In America, eating disorders have become an extremely common health related disorder.
And, why shouldn’t it?
After all, one only needs to being to “consciously” begin to take notice of all the “messaging” that we receive through our TV, radio, computer and phones to realize that we as individuals are constantly being remined that we’re either:
- Not skinny enough.
- Not tall enough.
- Not strong enough.
Or that we don’t have:
- The right eye color,
- Or our hair is too thin,
- Or we skin is too wrinkly!
When you really sit down and take a look at how often we’re bombarded by negative messaging telling ourselves that we’re not good enough, it’s no wonder why so many individuals begin developing self-esteem issue which can manifest themselves into eating disorders.
It may make perfect sense that some individuals may begin manifesting symptoms resulting from this bombardment from our society, it doesn’t change the fact that insurance companies are going to penalize those who do.
This is why we’ve chosen to write this article so that we can shed some light on how the life insurance industry will view those who have a history of eating disorders and try to provide a few helpful tips which may help them to secure a “better” life insurance policy for themselves. So let’s dive right into it!
Now, while it is true…
That the medical community has identified many different types of eating disorders which ranges from life threatening conditions such as anorexia to less significant conditions like night eating syndrome, in this article, we just want to focus on the 3 most common types of eating disorders which will also have the most significant effect on one’s life insurance application.
- Anorexia nervosa.
- Bulimia nervosa.
- Binge-eating disorder
Medical practitioners have defined anorexia nervosa as a medical condition that is caused by an emotional disorder that makes a person concentrate on losing weight by refusing to eat. The compulsive desire to lose weight comes from the distorted way the patient views him or herself.
The primary cause of anorexia nervosa remains a mystery to this day. However, due to the sheer numbers of those suffering from anorexia nervosa each and every year (over 200,000), there are plenty of concerned parties doing their best to uncover the true cause.
What is particularly troublesome to the life insurance industry is that…
Research indicates that anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate out of any psychiatric disorder especially among females between the ages of 15 and 24.
These are some of the following symptoms of anorexia nervosa:
- Extreme weight loss.
- Abnormal blood counts.
- Elevated liver enzymes indicative of liver damage.
- Fatigue and or fainting.
- Brittle nails
- Severe dehydration which can result in kidney failure
- Muscle loss and weakness
- Abnormal slow heart rate and low blood pressure which increases the risk of heart failure.
- Along with a host of other potential symptoms
Treatment for anorexia nervosa will often consist of a combination of:
- Therapy and support groups
- Psychiatric care
- And prescription medications including: Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Antipsychotic medications
This is a medical condition that results in recurrent binge-and-purge cycles, as periods of eating are followed by regurgitation, depression, fasting and forced elimination.
Bulimia nervosa can also be defined as when a patient has a distorted image about his or her body and this can cause and obsessive desire for them to lose weight.
If left untreated, bulimia nervosa can also become life threaten condition like anorexia and it must always be treated by a medical professional.
Symptoms associated with bulimia nervosa will often include:
- Binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting
- Compulsive behavior
- An aversion to food
- Frequent and severe weight changes
- As well as bad breath and dental cavities
- It can cause electrolyte imbalances which can lead to irregular heartbeat, heart failure and even death; this imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body as a result of purging behaviors
- Potential for gastric rupture during periods of binging
- Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting
- Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse
- Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis
Treatment options will typically include:
Counseling, nutritional education and medication.
BINGE EATING DISORDER
This is cause by eating large amounts of food in a short period of time and the person can hardly stop themselves both physically and mentally. This is the direct opposite of anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Symptoms will often include:
- Lack of self-control while eating
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Heart disease as a result of elevated triglyceride levels
- Type II diabetes the mellitus.
- Gallbladder disease
The therapeutic techniques which will be used will be aimed at helping individuals to understand their thoughts and feelings about their actions as well as any issues they have about self-image.
In the remainder of this article…
We’re going to “lump” anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder under the umbrella of “eating disorder” simply because most life insurance companies are going to view these pre-existing medical conditions “essentially” the same and the questions that are going to ask will generally follow similar guidelines.
So let’s get started!
First of all, as a general rule of thumb, it’s fair to say that anyone that is currently “active” with an eating disorder is not going to be eligible for a fully underwritten or simplified issue life insurance policy. The reason being that is that eating disorders are potentially life threatening so insurance companies aren’t going to be interested in insuring something that is “active” in their disease.
Now in the event…
That your condition has been diagnosed, AND you’re receiving treatment, AND there are improvements with your eating disorder over a one year span, chances are high that you might be eligible for a fully underwritten term or whole life insurance policy.
The insurance rate that might be given to you will be determined by how “severe” the condition was and how effective you are currently managing it.
But before insurance companies…
Will take any decision on your life insurance application they’ll want the following information:
- They will request copies of your medical records for review.
- They will check your prescription database to review what medications you have been prescribed.
- Lastly, they will ask you a series of health and lifestyle questions to try and determine what “type” of risk you will be for the insurance company.
These are some of the common questions that are probably going to be asked:
- What type of eating disorder to you have?
- Who diagnosed your eating disorder? A general practitioner or a psychiatrist?
- When were you first diagnosed with your eating disorder?
- How long have you been treating your eating disorder?
- What types of treatments have you been using?
- Are you currently taking any prescription medications?
- Are you continuing to receive treatment for your disorder?
- Have you ever been hospitalized for you eating disorder?
- What is your current height and weight?
- Over the last year, has your weight changed my more than 10 pounds?
The following health related questions will be asked of an applicant irrespective of whether they have suffered from an eating disorder:
- Have you ever been diagnosed of any other pre-existing medical conditions other than your eating disorder?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes?
- Has any of your immediate family members ever been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes?
Life insurance companies are interested in your lifestyle choices and this may positively or negatively affect you life insurance application. Some of the questions are:
- In the past 12 months have you used any tobacco or nicotine products?
- In the past 12 months have you used any marijuana products?
- Do you have any issues with your driver’s license such as a suspended license, multiple moving violations and/DUI?
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?
- In the past 2 years have you participated in or do you plan to participate in any dangerous activities such as rock climbing, sky diving or bungie jumping?
- Are you currently working now?
- And lastly, in the past 12 months have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?
After all the questions, the insurance companies and we at InsuranceBrokersUSA will have an informed idea about your condition and what type(s) of life insurance policy you will be eligible for and also the rate class you will receive.
Now the good news is that…
We here at InsuranceBrokersUSA currently work with dozens of highly rated life insurance companies which means that should you wish to apply for life insurance coverage with us, we’re likely to have several different options that will meet your needs.
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!