This is a surprisingly common health condition that affects pregnant women.
But how does gestational diabetes affect life insurance?
It’s normally a temporary condition. But in some cases, it can have longer-lasting consequences. One is that it can lead to Type II diabetes. Negotiating the life insurance labyrinth takes a mix of skills and experience. It’s usually possible to get life insurance with gestational diabetes, and sometimes even at preferred premium rates.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Diabetes itself is a disease in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, or when the body does not respond properly to insulin. The condition affects the babies of untreated mothers. They can grow too large, which may result in injuries at delivery. Gestational diabetes is a common reason for cesarean section, which minimizes injury to the baby.
The baby can also experience a sudden drop in blood sugar immediately after birth. This may require treatment with a glucose solution given through injection. The baby may also be at higher risk of developing jaundice and respiratory problems.
Gestational diabetes is actually fairly common. It affects 6% of pregnant women. There is a higher likelihood of contracting the condition if you are obese, have high blood pressure, have experienced gestational diabetes in previous pregnancies, or have a family history of diabetes. It’s also more common if you are older than 30, or come from certain ethnic backgrounds, including African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or Pacific Islander.
The condition typically develops after the 20th week of pregnancy, at which point the fetus has already fully developed. The risk of birth defects can increase if you have had undiagnosed diabetes before pregnancy. That’s determined by high blood sugar levels during the first 6 to 8 weeks of your pregnancy.
With gestational diabetes, the child is more likely to develop type II diabetes (though not type I diabetes), and to be overweight throughout life.
Fortunately, the condition usually disappears after delivery. However, women who have experienced gestational diabetes have a 50% chance of developing diabetes within 20 years of delivery.
How Life Insurance Companies Consider Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes itself is not a major risk factor for life insurance purposes.
It can be controlled with proper diet and exercise. The concern is the potential for a woman with gestational diabetes to develop type II diabetes later in life.
Given that there is a high likelihood of developing type II diabetes within 20 years of pregnancy, the greatest effect may be on longer-term policies, such as whole life, or term policies taken later in life. The onset of type II diabetes could lead to a greater likelihood of heart disease or stroke.
If you have experienced gestational diabetes, and you make an application for life insurance, the company will look closely at your family’s medical history. Your policy may be assigned a higher premium if type II diabetes is prevalent in your family history.
A medical exam will be required.
That will include taking your weight and height measurements, as well as your pulse and blood pressure. You will also be required to provide a urine sample and a blood sample. The blood sample will include testing of your A1C reading. A reading of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes. Between 5.7% and 6.4% indicates prediabetes. (Below 5.7% is normal.) Either could be a factor in determining the outcome of your application.
You have an excellent chance of being approved if you haven’t developed type II diabetes. It will be possible to receive a risk rating of preferred, though a standard rating is more likely.
How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Life Insurance
Don’t apply for life insurance if you are pregnant and you have gestational diabetes. The insurance company will underwrite your application as though you are a diabetic. That will very likely result in a decline. Wait until after the pregnancy, when the condition subsides.
Even if you do not have type II diabetes, underwriting will be looking for signs of prediabetes. It’s determined by your A1C reading or a blood glucose level exceeding 100. A family history of type II diabetes is also an indicator, as is obesity.
You can help your cause by maintaining proper nutrition in the aftermath of gestational diabetes. This will also help to maintain acceptable A1C and blood glucose level readings. It’s also important to maintain a proper weight-to-height ratio. You can do this with a mix of proper diet and regular exercise.
The insurance company will do an evaluation of your body mass index, or BMI. Another important consideration will be your ability to return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
The existence of other health conditions can also be a factor. These can include hypertension and high cholesterol readings. The use of tobacco or illicit drugs can negatively affect your application. The same is true of excess alcohol consumption.
If you need life insurance during pregnancy take a short-term policy. You can make an application for a longer-term policy after both the pregnancy and gestational diabetes are over.
Choosing the Right Insurance Company Makes All the Difference
Ultimately, the most important strategy when you have gestational diabetes – or any other health condition – is choosing the right life insurance company. Never assume that all insurance companies view a given health condition the same way. Each company has a slightly different position on gestational diabetes. Sometimes the difference is substantial. Knowing which ones view it in the most favorable light is critical.
One company might take a very dim view of gestational diabetes. They may assign a substandard rating to your policy and charge you a very high premium. They may do this even after gestational diabetes subsides after pregnancy. Another company might have a very favorable view. They may assign you a preferred rating, and charge you a very reasonable premium.
Why the difference in the two extremes? Each company underwrites policies based on their own industry experience. One company may have found that gestational diabetes produces higher than normal risk. Another may find that it adds only minimal risk.
In addition, insurance companies often specialize in certain niches. These can include people with different health conditions, like hypertension, smoking, and gestational diabetes. They may have a somewhat different way of underwriting these policies, enabling them to capture a market that most other companies are avoiding.
We work specifically with people who have health conditions. We know which insurance companies are the most receptive to those conditions. Put our experience to work for you, so that you will get the right insurance policy for the lowest premium. Give us a call, or complete the quote request to the left of this article.