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Life Insurance and Arthritis

If you are one of the more than 50 million people in the US with doctor diagnosed arthritis, you have come to the right place. We are experts at helping people with arthritis find the best policy at the best price.  Call us today for a free consultation and quote.

Arthritis is a complex condition and, although extremely common, not understood well by most people or insurance agents. We take  the time to understand your personal health history, arthritis condition and associated medications.  It is a crucial part of our process of matching you with the best insurance carrier for your unique situation.

You might not believe it but in some cases it is possible to get a standard rate on life insurance if you have rheumatoid arthritis or other rheumatic condition. Our detailed knowledge of the underwriting guidelines for numerous carriers ensures that we will find you the best possible policy.

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One common misunderstanding is that arthritis is a single disease.  In fact, arthritis is simply a term for describing joint pain or disease. While osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms of arthritis, it turns out there are more than 100 different types of arthritis conditions.  Arthritis is also the leading cause of disability in today’s workforce.

Understanding the complexities and nuances of your particular arthritic condition is critical to getting an insurance company to view your case in the best possible light.  Each insurance company has slightly different underwriting standards and guidelines. Our deep and detailed understanding of each carrier’s underwriting guidelines allows us to find you least expensive and best life insurance policy. For all of our cases we write a cover letter with your insurance application to give the insurance company a better understanding of your unique situation.

Another reason we get to understand your unique arthritis situation is that insurance companies fear the unknown.  Therefore it is extremely important to be 100% honest and open about your arthritis condition and history.  The more detail and history we can give them, the better they will view your case and the cheaper your insurance rates will be.  It’s very important to give them as much detail as possible and show that you are receiving regular medical care and that your condition is stable.

What type of arthritis or arthritis related condition do you have? Arthritis conditions can be separated into five broad into five broad categories: degenerative arthritis, inflammatory arthritis, metabolic arthritis (gout), infectious arthritis and juvenile arthritis.  Osteoarthritis is the most common form of degenerative arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis.  Unfortunately there are no cures for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.  The goal for treatment is pain reduction, control of disease progression and maximizing the ability to lead a productive and active lifestyle.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of degenerative arthritis and results from a breakdown of cartilage in the joints and underlying bone. More than 30 million people in the United States are suffer from osteoarthritis and it is the leading cause of disability in the older population. The occurrence of OA is concentrated in the hand joints, back, hips, knees, and big toes. The lifetime risk of developing OA of the knee is about 46 percent, and the lifetime risk of developing OA of the hip is 25 percent, according to study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.

Preferred insurance rates for people with osteoarthritis are available from many carriers.  If there is an obstacle to getting the rating class you want, it usually is due to other health concerns.  We perform a deep dive into carrier underwriting guidelines to find the best fit for each individual. You can find more information on this website about how osteoarthritis impacts your life insurance rates

Symptoms of OA typically include joint pain, stiffness, joint swelling and decreased range of motion. Unlike other types of arthritis, only the joints are typically affected. Osteoarthritis is more than just wear and tear on the joints. It affects the entire joint. This includes the cartilage, joint lining (synovium), ligaments and bone.

Medical Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Medications to treat osteoarthritis include analgesics, NSAIDs, corticosteroids and opioids.  Off label use of a Cox-2 inhibitor can also be prescribed in some cases.

Non-medical treatment for mild osteoarthritis includes:

  • Low impact exercise with appropriate rest
  • Regular exercise
  • Keeping weight under control
  • Physical therapy strengthening muscles near the affected joints
  • Avoiding excessive repetitive movements

In addition to any prescription medications, which the insurance company needs to know about and understand the reason why they were prescribed, we always include in our cover letter a description of the non-medical healthy living activities you perform.  The insurance underwriters want to know how the arthritic condition is affecting your daily quality of life. The more active you are, both recreationally and at work, the better it is from the insurance company’s perspective.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Types of inflammatory arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosying spondylitis. The most common form of inflammatory arthritis is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  According to the CDC, more than 1.5 million people in the United States have RA. With autoimmune/inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is critical. Insurance companies want to see that you are getting regular medical care for your RA and that the symptoms are stable and under control.  The longer you have had a rheumatic condition, the better it is from an underwriting perspective.

RA is a chronic disease so once you’ve been diagnosed, you will have it for the rest of your life.  The goal of treatment is remission or slowing of adverse symptoms.

Infectious Arthritis

Infectious arthritis is an infection in the joint, usually caused by food poisoning, a sexually transmitted disease or hepatitis C.  The initial infection usually starts in another part of the body. Symptoms of infectious arthritis include

  • Intense pain in the joint
  • Joint redness and swelling
  • Chills and fever
  • Inability to move the area with the infected joint

Reactive arthritis is a form of infections arthritis  that is a “reaction” to an infection in your body. “Inflammation” is the way tissues react to injury or disease. It can cause swelling, redness, heat, and pain. Besides inflamed joints, reactive arthritis can have two other symptoms: red and inflamed eyes and an inflamed urinary tract. These symptoms may occur alone, together, or not at all.

Gout

Metabolic arthritis or gout, occurs when uric acid forms as the body breaks down purines. Purines are a substance found in many foods and the human body. Symptoms usually affect the foot and include swelling, redness, intense heat and pain.  Gout tends to be episodic but it can become chronic if not treated through lifestyle changes and doctor prescribed medications. Gout medications include OTC NSAIDs, colchicine (Colcrys, Mitigare) and corticosteroids such as prednisone.

No Medical Exam Life Insurance and Arthritis

If you have arthritis, it is possible to obtain a life insurance policy without a medical exam. There are simplified issue term life insurance policies and whole life insurance policies that many people with arthritis will qualify for.  In addition a lower cost accident only policy might be a good option for your situation.  As a last resort there also guaranteed issue policies available to people with arthritis.

 

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