Rheumatoid arthritis is one of those high-risk medical conditions that might have you a little leery on what the best direction may be to obtain life insurance. We get it and it’s what we see on a frequent basis. With any pre-existing medical condition, it can be tough to know the best options or even what life insurance company you should choose. Many of our potential clients ask us, Can I get life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis?
So, can you get life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis? Yes, you can obtain life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis. Approvals will be based on 6 primary factors including,
Don’t worry we, will break these down more in depth later in this post. The point is that although several factors need to be considered to determine your overall risk profile, it’s still entirely possible to obtain life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis. With some diligent planning, transparency with your life insurance agent and the company, your overall chances at approvals are high.
Most likely at rates that are cheaper than you may have initially expected in the beginning. The rest of this post is designed to break down all other factors that can impact your life insurance application and what else you should watch for. By the end of this post, you should feel good about walking yourself through the process of obtaining life insurance with this pre-existing medical condition.
More on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Life Insurance
First, let’s cover some of the basics about rheumatoid arthritis and why it can impact your life insurance application. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Your body under normal circumstances protects itself by fighting off harmful substances and illnesses.
When you have rheumatoid arthritis, your body mistakenly attacks joints instead of other harmful bacteria and viruses. Over time, inflammation begins showing signs inside and around the joints. This becomes uncomfortable for the person experiencing it, and the joints will start to swell, damage cartilage, and slowly eat away at the tissue that covers joints.
RA is, and one of the latest statistics show that roughly 1-2 percent of America is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Most commonly for unknown reasons, RA tends to target and impact women more than men. Currently, the total number affected by RA is roughly 1.5 million. 3 times as many women have RA compared to men and it usually begins showing signs and symptoms between the ages of 30-60.
With life insurance applications while having RA, the small details will matter which is what we are going to cover next.
Underwriting Factors- What the Life Insurance Company Cares About
When it comes to underwriting any pre-existing medical conditions, all the details become important. From height and weight, all the way to tobacco use will be considered by the life insurance company. Life insurance companies do this purely to evaluate your overall risk profile. This helps them to determine if your risk is something they can absorb as a company.
With Rheumatoid Arthritis you will start the underwriting process by detailing the main factors we discussed previously. Let’s recap those factors briefly.
Underwriting Guidelines concerning the Rheumatoid Arthritis
Factor 1- When Was the Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed?
RA is progressive and, in most cases, gets worse as time goes on. If you have been diagnosed with RA recently, your chances of approvals and approvals at good rates increases. If, however, you have been undergoing treatment for some time now, the chances of approval are still good, but the opportunity at the best life insurance rates begins to decrease.
Factor 2- How Often Do You Experience Flare-Ups and How Severe Do They Get?
The less frequent the flare-ups, the better. If you have constant flare-ups with RA, usually, you can expect more joint damage in addition to other damage to the body over time. Fewer flare ups= better chance at approvals and high rates. Frequent Flare Ups= Decreased Chances of high rates and approvals.
Factor 3- How Many Body Parts Have Been Impacted and Do You Have any Major Deformity?
With significant deformity, these cases can become a little bit trickier. It does, however, depend on what type of deformity and what body part has been impacted by the RA. Being detailed with the agent in situations like this is imperative.
Factor 4- Are You Currently Disabled or Receiving Disability Due to Your RA?
If you are receiving disability or you are currently disabled due to the RA, this can become much more difficult to be approved for life insurance. First, with any disability that’s health-related the life insurance company options become very limited. Sometimes it’s tough to gain approval at all. Also, depending on how progressed the condition is, it can be tough to justify the risk to the underwriters. Don’t feel hopeless, however, options do still exist if you fall into this category.
Factor 5- The Medications You’re Currently Taking for The Rheumatoid Arthritis
Medications always carry significant weight with life insurance companies. First, the life insurance company will want to know the following
Once these medications have been detailed to the agent and life insurance company, it’s much easier for them to put all the pieces together and begin seeing a clear picture of the condition and how severe it really is. Chronic pain medication or many different medications can have negative impacts on your application.
Factor 6- Where Are You Experiencing Problems Related to the RA? What Body Parts Are Impacted?
This is also an essential piece of the puzzle to determine if you can get life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis. How much joint damage has already taken place? Are you suffering from any erosion? Are any significant organs being impacted by the RA?
If major organs are currently in play, the chances of approval are slim to none for traditional life insurance (you still have other options available). If significant organs are not being impacted, it will be a case by case bases to determine your overall risk profile.
Now that we have covered the 6 factors that can impact your life insurance while having RA, we need to include the factors that can influence approvals that don’t necessarily pertain to arthritis.
Other Factors That Impact Life Insurance Approvals with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Okay, so you have illustrated and broken down all the information about your condition to your agent. Now, any skilled agent will still have more questions about your health that are important in determining if you can be approved for life insurance with RA. Here’s a look at what to expect.
