Rheumatoid Arthritis and Over 50 Life Insurance

People seem to believe that life insurance over 50 years of age is already difficult enough. Add rheumatoid arthritis into the equation and many won’t even bother to apply. Both factors (and more) will be considered by an underwriter when you are seeking life insurance. But the reality is…

Arthritis does not automatically disqualify you from affordable life insurance over age 50.

And because we work with several highly-rated providers, we are able to help arthritis sufferers just like you find approval with the best policies and the best premiums available.

Obviously, approval isn’t always a guarantee. Underwriters will consider several factors when making a decision about your life insurance application. Here is a look at those factors now…

rheumatoid arthritis essential facts

rheumatoid arthritis essential facts

How rheumatoid arthritis affects life insurance approval

First of all, there is a lot of confusion about what, exactly, arthritis is and isn’t. This is surprising when you consider that over 50 million Americans suffer some form or another of this disease. For many people, arthritis has become a fancier way of saying “joint pain,” or so it seems. And while joint pain is a common symptom of arthritis, it is not a good definition of the disease.

As an autoimmune disease, arthritis can affect the body in a number of ways. One of the more common forms is rheumatoid arthritis, in which the immune system mistakenly begins attacking healthy joints. An estimated 30-40 million people with arthritis have rheumatoid arthritis. As you may know, this can create a lot of problems in quality of life. And doctors are not entirely sure what causes this disease.

When applying for life insurance over 50 years old, the largest factors an underwriter will consider when reviewing your application are:

    • How severe are the symptoms of your rheumatoid arthritis?
    • What medications, if any, are you currently taking for this disease?
    • How is your rheumatoid arthritis affecting daily activities?
  • What other major medical conditions, if any, do you have?

We will now take a closer look at each of these factors and how they may affect your ability to get the cheapest life insurance over age 50.

1. How severe are the symptoms of your rheumatoid arthritis?

According to Arthritis.org, the severity of symptoms can range from mild joint inflammation to more extreme erosion of joints or, in some cases, internal organ damage.

For this reason, it is important to know the full extent of your rheumatoid arthritis and how it is affecting your body before applying for life insurance. Incomplete or inaccurate information about your symptoms could result in lengthy processing or even flat-out denial of your application.

2. What medications are you currently taking for this disease?

The kinds of medications you are being prescribed for your rheumatoid arthritis can affect your ability to qualify for over 50 life insurance. That does not mean that taking prescription medicine automatically disqualifies you. However, it is important to know why this is a factor.

Two medications – disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologics – while shown to be very effective in treatment, interfere with your body’s natural immune response. And that means you could be at a higher risk when exposed to common infections.

It is for that reason that doctors have historically been hesitant to prescribe DMARDs and biologics

Obviously, this could be a problem when trying to qualify for the best policies with the lowest rates. But it does not mean automatic denial.

In fact, Cleveland Clinic claims that these more effective drugs are becoming more popular as doctors realize their potential to improve long-term quality-of-life for those afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis.

And quality-of-life brings us to the next point underwriters will consider…

3. How is your rheumatoid arthritis affecting daily activities?

In severe cases, people with this disease can experience complications or even an outright inability for daily activities. And this may be especially true the older we get with rheumatoid arthritis. Worse-case scenarios might involve very limited mobility.

Underwriters take quality-of-life seriously when reviewing your application, because, among other things, low mobility could mean a reduced ability to properly care for yourself.

So, for the sake of ensuring a smooth application process, it is important to be forthright with the degree to which your rheumatoid arthritis is affecting your daily activities. However, it is important to note, once again, that some limitations to your quality-of-life may not prevent you from qualifying for over 50 life insurance.

4. What other major medical conditions do you have?

While it is true that rheumatoid arthritis does not necessarily disqualify you from affordable life insurance, the presence of other major medical conditions could result in higher premiums or, in some cases, even denial.

Of course, the underwriter will consider the specific nature of any other health concerns and how they impact your rheumatoid arthritis or are themselves affected by the disease.

Some conditions, like osteoporosis and heart disease, are often complicated by rheumatoid arthritis. And that raises concerns for many underwriters.

With all of this in mind, we should now take a look at how to ensure a smooth application process.

