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Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease in Canada 2024 Guide

Life Insurance with Crohn's Disease
Life Insurance with Crohn's Disease

Challenges Of Obtaining Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation and damage to the gastrointestinal tract. It can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly impacts the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the colon.

Canada has one of the highest rates of Crohn’s disease in the world, with over 135,000 people living with this condition

(source: https://temertymedicine.utoronto.ca/news/blood-biomarker-predicts-complicated-crohns-disease-years-diagnosis-study).

The disease typically first appears between ages 15 and 35, and the cause is unknown but likely involves genetic, immune system and environmental factors.

As a serious chronic health condition, Crohn’s disease poses some difficulties when trying to obtain life insurance coverage. Traditional policies are underwritten based on an applicant’s health, lifestyle and family history. The presence of Crohn’s is considered high-risk by insurers because it increases mortality risk and the potential for complications.

Insurers may worry about the unpredictable course of the disease, frequency of flare-ups, need for high-cost medications or surgeries, and risk of developing other medical issues.

If an insurer does offer coverage, it often comes with high premiums – sometimes up to 200%+ above standard rates. Limited benefit amounts may also apply. This makes getting affordable, adequate life insurance more challenging for Crohn’s patients. However, there are strategies to improve your chances, which we will cover in this guide.

Factors That Determine Eligibility for Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Factors That Determine Eligibility for Life Insurance with Crohn's Disease
Factors That Determine Eligibility for Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Insurers assess Crohn’s cases individually based on the applicant’s specific circumstances and profile. Key factors that determine eligibility and pricing include:

Age at Application

Younger applicants typically get better rates, as there is less probability of complications or progression of the disease before life expectancy. Older applicants over 50 see much higher pricing.

Date of Initial Diagnosis

More recently diagnosed cases within 1-2 years are seen as higher risk. Cases diagnosed 5+ years ago have demonstrated stability and management of symptoms.

Disease Severity and Symptoms

Mild, infrequent symptoms suggest less progression and lower mortality risk vs. severe, frequent flare-ups. Fistulas, blockages, and nutritional deficiencies raise concern.

Hospitalizations and Surgeries

The frequency of hospitalization or surgeries indicates disease severity and complications. Minimal admissions improve chances for coverage.

Response to Treatment

Good response to medications and diet with controlled symptoms provides optimism for longevity and life expectancy.

Activity Limitations

The inability to work or the need for disability benefits makes underwriting more cautious. Active lifestyles are preferred.

Co-existing Conditions

Additional issues like anemia, arthritis or mental illness increase overall health risks. Few other conditions are best.

Tobacco Use

Smoking with Crohn’s substantially worsens eligibility, given the amplified health dangers. Tobacco abstinence is mandatory.

Read more: Life Insurance for Smokers in Canada

Physician Support

A strong letter from the treating doctor attesting to the treatment plan and prognosis can help secure better rates.

How Crohn’s Disease Impacts Your Life Insurance Rates

Insurers classify Crohn’s cases by severity and determine premium rates accordingly. Some general guidelines on rate increases:

  • Mild Cases: Possible for standard rates or up to +175%
  • Moderate Cases: Typically 150% to 200% increase
  • Severe Cases: 200%-300%+ rate increase or declination

After intestinal surgery, most insurers postpone applications for 6 to 12 months to ensure recovery and stability. Rates after surgery often range from 150% above standard, presuming no symptoms. Possibly declined if any complications post-surgery.

Underwriting Rating Classifications for Crohn’s Disease:

Case SeverityRate Increase RangeDetails
Mild0% to 175%– Diagnosed > 2 years ago, infrequent symptoms not requiring hospitalization, no surgeries or complications: possible
standard.
– Within 1-2 years or current : 150% to 175%
Moderate150% to 200%– Diagnosed > 5 years with no flare ups : possible standard
– Diagnosed 1-5 years ago, with no flare ups : possible 150%
to 175%
– Within 1 year : possible 200%
Severe200%-300%+ , or Decline– Diagnosed > 2 years : 200%-250%
– Within 2 years , frequent symptoms and complications requiring surgery or hospitalization : possible 300%
– Surgery: postponed for 6 to 12 months
(Source: https://www.empire.ca/document/2516)

For traditionally underwritten policies, maintaining stability and control of Crohn’s symptoms is key to minimizing rate increases. Even with rating, coverage is still available from most insurers.

