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Life Insurance with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Finding affordable life insurance if you have rheumatoid arthritis can be extremely challenging. Contact us if you have rheumatoid arthritis and want to explore your options for life insurance, have been denied life insurance, or are worried that you are paying too much for your current policy.

The biggest challenge consumers with rheumatoid arthritis face when purchasing life insurance is getting the insurance company to understand the details of their specific fight with rheumatoid arthritis. The truth is that rheumatoid arthritis has a wide spectrum of symptoms and severities. In addition, every patient responds differently to the medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, especially with respect to the DMARDs.

The good news is that not all insurance companies are the same. They all have different underwriting guidelines, both in terms of the medical conditions they will accept and the prescription medications they accept. There are many insurance companies that will issue a life insurance policy on a person with rheumatoid arthritis. However, between insurance companies, there are a wide range of prices and health class ratings that each company will apply to insurance applications that are exactly the same.

Medical Treatment for RA

Medications used to treat and control Rheumatoid Arthritis and other inflammatory types of arthritis fall into the following categories: NSAIDS, conventional disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, glucocorticoids (also called steroids), and pain relievers.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis there is a good probability that it took you and your rheumatologist several tries before finding the right combination of medicines to treat your specific conditions. Because rheumatoid arthritis is so complicated, not everyone responds the same way to the same medication or combination of medications. As it relates to life insurance, the underwriters want to see stability in the progression of the disease. Remission is a best case scenario; a lack of getting progressively worse is great outcome.

How Does the Insurance Company Review Your Health

There are four ways insurance companies gather your health and medical information. The first ways is simply asking you about your health history on the insurance application. It’s important to be as forthright as possible when answering the questions because much of the information will be verified through other sources. It will raise a red flag if there are large discrepancies between what you put down on the application and what the insurance company finds from other sources.

The second source of information for the insurance company is a paramedical exam and review of your APS (attending physician’s statement), also known as your medical records. For a fully underwritten term insurance policy, the insurance company will set up an appointment for a medical exam technician to come to your residence and gather information that can include: blood sample, urine sample, pulse, blood pressure, EKG, saliva sample, height/weight measurements. For a fully underwritten policy, medical records will be requested for almost all applicants with rheumatoid arthritis.

Click here to review life insurance options that don’t require a medical exam.

The third source of information for the insurance companies is checking the MIB database. If you have applied for insurance in the past, the information you put on the application is probably in the MIB database. Insurance companies use this database to prevent fraud and to make sure they don’t miss any information relevant to the underwriting process.

The fourth source of health information for the insurance companies is a service called ScriptCheck. This allows an insurance company to review your prescription medication history. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis it is extremely important that we have a complete history of your prescription medications.

If it took you several different tries before you found the right combination of medications or biologic DMARD, we can put that history in a cover letter with the insurance application to explain how you were finally able to stabilize the disease progression. As an example, If you were taking prednisone in the past but have stopped or reduced the frequency of use, this is important and positive information. Another example would be if you tried Humira for six months but then switched to Enbrel and had positive results.

We can also use this information to get an informal response from the insurance company about how they would rate your application. This way we can quickly figure out which company will be the best fit you before submitting a formal application.

Common Medications Used to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

DMARDs used to treat RA include the following:
● Conventional DMARDs
● methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall, Otrexup, Rasuvo)
● sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
● hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
● leflunomide (Arava)
● tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)
● cyclosporine (Neoral)

Biologic DMARDs used to treat RA include the following:
● etanercept (Enbrel)
● infliximab (Remicade, Remsima, Inflectra)
● adalimumab (Humira, Exemptia)
● golimumab (Simponi)
● certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
● anakinra (Kineret)
● abatacept (Orencia)
● rituximab (Rituxan)
● tocilizumab (Actemra)
● belimumab (Benlysta)
● azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan)

Forms of Arthritis

A comprehensive list of arthritic conditions is below. Don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation if you have any questions about how any of these conditions affect your ability to obtain life insurance.

● Metabolic Arthritis
● Juvenile Arthritis
● Bursitis
● Adult Onset Still's Disease
● Fifth disease, also called Erythema infectiosum
● Calcium pyrophosphate Deposition Disease (CPPD) or Pseudogout
● Juvenile Ideopathic Arthritis
● Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
● Ankylosing Spondylitis
● Gout
● Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM)
● Chrondromalacia patella
● Behcet's Disease
● Hereditary hemochromatosis or iron overload disease
● Juvenile Lupus or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
● Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS)
● Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
● Juvenile scleroderma
● Degenerative Disc Disease
● Cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS), or cryopyrin-associated autoinflammatory syndrome a family of three diseases: neonatal onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID), Muckle-Wells syndrome and familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome
● Kawasaki Disease
● Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip
● Familial Mediterranean Fever
● Rheumatic Fever
● Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
● Fibromyalgia
● Osteoarthritis
● Giant cell arteritis (GCA)
● Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)-associated arthritis is a simple term for enteropathic arthritis
● Chrondromalacia patella
● Lupus
● Spinal stenosis
● Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
● Tendinitis
● Paget's
● Palindromic rheumatism (PR)
● Psoriatic Arthritis
● Raynaud’s phenomenon
● Reactive arthritis
● Rheumatoid Arthritis
● Scleroderma
● Sjögren’s syndrome
● Spondyloarthritis
● Giant cell arteritis (GCA), or temporal arteritis
● Vasculitis
● Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), or Wegener's granulomatosis

About the author:

Bearcat Brant sells life insurance as an independent life insurance agent, providing his expertise in the State of California.