How to improve processing for life insurance with arthritis

After consulting with a qualified life insurance specialist, preferably one with a lot of experience in helping people over the age of 50 obtain life insurance, you will be asked to provide some relevant information about your rheumatoid arthritis for the application.

Depending upon which which insurance company and what specific insurance policy you apply for, the underwriting criteria will vary. Some insurance companies  will require you to complete a medical exam where an examiner comes out to your house and some will want to obtain your medical records.

If an exam is required they will usually draw a blood sample, take a urine sample, check your blood pressure, pulse, your height and weight, and ask you some medical questions.  Typically the exam lasts about 20-25 minutes.

These tests are important to underwriters as they may indicate the severity of the condition as well as any side effects you might be experiencing from prescribed medications. Additionally, lab results may show that your rheumatoid arthritis has stabilized – and this could improve the underwriter’s decision.

If the insurance company will need to obtain your medical records, it helps to know exactly where you have received care and when.  Providing the necessary doctor’s contact information can go a long to speeding up the underwriting process. It really helps to streamline the process and allow the insurance company to acquire the necessary records much more quickly, which also helps the underwriter reach a decision more quickly.

If you would like to forgo the medical exam, there are companies that do offer life insurance without an exam. This is known as no-exam life insurance.  

It’s important to understand your options when applying for a policy that requires a medical exam or one that does not. In some cases, it might be better to opt for the policy that requires you taking an exam. In other situations, a no-exam policy might be the better choice. Everyone’s situation is a little different.  

We have covered a lot of information here that is pertinent to applying for life insurance over 50 years of age while diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. So, let us look now at the decisions an underwriter might make when considering all your data.

The following scenarios are by no means a definitive guideline for how your application will be resolved. No two applications are exactly the same, and any number of variables may result in decisions different than those listed below. Instead, these examples are only meant to provide common decisions based on our experience in helping people like yourself with rheumatoid arthritis find the cheapest life insurance over age 50.

The best-case scenario

What we are talking about here is the possibility of being approved at preferred rates for a life insurance policy.  Super preferred or preferred plus is probably not going to be possible. However, there is a possibility of getting preferred rates. If you can qualify for preferred rates this will mean you have qualified for the lowest rates available. To qualify for preferred rates, you will likely need to meet the following criteria:

    • Two or more years have passed since your diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis
    • The severity of your condition is mild
    • You are receiving regular care from your physician for the arthritis
    • Your symptoms are managed well by non-steroidal medications
  • You have not been diagnosed with other major health conditions

Like we said, this is not a guarantee of your own application’s outcome. Other factors may be taken into consideration, but our experience has shown that meeting these criteria often results in approval for the best possible policies given a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

The typical scenario

When applying for over 50 life insurance with rheumatoid arthritis, typical cases look more like this: the disease is more moderate to severe, and more powerful medications have been prescribed. Underwriters will also consider your age and how much time has passed since your diagnosis.

Even in those situations, we have seen many people approved for affordable life insurance policies. If approved, premiums may be higher but not out of reach for most Americans.

Although it will very with many insurance companies, you would probably qualify for table 2 to table 3 rates. To give you a general idea of what that might cost, run a quote at “regular” and then increase that cost by about 50%.

The worst-case scenario

Naturally, underwriters must assess risk and make decisions that consider all of the information (and possibly more) that we have discussed in this article. And the worst-case scenario obviously means having your application for life insurance denied.

This is sometimes the outcome for the most extreme cases of rheumatoid arthritis. And this usually involves applicants with little or no mobility and diagnoses of other major health conditions.

This could limit your options to a guaranteed issue policy which would provide coverage for burial costs and other final expenses.

However, it is important to remember that just as every applicant is different, no two insurance companies’ underwriting guidelines are the same, either. Actually applying for a life insurance policy is the only way to find out for sure. The worst that can happen is having your doubts confirmed. On the other hand, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.

Taking the next step

As we just said, the only way of learning your options is to submit an application. No amount of online reading is going to render you an accurate decision.

At Over 50 Life Insure, we work with several of the best policy providers to maximize the chances you will be approved by a highly-rated plan with affordable premiums.

We can help get you started right away.