As far as diseases go, Lupus is not the deadliest, but it is one of the most painful and annoying. Those who have the condition can expect inflammation in various parts of the body, leading to extreme fatigue, soreness, rashes, and joint pain.
Since Lupus is an autoimmune disease, it is an ongoing condition that requires regular treatment. If you’re looking to buy life insurance, you may be wondering if it is possible to get coverage with Lupus.
While it can be relatively easy to find a policy, there are some limitations and conditions to be aware of before signing with a company. Here is what you need to know about life insurance with Lupus.
A Primer on Lupus
This disease currently affects over 1.5 million Americans, with an average of 16,000 new cases being diagnosed every year. The Lupus Foundation of America is the leading research organization on the disease, and it provides essential information on the topic.
Up to 90 percent of Lupus patients are women, and most of them develop the disease between ages 15 and 44. That said, men can also have Lupus, particularly those who have other autoimmune conditions or other genetic factors.
There are four different types of Lupus, including:
- Systemic Lupus – This is the most common form of the disease, affecting roughly 70 percent of all patients.
- Cutaneous Lupus – In this case, the disease only affects the skin. Around 10 percent of all Lupus patients have this variation.
- Drug-Induced Lupus – While the symptoms are similar to systemic Lupus, this version of the disease is caused explicitly by medication. Once a patient stops taking the drugs or switches to a different variation, the symptoms often subside.
- Neonatal Lupus – Since most Lupus patients are women, some of them can pass symptoms to their newborn children. Fortunately, the condition usually subsides about six months after birth.
One of the primary issues with Lupus is that it can be hard to diagnose, and researchers still don’t know how it’s caused. Also, patients can have wildly varying symptoms that come and go without reason. Because of these limitations, it can be more challenging to get life insurance. Underwriters are wary of a lack of information, so Lupus can make their job harder.
How Does Lupus Affect Life Insurance?
When shopping for life insurance with Lupus, you need to provide as many details about your condition as possible. You can qualify for term coverage in most cases, but you will likely pay much higher premiums.
There are various components of your situation that insurance companies want to know about before giving you a quote. One significant issue is that there are no standards for covering someone with this disease. Instead, each company sets its own policies, so there can be wildly different outcomes.
Here are the details that can affect your ability to get life insurance with Lupus:
Date of Diagnosis
Underwriters will pay attention to both your age and how long it has been since your initial diagnosis. As a rule, the more time has passed, the more options you have with insurance coverage.
For example, if you were diagnosed within the last year, the insurance company will want to wait to see if your condition worsens. Even if you wait more than 12 months to compare quotes, your rates will still be exceedingly high.
Instead, it’s better to wait until after a few years have passed. The benefit of waiting is that you can better understand your specific condition and provide that information to the insurance company. For example, if you’ve had Lupus for five years but haven’t had symptoms in the last two, your rates will be much lower than if you had applied at year three when symptoms were still present.
As far as age goes, insurance companies will almost certainly decline coverage if you were diagnosed at age 20 or younger. If you’re 60 or over, you will have fewer options available, but it is still relatively easy to find a life insurance plan.
There are a few primary methods for treating Lupus, including:
- Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – Examples include Aspirin, acetaminophen, and NSAIDs. These options can help reduce pain and inflammation brought on by Lupus. Since the medications are over-the-counter, insurance companies don’t worry about them too much.
- Corticosteroids – Drugs like Prednisone can be used to reduce swelling and inflammation. While short-term use is often okay, long-term treatment can create various adverse side effects.
- Antimalarials – These drugs (like hydroxychloroquine) can also reduce inflammation and pain. Unlike steroids, they can take months to produce results. Fortunately, side effects are usually mild, but underwriters want to know about any negative reactions, such as blindness.
- Immunosuppressants – Since Lupus is an autoimmune disease (meaning your T-cells are attacking healthy tissue), immunosuppressants can help reduce the worst symptoms. However, lowering your immunity can make your body more susceptible to other diseases, so these drugs can be a concern to your insurance company.
Overall, the more effective the treatment, the easier it will be to reduce your life insurance rates. However, pay attention to any side effects, particularly if you are on a long-term plan with potent drugs like Prednisone.
Underwriters will also want to see how often you visit your doctor and whether you are following the treatment plan precisely. If not, you could be denied coverage or pay a lot more every month.
Other Health Conditions
Unfortunately, Lupus is usually accompanied by other autoimmune diseases or severe conditions. If you have other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, or depression, the combination can affect your ability to get life insurance.
The primary reason why your rates go up significantly is that Lupus could worsen your other conditions. The more treatments and medications you have, the riskier you are to underwriters.
While it may be tempting to avoid listing these secondary conditions on your application, failure to do so can result in denial of coverage. Withholding pertinent health details is considered fraud, and you will likely be punished accordingly.
How It Affects Your Body
Everyone experiences Lupus differently, which means that some individuals may have mild symptoms while others could have pain and soreness all the time.
This disease can also affect various parts of the body, either individually or all at once. The more places where Lupus symptoms originate, the riskier you are. Symptoms in some areas, like the heart or the brain, can result in denial of coverage because they are so vital.
Another point to consider with how Lupus affects your body is whether the condition is currently active. Lupus symptoms can ebb and flow, potentially with massive breaks between them. So, if you haven’t experienced symptoms in several years, you may be in recovery. Either way, life insurance companies will see you as less of a risk the longer it’s been.
Which Life Insurance Options Are Available With Lupus?
Unless your condition is mild and you rarely show symptoms, you will likely have to purchase term life insurance.
Fortunately, this kind of coverage is easy to apply and qualify for, but depending on the severity of your Lupus, your rates can be high.
Typically, insurance companies offer multiple pricing tiers, such as preferred plus, preferred, standard plus and standard. Outside of these tiers, underwriters use risk tables to determine your monthly premiums.
Risk tables can be categorized by letter or number, with higher ones costing more. For example, a level one rate may be 25 percent higher than a standard plan. By comparison, a level eight rating could cost you three times as much.
Ideally, you won’t fall into one of the table categories, but remember that each insurance company sets its own rules regarding Lupus. So, while you may be a level four with one insurer, you could be a level six with another. This differentiation is why you want to compare as many companies as possible.
Unfortunately, most Lupus patients can only hope to get to the standard level. Preferred and preferred plus ratings are almost always out of reach, so don’t expect to qualify for them.
What If I’m Declined?
Getting declined for life insurance can be defeating, particularly if you are worried about providing for your loved ones when you’re gone. That said, there is always another option. If you’ve been declined for traditional term insurance, you can choose guaranteed issue life insurance instead.
Guaranteed issue policies are exactly what they sound like. No matter your condition or risk level, you will be approved. However, there are some significant catches to consider, including:
- Lower Death Benefit – Most plans have a policy maximum of $25,000.
- Two-Year Waiting Period – Although Lupus is not fatal, you could face complications from medication or other health conditions. With guaranteed life insurance, your recipients won’t receive a death benefit until two years have passed. If you die before then, they will get a return of your premiums, plus a 10-percent bonus.
- Higher Premiums – If you thought paying three times the standard rate was bad, guaranteed issue policies are much worse. Because you are such a higher risk, the insurance company charges an increased premium.
Contact NextGen Life Insurance Today
If you have Lupus, don’t despair. NextGen Life Insurance can help you compare plans and rates from many different insurance companies. From there, you can choose the policy that fits your needs and budget. Let us help you get the peace of mind you deserve. Get your free quote today or call us at 646-216-4199 to get started.