UPDATED: May 8, 2020
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In the United States, there are about 1.5 million people diagnosed with lupus, with about 16,000 new cases occurring each year. Although lupus can affect anyone, it’s known to mostly affect women between the ages of 15 and 44.
Life insurance is yet another challenge for people with lupus. Insurance companies don’t have specific life insurance plans that cover lupus, and so lupus patients are left to wade through pools of insurance plans to find a suitable option.
So, how can you get term life insurance with lupus? How do life insurance companies handle applicants with lupus? How can you prepare for the best outcome? Our guide will answer these questions.
To get a primary understanding of what a good rate means, get an initial rate quote right now and then jump back to read on. Simply use the quote tool above to get term life insurance with lupus now.
Top Insurance Companies for Patients With Lupus
We’ll cover how insurance providers set rates for lupus patients a bit later in the article. First, let’s review which providers will cover lupus patients.
Since lupus is considered a pre-existing condition, many insurers might require an extensive underwriting review before offering coverage. To start the process of finding a good insurance provider, it helps to start with the biggest insurers and work your way down — that’s what Quotacy won’t tell you, but that’s just the first of many secrets we’ll let you in on.
Why? Larger insurers are usually better financed and offer a wider range of products. They also will typically offer products that can be customized a bit more. Smaller insurance companies might be more hesitant to take on riskier opportunities.
The table below provides the top 10 insurance providers listed below by market share.
|Age||$100,000: Male||$100,000: Female||$250,000: Male||$250,000: Female||$500,000: Male||$500,000: Female|
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When it comes to rates, insurers will need to complete an underwriting process to evaluate your individual symptoms. If your symptoms are well managed and mild and your quality of life isn’t significantly impacted, whether you’re looking for a 40 year term life insurance policy or something else, lower rates might be considered.
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Can you get life insurance if you have an autoimmune disease?
When your immune system reacts to help your body fight infection or injury, the body can become inflamed in the affected area. For most of us, this is a good thing because it indicates that we’re healing.
For example, when you bump your knee, you may get a bruise, which is inflammation. Over time, as you heal, the bruise or inflammation goes away.
An autoimmune disease includes any condition where the immune system targets healthy cells and tissue.
For lupus patients, the immune system is triggered to fight healthy tissues and organs of the body.
This can cause inflammation throughout parts of the body, and symptoms ranging from redness and swelling of the skin to soreness and pain in muscles can occur.
Autoimmune diseases can often lead to severe complications. Below are some of the most severe complications that can result from lupus.
- Lupus can result in serious damage to the kidneys which can result in kidney failure
- Lupus can cause inflammation in the brain resulting in headaches, memory loss, strokes, or seizures
- If Lupus impacts the lungs, the patient can catch pneumonia
- In the heart, lupus can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or result in a heart attack
Even in well-managed cases, there is a risk that a serious complication can occur. Because of this, life insurance companies are resistant to offer insurance options.
Life Insurance for Pre Existing Conditions
If you’re diagnosed with lupus or any chronic condition before you get life insurance, your diagnosis will be considered a pre-existing condition.
When it comes to life insurance, even if your condition isn’t life-threatening, pre-existing conditions make finding coverage more difficult.
The video below provides some helpful tips on what you might need to do to get insurance if you have lupus or any pre-existing condition.
One way to avoid issues in getting life insurance is to shop for insurance as early as possible. If you meet the risk factors that make it more likely to be diagnosed for lupus, obtaining life insurance when you’re younger allows you to lock in lower permanent rates.
Understanding how lupus is diagnosed can be helpful in deciding when and how to obtain the right short or longer-term life insurance.
Is lupus a critical illness?
Lupus is not an easy disease to diagnose. There isn’t a definitive lab test that can indicate that you have lupus. To make things more difficult, symptoms of lupus can often be vague or easily attributable to other causes.
Take a look at these quick facts about lupus.
To make things more difficult, symptoms of lupus can often be vague or easily attributable to other causes.
If you are thinking “I have lupus”, you may want to consult with a good physician. Diagnosing the disease is much harder than identifying a few symptoms.
An initial diagnosis of lupus is made if a patient has four or more characteristics from the following list:
- A rash that has a butterfly-like shape
- Round lesions or blistering of the skin
- Light sensitivity that can cause headaches or disorientation
- Oral ulcers
- Arthritis or stiffness in the joints
- Kidney disorder
- Neurological disorder
- Inflammation of the lining around the lungs (pleuritis) or of the lining around the heart (pericarditis)
- Blood disorder including anemia or hemophilia
- Any dysfunction of the immune system
- Abnormal blood work
It’s still unclear as to how lupus is contracted. The disease isn’t contagious. Although it can run in families, only about 20 percent of cases are linked to a parent or sibling with the disease. Only 5 percent of children who are born to people with lupus will develop the disease.
