Sickle Cell Disease vs. Sickle Cell Trait and Life Insurance
In this article, we wanted to take a moment to answer some of the most common questions we get from folks applying for life insurance after having been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease and explain how this is different from just being diagnosed with the Sickle Cell trait.
Questions that will be addressed will include:
- Can I qualify for life insurance if I have been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease?
- Why do life insurance companies care if I have been diagnosed with the Sickle Cell Trait or Sickle Cell Disease?
- What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
- What “rate” can I qualify for?
- What can I do to help ensure that I get the “best life insurance” for me?
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Can I qualify for life insurance if I have been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease and/or Sickle Cell Trait?
Whether or not you qualify for life insurance with a diagnosis of sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait will depend on the specific insurance company and the severity of your condition. Some insurance companies may be willing to offer coverage, but may charge higher premiums due to the increased risk. Others may decline to offer coverage.
It’s important to note that life insurance companies generally consider sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait to be pre-existing medical conditions. As such, you will likely need to provide detailed information about your medical history, including any treatments or medications you are taking, as part of the application process.
That said however…
It’s important to understand that having the “trait” for Sickle cell and actually being diagnosed with the disease are two separate things and will be treated significantly different from one another.
Sickle cell anemia defined:
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder that affects the production of red blood cells. People with sickle cell anemia have abnormal red blood cells that are shaped like crescent moons (sickles) rather than round discs.
These abnormal cells are more prone to breaking down and can get stuck in small blood vessels, blocking the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues.
Sickle cell anemia is caused by a mutation in the HBB gene, which provides instructions for making a protein called beta-globin. This protein is a component of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
The HBB gene mutation results in the production of abnormal hemoglobin, which causes the red blood cells to become misshapen and prone to breaking down.
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition that is passed down from parents to their children. It is most common in people of African, Hispanic, and Mediterranean ancestry, but it can also occur in people of other ethnicity.
Symptoms of sickle cell anemia can vary, but may include anemia, fatigue, pain, and an increased risk of infections. The condition is typically managed with medications, blood transfusions, and other treatments.
Sickle Cell Trait defined:
Sickle cell trait is a genetic condition that occurs when a person has inherited one normal copy of the HBB gene and one mutated copy of the gene. People with sickle cell trait have normal red blood cells, but they carry one copy of the mutated HBB gene, which means that they can pass the mutation on to their children.
Sickle cell trait does not cause the same symptoms as sickle cell anemia. People with sickle cell trait do not typically experience the same level of anemia, pain, or other complications as those with sickle cell anemia.
However, they may still be at risk for certain health problems, such as sickling in the spleen and kidney problems.
It’s important to note that sickle cell trait is not the same as sickle cell anemia. People with sickle cell trait do not typically have the same level of severity or need for medical treatment as those with sickle cell anemia.
However, it is still important for people with sickle cell trait to be aware of their health status and to seek medical attention if they experience any unusual symptoms or health issues.
Why do life insurance companies care if I have been diagnosed with the Sickle Cell Trait or Sickle Cell Disease?
Most top-rated life insurance companies “care” if an individual has been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease because simply put, Sickle Cell disease is a severe hereditary form of anemia, which causes one’s blood cells to become distorted into a crescent shape.
As a result…
Patients with Sickle Cell will often experience episodes of:
- Systemic pain,
- Swelling of the hands and feet,
- Frequent infections,
- Failure to thrive (slow growth rates in children),
As well as the possibility of vision problems as well.
The problem is…
These relatively minor symptoms can then lead to bigger issues such as:
- An increased risk of stroke,
- Acute chest syndrome,
- Pulmonary hypertension,
- Organ damage,
Which is why it’s pretty understandable why a life insurance company would be a bit “hesitant” about wanting to insure someone that has been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease.
It has been determined that the Sickle Cell Disease is a hereditary disease linked to a recessive gene found on the 11th chromosome. This means that only individuals who inherit the Sickle Cell “trait” from both of their parents will develop this condition.
Which means that…
Carriers of only one recessive gene will be considered “carriers” of the Sickle Cell trait but will not be diagnosed with the disease. Which makes a lot of sense because the vast majority of individuals diagnosed with Sickle Cell trait won’t experience any symptoms of their genetic mutation.
