Life with Crohn’s Disease can be a rollercoaster experience.
Flare-ups can be so severe, they result in hospitalization. In fact, an estimated 57,000 people are hospitalized for complications of Crohn’s Disease every year. For most people, however, the disease is manageable.
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, Crohn’s Disease is chronically active in just about 1 in 10 cases. For many, the disease is mild and manageable with treatment, resulting in few or no flare-ups from year-to-year.
Since Crohn’s Disease is a non-curable condition, many people wonder whether a diagnosis can affect their ability to obtain life insurance. The short answer is, yes – but the process may be a bit more complicated than getting coverage without a chronic illness. If you’ve been told you don’t qualify for life insurance because of your Crohn’s Disease, don’t give up on getting the coverage you want to protect the ones you love. Continue reading to find out why life insurance is attainable for many people with Crohn’s Disease.
Why Crohn’s Disease Can Affect Life Insurance Eligibility
The job of an insurance underwriter is to assess one’s mortality risk and determine whether the benefits of accepting an applicant’s premiums outweigh the individual risk that person’s health or lifestyle presents to the insurer.
In the case of Crohn’s Disease, every insurance company looks at the disease differently. Some will not consider an applicant with Crohn’s, and those who do are likely to accept applicants on a case-by-case basis. This is because Crohn’s Disease can present unique risks to the insurer, including life-threatening conditions and conditions that require major surgical intervention.
- Intestinal obstructions and perforations
- Massive distention
- Intestinal rupture
- Liver inflammation (sclerosing cholangitis)
- An increased risk of colon cancer
Since Crohn’s Disease can become life-threatening, it can be considered a high-risk condition that directly affects eligibility for life insurance. One study found that mortality rates in people with Crohn’s Disease were 73 percent higher overall compared to the general population. If you have Crohn’s Disease and decide to apply for life insurance, your application may be approved or denied based on several different factors, such as:
- Time since your last flare-up
- Frequency of flare-ups
- Whether you’ve undergone surgical treatment for the condition
- Whether you have developed any secondary complications of Crohn’s Disease
- The age you were first diagnosed. (Studies show that the earlier a diagnosis, the higher the risk of colon cancer and death)
Despite the high risks associated with Crohn’s Disease, many insurers are still willing to provide coverage. That is because no two cases of Crohn’s Disease are the same. In many people, the disease is mild and causes few or no ongoing symptoms. In others, the disease can be well-managed using prescription medications. Since many of the life-threatening complications of Crohn’s Disease are directly related to the severity and frequency of flare-ups and inflammation, insurers may assign risk based on an individual’s successful management of the disease.
What to Expect When Applying for Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease
Applying for life insurance is a deeply personal process. Underwriters will need to know all of the ins and outs of your medical and personal health history. If you list a Crohn’s Disease diagnosis, you will need to answer several questions about your health as it pertains to the disease. Examples include:
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Are your symptoms chronic or episodic?
- How many episodes have you experienced?
- Do you take medications to help manage the disease?
- Have you had surgery to address complications of Crohn’s Disease?
- How many times have you been hospitalized for flare-ups?
- How old were you at the time of diagnosis?
- Do you have any kidney or liver inflammation?
In addition to answering these questions, be prepared to answer additional questions about your health and lifestyle, including information about other illnesses and conditions, as well as information about your family’s medical history. Once your application has been received, you may be contacted to request copies of your medical records – specifically those related to your Crohn’s diagnosis and disease management.
The Application Decision
It can take several weeks for an underwriter to make a decision on a high-risk insurance application. You may be contacted to answer additional questions about your health or to provide additional medical records or other information. Many insurers are quick to approved coverage for patients who have only mild to moderate cases of Crohn’s Disease – especially in cases where there have only been one or a handful of episodic flare-ups that required minimal or no medical intervention.
In general, the longer the span of time since your last episode (6 months or more), the better your chances of being approved for coverage.
However, that does not mean you should continue to wait before applying for life insurance coverage. If your health were to decline while waiting to qualify for a better rate, you might lose your eligibility altogether.
Worse, if something were to happen to you during that time, your loved ones could be left with a major financial burden.
In severe cases of Crohn’s Disease, the application is typically labeled high-risk, and coverage may be declined or otherwise offered at higher premiums. If you are declined for life insurance protection, don’t give up on getting the coverage you need. You may instead be able to purchase a guaranteed issue life insurance policy to protect your loved ones from the burden of final expenses should you pass away.
Keep in mind that one declined application does not mean you will not qualify for life insurance with another company. It helps to know each insurance company’s guidelines for coverage to find a starting point for purchasing coverage.
If you have Crohn’s Disease but wish to purchase life insurance, we can help. There are certain life insurance companies that may be more accommodative to people with Crohn’s Disease than others, and we want to help connect you with them. Contact us today, and let us help find the coverage you need.