Lupus symptoms are usually triggered by environmental factors, the most common of which include exposure to the sun, infections from other illnesses or injuries, and medications not related to lupus treatment.
There is no cure for lupus today. However, natural and prescribed medical treatments can be effective in managing short-term symptoms and reducing long-term complications.
In fact, with today’s treatments and understanding of the triggers for symptoms, patients can often live complete lifestyles with no impact on life expectancy. This can be huge for convincing life insurance companies to consider lupus patients for affordable plans.
To better understand the treatments for lupus, let’s review the specific types of lupus.
Types of Lupus
In the past, there has been some confusion or disagreement about how to categorize the different types of lupus. To maintain consistency, today, lupus is categorized into one of four main types.
Of the types of lupus, systemic lupus is the most commonly diagnosed. Each type of lupus is distinct because of the way it appears in the body and the triggers that provoke symptoms.
The table below provides a breakdown of the characteristics of each type of lupus.
|Type||Patient Demographics||Unique Characteristics|
|Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE)||Most common type of lupus found across all ages, genders, and ethnicity||Can affect any organ system resulting in skin rashes, joint pain or complications of any organ|
|Discoid Lupus Erythematous (DLE)||Most common for people exposed to sunlight or cigarette smoke||Can result in rashes and lesions on the face, ears, and scalp|
|Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus ( SCLE)||Most often present in women 15 to 41||Can result in red scaly patches or ring-shaped lesions on the skin and cause joint pain and arthritis|
|Drug-Induced Lupus||Found in people who have reactions to other medications||Causes blurred vision, joint issues, and sensitivity to sunlight|
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As you can tell, many symptoms are common to multiple types of lupus, which makes determining a proper diagnosis difficult.
Who Has Exposure to Lupus
The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that about 1.5 million Americans have some form of lupus. Although lupus can affect anyone, the disease seems to occur more within particular demographics.
For example, 90 percent of individuals diagnosed with lupus are women, and 80 percent of people diagnosed with lupus are between the ages of 15 and 45.
Although lupus can occur at random, the disease more often has some genetic link. However, the genetic link isn’t easily determined. Only 20 percent of parents or siblings of a lupus patient will also be diagnosed with the disease.
With such a wide range of symptoms, lupus is also quite difficult to diagnose.
A survey by the Lupus Foundation of America found that it often takes almost four months to properly diagnose lupus after a patient first reports symptoms.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, lupus patients have found methods to manage symptoms and live lifestyles that keep lupus from interrupting day-to-day activities.
Why is lupus common in India?
Increasingly, there has been quite a bit of press around lupus treatment in India. This is largely because numbers for people diagnosed with lupus in India are often overstated. According to the CDC, treatment for lupus includes the drug, hydroxychloroquine which is approved by the FDA by prescription only.
The recent coronavirus pandemic has caused much speculation and the circulation of an incredible amount of false information. It was rumored that lupus patients were unable to contract the coronavirus disease. Responsible medical professionals are advising that this is not true and that lupus patients can even be more prone to infection because of their suppressed immune systems.
Additionally, hydroxychloroquine has been used to treat coronavirus. Although studies have yet to show its effectiveness for treating coronavirus, rumors and speculation that the drug could be used to treat the disease caused a sudden shortage in supply.
Because of this shortage, lupus patients found it difficult to obtain the drug to treat their lupus symptoms.
India is a large manufacturer of hydroxychloroquine. Health insurance for lupus patients in India consists of the drug as a routine treatment protocol for patients.
Term Life Insurance With Lupus — Controlling Symptoms
Lupus symptoms can be mild or severe. Since lupus patients cannot tell how severe symptoms might be, controlling symptoms by avoiding particular triggers is recommended.
Even if you’re predisposed to lupus or other autoimmune diseases, you want to avoid things that might cause a flare-up of symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, avoidance of the following could help:
- Sunlight – Sunlight can trigger rashes or skin burns which can provoke more aggressive symptoms.
- Antibiotics like Bactrim and Septra – These antibiotics (and some others) are known to cause higher sensitivity to the sun and affect blood counts causing rashes or flare-ups.