The problem is…
That a lot of times folks will get a bit “confused” when talking about this disease which is why, before making any decisions about your life insurance application, most (if not all) life insurance companies are going to want to ask you a series of medical questions first designed to learn which disorder you have and then how “severe” your situation is.
What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
If you have sickle cell anemia and are applying for life insurance, the insurance company will likely ask for detailed information about your medical history and current condition. This may include:
- Diagnosis: The insurance company will want to know when you were diagnosed with sickle cell anemia or simply the sickle cell trait, how it was diagnosed, and any relevant medical records.
- Symptoms: The insurance company will want to know about any symptoms you experience as a result of your condition, such as pain, fatigue, or an increased risk of infections.
- Treatments: The insurance company will want to know about any treatments you are currently receiving or have received in the past, such as medications, blood transfusions, or other therapies.
- Medical visits: The insurance company will want to know about any visits to doctors or hospitals related to your condition, including the dates and reasons for the visits.
- Other medical conditions: The insurance company may also ask about any other medical conditions you have or have had in the past, as well as your family medical history.
It’s important to be honest and accurate when providing this information, as any misrepresentation of facts could result in a denial of coverage or a void policy.
What “rate” can I qualify for?
As a life insurance agent, it’s essential to understand that there is a huge difference between being diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease and being a carrier for the Sickle Cell Trait.
Especially when trying to determine what kind of “rate” an individual might be able to qualify for.
This is because…
As someone who is just a “carrier” of the Sickle Cell Trait and not an actual “affected” individual, in theory, you should still be able to qualify for a Preferred Plus life insurance rate provided that you meet all of the other prerequisite requirements.
Or, in other words…
Having tested positive for having the Sickle Cell Trait should not have any effect on the outcome of your life insurance application provided that it does not cause you to suffer from any significant kinds of symptoms or consequences.
Quite the opposite of what you will find for those who have been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease. You see, for folks that have been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease, being able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy is going to be much more difficult.
Some folks will still be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policies albeit at a “sub-standard” or “high-risk” rate, provided that they’re Sickle Cell Disease hasn’t caused the applicant to begin suffering from some of the more “serious” symptom associated with this disease.
This is why…
It’s almost impossible to know for sure what “kind” of a rate an individual might qualify for after having been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease without first speaking with them directly.
The good news is…
That regardless of your situation, we here at IBUSA can help because we have tons of experience helping folks with all sorts of pre-existing medical conditions like yours and are committed to helping all of our clients find the “best” life insurance policy that they can qualify for.
Which brings us to the last topic that we wanted to take a moment and discuss, which is…
What can I do to help ensure that I get the “best life insurance” for me?
In our experience here at IBUSA. what we have found that usually, the folks who seem to find the “best” life insurance policy for them are those that:
- Take their time reviewing their options.
- Ask a lot of questions.
And seek out those life insurance agents who not only have experience working with individuals who have been diagnosed with a wide variety of pre-existing medical conditions but also have access to dozens of different life insurance companies so that when it comes time to helping a more “challenging” case, they don’t have to rely on a…
“One size fits all approach!”
The good news is that this is exactly what you’re going to find here at IBUSA!
Now, will we be able to help out everyone who has been previously diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease?
No, probably not. But what we can tell you is that in addition to offering a wide variety of different term and whole life insurance policies, IBUSA has also worked very hard to establish relationships with many of the Best Final Expense Insurance Companies as well so that in the event that someone isn’t able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy, chances are there may be some other “type” of product that you CAN qualify for.
So, if you’re ready to see what options might be available to you, just give us a call!
My husband has Sickle cell disease and i am wondering if he can be covered.
Without knowning more about your husband and what amount of insurance you’re looking for, we wouldn’t be able to answer your question. For this reason, it would be best to call us so that we can learn more about your situation and needs.
My daughter has sickle cell disease. She is 29 and can not afford to get covered. I was wondering if I can get coverage on her and pay the premiums? What would I need to have in order to do this?
Please give us a call at your earlies convenience so that we can discuss what options may be available for you and your daughter.
I actually obtained my life insurance policy to help my fellow sickle cell warriors and myself find affordable life insurance with no avail. I do not believe people with conditions do not deserve to prepare their families for life without them. Everyone needs life insurance.