Types of Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Types of Life Insurance with Crohn's Disease
life buzz quote in canada new 8 1
Types of Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s patients have several life insurance policy options to consider:

Traditional Underwritten Policies

These require a full medical exam and application disclosing your health history. There are a few subtypes:

  • Preferred or Elite Policies: Offer the lowest premium rates but are essentially impossible to qualify for with a Crohn’s diagnosis. They require perfect health.
  • Standard Policies: Provide typical baseline rates for those in good health. These are unlikely with Crohn’s unless it is an exceptionally mild and well-controlled case.
  • Rated Policies: Insure those with health conditions like Crohn’s, but at higher premiums than standard policies. The rate increase, such as +100%, is based on the severity of your Crohn’s symptoms and prognosis. This is the most common policy type approved for Crohn’s patients.

Simplified Issue Policies

With these policies, no medical exam is required, but you must complete a health questionnaire asking about your Crohn’s diagnosis, treatments, hospitalizations, complications, etc. The underwriting is more lenient than fully underwritten policies. Coverage amounts may be lower.

Guaranteed Issue Policies

Very minimal health questions are asked, limited only to basic demographics and lifestyle. Approval is guaranteed regardless of your Crohn’s condition, so no medical records are required. However, maximum coverage amounts are restricted, usually to $25,000-$50,000.

Group Life Insurance

If your employer provides group life benefits, you may qualify with just a short health statement from your doctor up to the group policy limits. This offers simplified underwriting due to the group coverage model. Check your coverage amount.

For Crohn’s patients needing national policy, simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies can still provide coverage, albeit at higher premium costs. But they guarantee approval.

Finding Affordable Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

While most major life insurance companies will offer Crohn’s patients some coverage, underwriting guidelines and pricing can vary widely between companies. Tips to find your lowest rate include:

  • Compare quotes across at least 5-10 different insurance insurers. Each will assess risk differently. Never apply with just one.
  • Avoid “shopping around” by applying to multiple insurers independently. This can lead to declinations on record.
  • Leverage an independent broker who can centrally shop the market by submitting one application to hundreds of insurers.
  • Ask the broker to explore the simplified issues and guaranteed issue options to guarantee coverage.
  • Inquire about exclusion riders that can reduce premiums by excluding GI-related claims.
  • Check group life benefits offered through your employer, if available, for simplified underwriting.
  • Insurers known to be more lenient with Crohn’s include Assumption Life, Foresters Financial, and Canada Protection Plan (CPP).
  • Always submit applications during periods of stability and remission to present your most favourable case details.

Taking a strategic approach is key to securing your lowest price. An experienced independent broker simplifies the entire process.

Who Needs Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease?

Given the health challenges posed by Crohn’s disease, life insurance protection becomes even more essential for certain Canadians:

  • Parents with Dependent Children – Replace income to support kids if passed
  • People with Mortgages – Pay off outstanding mortgage balance
  • Business Owners – Fund buy-sell agreements or protect company
  • High Debt – Pay off car loans, student loans, credit card balances
  • Partners Reliant on Income – Provide for spouse/common-law partner

Any major financial obligations that others depend on should be protected if you have Crohn’s disease. Life insurance can provide the funds to maintain these commitments.

Read more : Common Reasons Canadians Buy Term Life Insurance

Strategies To Obtain Coverage for Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Strategies to Obtain Coverage for Life Insurance with Crohn's Disease
Strategies to Obtain Coverage for Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Utilizing some key strategies can help secure life insurance affordably with Crohn’s:

Maintain Consistent Treatment and Stability

Controlling symptoms and sticking diligently to your treatment regimen are crucial when applying. Avoid changes.