- Garlic – Garlic is known to boost your immune system. Lupus patients already have overactive immune systems so avoiding garlic is recommended.
- Alfalfa sprouts – Alfalfa sprouts, like garlic, trigger an immune response. For lupus patients, it can increase inflammation.
- Echinacea – Again, echinacea boosts the immune response. For lupus patients, this trigger of the immune system is not welcome.
Of course, prevention doesn’t always work. If you’re struggling with lupus, education and communication can help you.
Since lupus impacts every patient in a unique way, learning what triggers your symptoms and speaking regularly to medical professionals will help you not only control your symptoms but also provide evidence to insurance companies that you attend to your health properly.
Understanding and learning the importance of skin protection is also especially important for lupus patients. Protection from the sun is only one part, another is diet changes for healthy skin. Lupus patients should also be wary of tick and insect bites and follow good hygiene practices to keep germs from lingering on the skin.
Exercise, diet, and activities to keep your mental health in a positive place can help anyone, but for lupus patients, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is especially important.
Since lupus patients are now able to manage symptoms, they can make a better case to life insurance companies for eligibility. In the next part of this article, we’ll let you know how you can best prepare to get a great rate on affordable life insurance.
The first step is to understand how to get a customized quote. The good news is that you can obtain a quote in just a few seconds by using the free instant quote tool a the top of this page right now.
Shopping for Term Life Insurance With Lupus
When you apply for a life insurance policy, you’ll have to take a medical exam. During this exam, you’ll be asked questions about your family history, medical history, lifestyle, and smoking and alcohol usage. The person administering the exam will measure your height, weight, pulse, and blood pressure.
Unfortunately for lupus patients, life insurance companies consider a lupus diagnosis a risk factor. This is because lupus patients have a higher risk of developing particular types of cancer.
Remember, insurance companies factor risk while doctors and patients manage risk. Patients can rest easy with the knowledge that 80 to 90 percent of lupus patients live full lives, and although lupus can put patients at high risk, well-managed patients with proper monitoring are finding that any risk of cancer is often mitigated early on.
Even with the tendency for insurance companies to avoid any risk, it’s possible to get life insurance for people diagnosed with lupus. However, you should expect that insurance rates will be higher.
The insurance company underwriter will evaluate your case individually and will need records and information on the specific type of lupus diagnosed, how severe and often the applicant experiences symptoms, and a complete list of any medications that might be required or recommended for the patient.
If you do have lupus, you should try to obtain a good life insurance policy even if it might take some effort. In some cases, lupus patients can find themselves having aggravated symptoms later in life. Having life insurance already in place can help patients rest more easily.
Acquiring specific types of permanent life insurance can help supplement long term disability insurance and health insurance for lupus patients if they become unable to work. If there is a time when a lupus patient needs help, it will be quite difficult if they have no insurance.
Of course, it might be difficult or impossible to find a permanent whole life or universal life policy to start.
If you can find a decent term policy, the policy might be convertible to permanent insurance at the end of the term. Permanent insurance plans typically work as a forced saving vehicle that earns money with interest over time.
By putting money away in a policy, if you have needs later on in life for surgery or any early-stage complications with other diseases, you can borrow from the value in the policy without any tax consequences.
However, the first step is to find proper term insurance to start building a life insurance profile and history.
Health Insurance for Lupus Patients
The good news for lupus patients is that getting health insurance should not be as burdensome as getting life insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, patients with pre-existing conditions like lupus are required to qualify for coverage.
In order to obtain health insurance with lupus, however, you must apply during the open enrollment periods which happen annually for the open marketplace and for any coverage offered by your employer.
Be sure to mark the dates for when open enrollment begins and ends and always check that your coverage does not need to be altered to include additional family members or additional coverage each year. But if you happen to miss the deadline, there still may be lupus help. No insurance options include Medicaid for those that qualify.
What Life Insurance Companies Look For
Life insurance underwriters are looking to see if any health conditions you have could become a problem now or in the future. If you have lupus, you can help them establish that your symptoms are under control. Be prepared by attending to the list below.
Good General Health
Avoid smoking or vaping products, alcohol, and any illegal substances. Maintain a good exercise routine and follow a healthy diet because your 30s are the best time to buy term life insurance.
Good Medical History
Having a good and well-documented medical history will give your insurance company as much information as possible to make a case for providing you with life insurance.
Good Mental Health
Lupus, or any chronic disease, not only takes a toll on your physical body but also can take a toll on your mental state. Seeking help through counseling or other means will help you manage your symptoms and show your insurance company that you’re handling your disease with care.
