insurance. If you are found to have lied on your application, you can be denied – no matter how healthy you are.
The Medical Exam
After your application is complete, you’ll likely have to complete a medical exam. This is where you go to a lab facility or have a lab tech come to your house to take some samples.
They will confirm some information on your application, ask you some more questions, and then take samples. The samples of blood and/or urine will be sent for analysis and results sent to the life insurance company. You will also get a copy as well to review and can share with your doctor if you choose.
Once all your case information is gathered, the underwriter will make a decision. If they offer you a rate, it’s based on:
- Your current health
- Your family’s health history
- Any health conditions you’ve had within the last 10 years
- Your driving record
- Might include credit check (the agent will let you know if this is the case)
What Rate Can I Expect to Get?
Here are the rates broken down from the best (least expensive) to the worst (most expensive).
This rate is for the healthiest of people. Even though you have diverticulosis, you might be able to get approved for this rate.
You will have to have had a colonoscopy within the last six months to show no flares or attacks. You can’t have any other health issues and have to be within the normal range for height and weight. No complications from your diagnosis or surgery can be found or you won’t qualify.
You have a better chance of approval for preferred than preferred plus. If you had surgery for your condition, you won’t qualify. You have to be in good health and show no signs of flares or attacks within the last year.
If you had to have surgery for your diverticulosis, this is the best rate you can hope for. Tests have to show no attacks or flares within the last year after surgery. The condition has to be well controlled.
Your health should still be good but you have a little more room with this rate. If you are slightly overweight or have a less risky health condition like high cholesterol, you can still qualify.
Substandard (Table Rating)
If you had surgery and/or complications from your condition or the surgery, you might get this rate. The severity of your condition and any other health conditions determine the rate.
For best results, wait at least a year after surgery to get a quote for life insurance. That way, you can show you’ve followed doctor’s orders and improved your health. If you haven’t within the year, expect a substandard rating.
There is a chance you can get denied, even if you haven’t had surgery. If you are not in that good of health, are a smoker or overweight, you could get denied.
Internal bleeding or progression to diverticulitis could also get you a life insurance denial.
How Can I Increase My Chances of Getting Approved for Life Insurance?
Here are some tips we can offer to get approved for life insurance with diverticulosis.
Eat a High Fiber Diet
This is the best thing you can do for your health and your condition. A high fiber diet won’t cure you, but it will keep flares and attacks at bay. You also probably won’t get diverticulitis if you improve your eating habits.
Not sure what to eat that’s high in fiber? Here are some foods you should consider:
- Black beans
- Lima beans
- Kidney beans
You can also take a fiber supplement or product that can be mixed into water. You should be consuming between 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day for best results.
Get More Exercise
Specifically, aerobic exercise. Not only can it help to keep your weight in check, but it can also help you digest your food. Food and waste move faster through the colon and reduce the risk of constipation and straining.
Aerobic exercise is considered cardio, and here are some ideas to get you started:
- Brisk walking/jogging
- Jumping rope
- Riding the elliptical/stationary bike
- Doing cardio classes like Zumba or spin class
Aim for at least two and a half hours of aerobic exercise each week.
Once you start eating foods that make you fuller and getting more exercise, you don’t want to derail your efforts. If you are a smoker, you should seriously consider quitting.
Not only is it better for your health, but it automatically qualifies you for better insurance rates.
A word of caution – constipation is a known side effect of quitting smoking for some people. Make sure you are already eating your high fiber diet before you quit.
Are you ready to get started with your life insurance quote? You can get one right here!