Apply During Periods of Remission

Aim for times when your symptoms are well managed or in remission if possible.

Delay Medical Tests and Procedures

Hold off on colonoscopies, scopes or imaging until after the policy issue.

Submit All Medical Records

Provide complete GI records to show control and care. Redact non-relevant personal details.

Obtain Doctor Letters

Ask both your GI and family physicians to write positive letters on your behalf.

Be Candid When Applying

Answer all questions fully and honestly. Do not conceal anything.

Leverage Expert Help

Work with a specialized broker to navigate underwriting.

Explore Exclusion Options

Ask about riders to exclude GI-related claims and lower premiums.

Persistence and a proactive approach are essential to overcome the added obstacles faced.

Other than Crohn’s Disease, many common health conditions influence life insurance approvals and premium rates. See these valuable guides for details on how to obtain coverage for life insurance with pre-existing conditions:

How Much Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease Should You Purchase?

Determining adequate coverage amounts requires assessing total financial obligations and family income needs. Common benchmarks include:

  • 10-12 x Annual Income
  • Mortgage Balance + Final Expenses
  • Total Debts + Child Raising Costs

Also, factor in expected future costs of college savings, retirement income, and childcare, if applicable. Consider inflation and income growth potential as well when deciding on policy size. Purchase additional coverage during major life events.

Pros and Cons of Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Pros

  • Protect loved ones and dependents financially
  • Pay off mortgages, debts, and final expenses
  • Fund buy-sell agreements for business owners
  • Provide income replacement and stability
  • Peace of mind knowing obligations will be met

Cons

  • Higher monthly premium costs
  • Potential coverage limitations or exclusions
  • More difficult application and underwriting process
  • Ongoing paperwork for policy maintenance
  • Privacy concerns disclosing personal health details

Overall, coverage’s financial security and protection benefits outweigh the inconveniences faced during the application process. Life insurance is still worth pursuing despite the challenges posed by Crohn’s disease.

Where To Obtain Quotes and Purchase Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Once you determine the required amount of coverage, there are a few options for where actually to purchase a policy:

Online

  • Directly through insurer websites
  • Via online insurance brokers

Phone

  • Call insurers’ contact centers
  • Consult with phone-based brokers

In-person

  • Meet locally with an independent broker
  • Visit bank branches or advisors

We recommend leveraging an experienced independent broker, either online or in person. They can simplify the process and provide personalized guidance.

How To Apply for Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

Applying for coverage involves completing applications, medical history questionnaires, and supplying records. Here are some tips:

  • Disclose pre-existing conditions fully and honestly
  • List all prescription medications, dosages, and start dates
  • Note any past procedures, hospital visits, medical imaging
  • Submit colonoscopy/endoscopy reports and all GI records
  • Provide names and contact info for all treating physicians
  • Include any applicable lab results, biopsies or pathology reports
  • Sign all required medical, financial, and privacy release forms

Expect the entire underwriting process to take 2-6 weeks. Insurers will request your records, so keep copies handy. Be responsive to any additional asks.

Conclusion: Overcoming Obstacles and Getting Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease

The bottom line is that with proper preparation and strategic planning, Canadians with Crohn’s disease can secure affordable life insurance at rates appropriate for their situation. Work with a knowledgeable advisor, be diligent in your treatment, select the right insurer/policy, and persist through the process. Your effort will pay off in long-term financial protection for those who matter most.

Reach out to us here at Life Buzz – we’re ready to guide you in navigating life insurance with Crohn’s disease. Our experienced team of advisors specializes in high-risk conditions. We’ll demystify the process and help overcome obstacles to get you covered.

FAQs on life insurance with Crohn’s disease:

What medications can impact eligibility for life insurance with Crohn's disease?

Medications like high dose steroids, biologics, and immunosuppressants can raise concerns for insurers on life insurance applications, indicating more severe disease. Milder meds like aminosalicylates have less impact.

Can stress cause Crohn's disease to flare up and affect qualifying for life insurance with Crohn's disease?

