By: Jen Blackstock
If you have type 1 diabetes, you know that the process of obtaining life insurance or long-term care insurance has been a long, tough road, most often leading to the dead end of declined coverage. In fact, most insurance companies have classified anyone with type 1 as an automatic decline, without any consideration of each case individually.
The reason? Type 1 is classified as a chronic condition that has traditionally been associated with more care as a person ages and with a shorter life expectancy. Consequently, many companies have been leery of providing even minimal insurance coverage. Long-term care insurance is especially difficult to obtain because it covers so much that standard medical insurance does not. It provides for the cost of long-term care over a predetermined period, including nursing homes, home care, assisted living, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, nursing home care, and Alzheimer’s facilities. It will pay for a visiting or live-in caregiver, companion, housekeeper, therapist, or private duty nurse up to seven days a week, 24 hours a day, up to the policy maximum. As many families have discovered, long-term care is expensive, and long-term care coverage has saved many a family who would not have had the resources to support an ailing loved one without it.
But as medications, blood glucose monitoring, and life expectancy have improved, so have your chances of obtaining both life insurance and long-term care insurance. Over the past two to three years, insurance carriers have begun reconsidering those with type 1 diabetes, and many have expanded underwriting guidelines for those who have the disease under control.
According to Danny Mensh, president of Mensh Insurance, the basic underwriting criteria for issuing policies to a person with type 1 diabetes may include the following: A1C less than 8%; controlled weight; average fasting blood sugar less than 200; blood pressure less than 140/90; no transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) within the past five years; no smoking within the last two years; no cardiac complications or retinopathy associated with eye impairments; and no chronic steroid usage. All of this means that a road of financial responsibility and planning previously unavailable to people with type 1 diabetes is now open to be traveled.