Diabetes And Long Term Care Insurance

What A Diabetic Needs To Know To Help Get Approved For LTCi

Spotlight Series on Select Health Conditions and Long Term Care Insurance

This week’s focus…

Can a Diabetic Buy Long Term Care Insurance?

So can someone with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes buy long term care insurance? The answer is in many instances Yes and, in some cases, No. Typically, a diabetic just assumes the answer is No and fails to go any further…and this is the reason for this blog!

Diabetes can happen at any time (I would know…my mother and younger brother were both Type 1 Juvenile diabetics and my older brother was just diagnosed Type 2). And with so many Baby Boomers reaching their mid-50’s and 60’s it is becoming an increasing concern for this huge population.

In a recent annual report from The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics which looked at 2014 statistics on the health of all Americans it was reported that almost 20% of baby boomers between the ages of 55 – 64 had some type of diabetes.

People in their 50’s and 60’s are also seriously looking at the costs of future long term care. Many have seen the impact of long term care costs with their parents. And to compound things, in these time of volatile financial markets, people are looking at ways to protect much less growing their hard-earned retirement funds.

Underwriting someone with a medical condition for long term care insurance is not always “black and white.”

In the world of long term care insurance perhaps the most important thing to remember as a consumer is that each insurance company has its own set of underwriting guidelines that it follows. Some will insure a Type 1 under certain conditions, others will not. Almost all will insure a Type 2 under most conditions.

As an aside, if you are someone whose family has a history of diabetes, but you are not diabetic at the time you apply for long term care insurance, no insurance company will penalize you for that fact.

In my opinion, if you are someone whose family has a history of diabetes, I would strongly suggest looking into purchasing long term care insurance sooner rather than later.

Good news for Type 2 Diabetics

Generally speaking, Type 2 diabetes is controlled through either a dietary regimen, oral medication or with insulin.

Almost all long term care insurance companies will offer coverage to Type 2 diabetes well controlled by diet, exercise and oral medication. Some companies want to see a history of your A1C (blood sugar) levels. Some have conditions that include no smoking for an extended period of time and no presence of other (co-morbid) complicating health conditions.

In many cases, the well-controlled Type 2 diabetic can receive a “standard” offer which results in a premium that is considerably less than a “rated” offer. Don’t get me wrong, getting ANY offer with diabetes is worth carefully considering!

About Type 1 (or Type 2 where insulin is used) Diabetics

A Type 1 diabetic will use insulin on a daily basis. In some cases so may a Type 2 diabetic.

For either of the above the insurance companies who will consider offering coverage is much more limited. However, there are a few companies who will still consider making an offer under the right circumstances.

One of the most important determinations in considering an offer is the amount of insulin use per day and how long the disease has been present. As an example, if someone has been a diabetic for less than 20 years and is using less than 50 units of insulin per day (generally A1C levels must be within an acceptable range), there is a very good chance an offer can be made (must consider the below as well).

As an alternative to an individual policy, especially for someone who is Type 1 with some complicating factors, you may want to consider whether your employer or unions may offer a group LTCi plan with some simplified underwriting requirements. Perhaps there’s a professional association you belong to that may have a LTCi plan to consider.

Impact of having Other Health Conditions in Addition to Diabetes

As with any underwriting, whether for long term care insurance or life insurance, the underwriters of the respective companies don’t look at diabetes alone. They look at a number of other factors, in addition to the diabetes, in deciding if someone who is diabetic can get coverage.

In insurance lingo, some of these conditions are what is referred to as “co-morbid” conditions. In layperson’s language it simply means, are there other health conditions present that when looked at in addition to the diabetes, may result in any, or all, insurance companies being unable to make an offer? Or are there complications which have arisen as a result of the diabetes?

Conditions such as the presence of cardiac disease or related condition such as a stroke? History of vascular or kidney disease? Are there neurological disease complications? These can most likely result in the company being unable to make an offer.

Whether a diabetic smokes or not (and how long if he or she did smoke has it been since they quit) is often an important factor…though being a smoker does not always mean no offer is possible.

In addition, most companies look at whether or not the diabetic has weight issues. Or has a high A1C. Simply put, the companies have to look at the “big picture” when underwriting someone with diabetes.

Buying Long Term Care Insurance with Diabetes Can Be a Reality

It is very important that someone with diabetes work with an experienced and independent LTCi advisor. The last thing you want to have happen is having an application submitted to a company that simply won’t make an offer and you get declined. At that point it becomes more difficult (though not impossible) to help find you a company that will offer coverage.

A qualified LTCi advisor will help you shop for the right company and the appropriate coverage.

As an independent LTCi Advisor, my goal is to provide unbiased advice and help educate you on the various options available to you when planning for Long Term Care.
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Scott F. Coomes, J.D., CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®

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