Avoidance of Risky Behavior
For instance, spending a day out in the sun can trigger a flare-up. Using proper skin protection and avoiding the sun can prevent symptoms from surfacing or becoming aggravated.
Active Monitoring and Maintenance
Your insurance company will want to know when you were diagnosed, how often symptoms flare up, and what treatments and medications you require to maintain your health.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to convince life insurance companies to qualify you for insurance. However, doing as much as you can to maintain a healthy lifestyle is the first step to making a good case.
How to Pass a Life Insurance Exam
There are important measures you can take to prepare yourself before applying for term life insurance. Doing so will help your chances of getting approved for the best rating class possible. Use the following tips to put yourself in the best position to win:
- Have all doctors’ names/addresses/phone numbers available.
- Make sure your doctor(s) has copies of all records regarding lupus treatments, pathology reports, and follow-up reports.
- Have a list of all medications and their dosages available.
- Do not skip any follow-up visits with your doctor.
If you are well-organized and stay on top of your medical care, not only will you achieve a better quality of life, but you will save time and anguish when it is time to schedule a call for your life insurance application.
What information is needed for a life insurance policy?
The first step to finding life insurance is to provide general information so that an insurer can evaluate your risk. Whether you have a health condition such as lupus or not, insurers will take a look at regular risk factors such as your age, gender, family medical history, and state of residence.
An insurer will also want to know detailed information about your health and diagnosis. You should be prepared to provide the following;
- Type of lupus diagnosed
- At what age you were diagnosed
- The parts of your body affected, especially organs
- Any medications and any side effects from the medication
- If you’re in remission, how long since you last had any symptoms
You’ll most likely need to submit to a medical exam and produce any medical exam or blood work results for the last 12 months.
How to Get the Best Rate on Term Life Insurance With Lupus
We’ve helped thousands of people apply for the best life insurance policy in the USA, and many of those people had lupus. Here are a few things we’ve learned:
- Premiums are lower for those who diet and exercise or keep their blood pressure (it does affect term life insurance cost) down with medication.
- Premiums are higher for those who don’t follow up with a doctor regularly.
- We recommend getting a policy in force first at a premium rate you can afford. You can then focus on improving the rating class through better control or lab results.
Of course, with patients who are diagnosed with lupus, it’s often not that simple. Read on for some real examples to help you formulate an objective assessment of where you fit in.
Real Examples From Real Customers
These examples give you a real-world perspective on what you might expect when shopping for life insurance after receiving a lupus diagnosis.
- Good Outcome – Samantha applied for term life insurance when he was 46 years old.
- Diagnosed at age 32
- Diagnosed with discoid lupus
- In remission for over six months
- Positive results from follow-up appointments with her doctor
- No other medical conditions
- Outcome – Approved at a Standard rating class
- Premium – $224 annually
- Not-So-Good Outcome – Katharine applied for term life insurance when she was 45 years old.
- Diagnosed at age 42
- Diagnosed with systemic lupus
- The condition affects multiple organs
- Positive results from follow-up appointments with her doctor
- No other medical conditions
- Outcome – Declined
You can see Samantha had the best outcome due to a mild case of discoid lupus. Being over age 40 and having regular follow-up appointments with her doctor also helped.
Katharine’s lupus is more severe and, although she had no other medical conditions and good follow-up appointments, her disease being less under control and affecting multiple organs gave her a worse prognosis. This resulted in her application being declined.
If you’ve been declined or are looking to get a more affordable rate, you may consider working with an impaired risk agent or underwriter. The video below provides a good overview of how impaired risk underwriting provides an option for many people who struggle to find insurance, like the lupus community.
An impaired risk underwriter can sort through different providers to find a provider that knows the risks associated with lupus and can provide accurate pricing.
Term Life Insurance With Lupus: The Bottom Line
The good news about applying for term life insurance when you have lupus is — yes, you can qualify for coverage. The bad news is the approval and rating class can be very unpredictable and subjective. However, if you follow the advice we’ve provided and, more importantly, discuss your situation with your life insurance agent or broker, you can have a positive outcome.
And remember, if you’re not pleased with the offer you receive, you can always try with another company or put the policy in force and work on improving the rating class through better control and lab results. If you’re in remission or have controlled symptoms for some time, you may even qualify for standard rate insurance with some providers.
To get a sense of how much of a premium you could be paying with standard rates for term life insurance with lupus, get an instant quote using our FREE comparison tool.