Yes, stress is one potential trigger for Crohn's flare-ups. Any circumstances causing the worsening of the disease must be disclosed, and this can result in higher premiums for life insurance for Crohn's disease.

How often do I need to follow up with a gastroenterologist when applying for life insurance with Crohn's disease?

Insurers prefer to see routine GI follow-ups at least annually, demonstrating proper care and monitoring of your Crohn's disease when applying for coverage.

Can Crohn's disease affect eligibility for life insurance with Crohn's disease later in life?

Yes, new symptoms or complications arising later in life would need to be reported to the insurer and could potentially result in increased premiums over time when you have life insurance with Crohn's disease.

Does having an ostomy bag or surgery for Crohn's disease impact qualifications for life insurance with Crohn's disease?

Yes, a history of ostomy or intestinal surgery will likely lead to higher premiums for life insurance with Crohn's disease, given the severity indicated. Recent procedures are especially concerning.

Can hypnosis or natural treatments keep Crohn's disease in remission when applying for life insurance with Crohn's disease?

Insurers prefer to see standard medical treatment for Crohn's. Unproven therapies raise uncertainty about compliance and disease control when qualifying for life insurance with Crohn's disease.

Can Crohn's disease increase the risk of other conditions that impact life insurance with Crohn's disease?

Yes, Crohn's elevates the risk of issues like bowel obstructions, malnutrition, osteoporosis, arthritis, and colorectal cancer. These secondary conditions can further raise premiums for life insurance with Crohn's disease.

Does Crohn's disease qualify as a disability for getting life insurance with Crohn's disease?

If severe enough, Crohn's complications can indeed lead to disability. This raises caution for insurers on applications for life insurance with Crohn's disease.

What complications of Crohn's disease are most concerning for life insurance with Crohn's disease eligibility?

A: Frequent obstructions, fistulas, malnutrition, osteoporosis, colorectal cancer, and bowel perforations causing sepsis are most likely to result in higher premiums or declination for life insurance with Crohn's disease.

Do genetics impact risk and rates for life insurance with Crohn's disease?

Yes, genetic predisposition can increase projections for disease progression and complications, resulting in potentially higher premiums for life insurance with Crohn's disease.

If I'm denied life insurance with Crohn's disease by one company, can I apply to another?

Yes, you can and should apply to multiple insurers, as each will evaluate risk differently. Avoid applying independently to companies beyond 5-10.

Will a colonoscopy affect my existing life insurance with Crohn's disease policy?

For an existing policy, the results would likely only impact rates at renewal time. For new applications, delay colonoscopy until after approval to avoid any change in risk ratings.

Can I receive partial benefits from my life insurance with Crohn's disease policy if diagnosed terminally ill?

Some policies offer an "accelerated death benefit," allowing partial access while living if diagnosed terminally ill. Check your policy terms.

How often should I review my life insurance with Crohn's disease policy?

Review your life insurance coverage at least every 2-3 years and any time your health situation or family circumstances materially change. Adjust coverage accordingly.

Article Sources:

1. Life Insurance and Crohn’s Disease – https://lsminsurance.ca/

2. How to find life, disability, and critical illness insurance when living with Crohn’s or colitis – https://crohnsandcolitis.ca/

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Written by Ben Nguyen

Ben Nguyen is an award-winning insurance expert and industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. He is the chairman and director of IDC Insurance Direct Canada Inc., one of Canada's leading online insurance brokerages.

Ben is renowned for his extensive knowledge of life, health, disability, and travel insurance products. He is the prolific author of over 1,000 educational articles published on LifeBuzz, BestInsuranceOnline, and InsuranceDirectCanada. His articles provide Canadians with advice on making smart insurance decisions.

With a Bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA) designation, Ben is frequently interviewed by media as an insurance industry spokesperson.

He has received numerous honors including the Insurance Council of Canada’s Pivotal Leadership Award, the Canadian Insurance Hall of Fame induction, and the President’s Medal from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Ben continues to shape the vision and strategy of IDC Insurance Direct as chairman. He is dedicated to advancing the insurance industry through his insightful leadership.

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