Possible Outcomes with Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Now that we have all the information necessary to look at the case, it’s time to discuss some possible outcomes that you can expect. To keep things simple, we are going to assume you have no other dangerous hobbies, jobs or issues outside of arthritis. If this is the cases and your RA is relatively recent, flare-ups are limited, and you are not on disability, you could still expect rates as good as standard (3rd best rating available).
The Other Possibilities You May Face
If, however, you have the RA for years, and you have frequent flare-ups and 2 medications or less, you can qualify for sub-standard rates. This means you can still be fully approved, but your monthly premium may be a bit more than the standard price.
The Last Scenario
If you have rheumatoid arthritis for a long duration of time, you have a disability or receive disability and take several medications, you will most likely be declined for traditional life insurance coverage. If this is the case, you need to keep reading about your other options including accidental death life insurance and guaranteed issue life insurance coverage.
How to Battle Back- Preparation is Key with Life Insurance and Rheumatoid Arthritis
So how do we battle back and fight for that approval for coverage? We get it, it’s essential for your family, and yes, there are a few things you can do to prepare and have a better chance. Let’s break them down.
Factor #1- Be Prepared, Diligent and Honest About the State of Your Rheumatoid Arthritis
Having detailed medical records available, dates of significance ready to relay and medications being taken prepared to go, that can go a long way. You see, sometimes with life insurance, it’s a game of back and forth with the company and health information.
First- They Will Order Medical Records from Your Primary Physician- Knowing this and being ready helps speed up the process and gets the company the information that they need.
Second- They will check your prescription history electronically using what’s known as an RX report. Having this report match what is listed on your medication can go along the way making things move smoother and having less back and forth take place.
Third- Having the detailed information about the steps listed above about date of diagnosis
When and if the disability is part of the equation and when certain medications began and why can be critical pieces of the entire puzzle as well.
Understand the Medical Exam Is Most Likely Going to Be Part of It
Yes, no exam life insurance is always an option, but in most circumstances, due to underwriting guidelines, it’s going to be tough to be approved on a case with RA with no exam life insurance. The exam is probably going to be the way to go. If this is the case, consider taking active steps to prepare for the review to increase the likelihood of approvals and approvals at great rates.
First, understand what’s coming with the exam. Blood pressure reading, blood draws, body measurement and more questions will be asked. Here are some ways to be even more prepared to having stellar numbers and to look the best as possible on your life insurance applications.
Top Ways to Prepare for the Exam
Other Options for Life Insurance and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Let’s assume that things didn’t go your way on the first round of the process of applying for life insurance with Rheumatoid arthritis. If this is the case, that’s perfectly fine. It happens. The important thing is understanding not to give up on coverage and protection for your family and to consider other options. Let’s cover two of those options briefly.
Accidental Death Life Insurance
Yes, we understand it’s frustrating not having natural death covered using accidental death life insurance coverage, but some coverage is better than none at all. Accidental death coverage is cheap, provides substantial death benefits and is 100%, no health questions asked. Speak to an agent about this option to learn more of the ins and outs of the product before making a final decision.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
You also have the option to use guaranteed issue life insurance. This is a whole life policy that will provide benefits indefinitely. Being that it’s whole life and has no medical questions asked, these can get a little pricier, but they won’t hold your RA against you, so they still need to be considered as an option. Guaranteed issue life insurance ranges in coverage from 2500-40,000 in coverage and in exchange for not asking medical questions, they will place a 24-month waiting period on full benefits.
This just means that if something happens to you during this period, you will only receive your money and premiums back plus 10% interest earned (usually). In a nutshell, this is a significant savings accounts for 2 years and then becomes a regular, traditional whole life insurance plan that can help provide a decent death benefit to your family if something god forbid did happen.
Don’t Be Declined Life Insurance After Rheumatoid Arthritis
Don’t let Rheumatoid arthritis shy you away from trying to obtain life insurance coverage. In many circumstances, it’s 100% doable, and you can be approved at rates way lower than you probably expected. Speak to an agent that has experience handling tough cases such as life insurance with RA. It’s what we do at Good Life Protection, and we would love to help you too. Start by filling out the quote form on the right to begin or give us a call today to discover what your options may be.
Other Related Questions
Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Considered a Critical Illness
No, rheumatoid arthritis would not be considered a critical illness in the eyes of the life insurance companies. If you currently have a life insurance policy that has this benefit built into the payouts, RA would not trigger the opportunity to cash in on some of this death benefits early.
Is It Considered a Pre-existing Medical Condition
Yes, when it comes to life insurance, rheumatoid arthritis would be considered a pre-existing medical condition or a high-risk medical condition and could easily impact your rates for your life insurance.
Josh Martin is the founder of Good Life Protection. He began his career as a captive Agent working for New York Life Insurance Company. After continued education and designations, Josh founded Good Life Protection to provide consumers with more options and insurance that truly fits into your budget and health classification.