More and more people are discovering that there are particular molecular compounds found in cannabis help with medical conditions. In many cases, they’re an effective alternative to the over-prescription of opioids. Life insurance for arthritis with medical marijuana is fast becoming a non-issue for many companies.
More physicians are finding that medical marijuana works well for treating multiple types of arthritis. This is causing life insurance companies to take a hard look at their stances on medical marijuana for pre-existing conditions.
How Does Medical Marijuana Affect Life Insurance Rates?
Life insurance companies keep medical marijuana and recreational marijuana in two different categories. They assess people who take cannabis to treat a medical condition based on the medical condition. They rate recreational smokers based on frequency.
Either way, it’s vital to apply with a cannabis-friendly life insurance company. There only 12 companies accepting cannabis use right now. But the underwriting guidelines and the number of companies are improving every day.
Because arthritis (in most cases) is not a life-threatening condition, insurance companies will issue up to a preferred health class. Combined with medical cannabis treatment, the available health classes don’t change.
However, the way you treat your arthritis with cannabis can affect your health class.
How to Save Money on Life Insurance with Arthritis
Even with a medical marijuana card you can save money on life insurance. These are easy ways anybody can do.
Use a Life Insurance Needs Calculator
The best way to save money is to buy the right amount of life insurance. To do that, you need to know what you intend to protect.
Using a Life Insurance Needs Calculator, you can account for a variety of factors. How many children do you have? Do they need college funds? How much is left on your mortgage? Do you have any medical debt?
Using the specific numbers tells you the recommended amount of life insurance you need right now. It gives you a base point to start playing around with rates. (You can experiment with different prices and benefits in the Instant Quotes tool on the left. Top on mobile.)
Armed with this number, you will never have to worry about overbuying and wasting money.
Apply with a Cannabis-Friendly Life Insurance Company
It’s an unfortunate truth that life insurance companies tend to be extremely conservative when it comes to change. Right now, there are 12 marijuana-friendly life insurance companies.
That’s not an impressive number. Yet, as research trickles in, they are loosening their guidelines more and more. We expect to see more companies joining their ranks within the next few years.
But right now, these companies don’t decline you for marijuana use (recreational or medical) on its own. Some may charge a little extra if you frequently smoke for recreational purposes, but they will not be unduly prejudiced.
Start Off by Telling Your Agent About Any Medical Conditions, Like Arthritis
Every life insurance company has different underwriting guidelines. That means Company A might not care at all about conditions like arthritis, while Company B will tack on an extra 25% or more.
When you tell your agent before they shop the market for you, they can eliminate the companies who overcharge for any medical conditions, hazardous occupations, or extreme hobbies.
Have an Independent Agent Shop the Market for You
Independent life insurance agents work for their clients. They are not bound to any single insurance company. This type of agent can examine and offer products from many companies to suit the needs of their client.
The other type of agent, captive agents, work for one insurance company. One insurance company equals one set of underwriting guidelines. If they aren’t cannabis friendly, too bad. If they overcharge for conditions like arthritis, you’re just out of luck.
To get the best rates, you will need to shop the market. Look at rates from many insurance companies and see who has the best deal for you. Independent agents can do this for you, saving time and money. Captive agents, unfortunately, cannot.
Take the Life Insurance Medical Exam
Yes, most companies have a drug test as part of their life insurance medical exam. They also look at dozens of other things in the blood and urine samples your provide. The more they know about your health, the more confident they are in offering lower rates.
When there are unknowns in your application, you get charged more. No-exam policies are certainly more convenient. No one argues that point. In this case, you are trading convenience for potentially hundreds of dollars over the life of your policy.
While there is something to be said for skipping the life insurance drug test, remember that lying on your life insurance application has consequences. It’s better to apply with a cannabis-friendly company.
Term is Cheaper Than Permanent
Term life insurance costs a fraction of a permanent policy for the same amount. Even if you’re looking at a 30-year term, it can save you 90%.
Term life insurance is a gamble for the life insurance company. They are gambling (admittedly with a lot of research into life expectancy) on you outliving your term. It’s not a guaranteed payout so they can charge each person less to cover the percentage of people who do pass away.
They call it spreading the risk.
Permanent life insurance isn’t a gamble. Everybody dies. It’s just a matter of whether the insurance company can leverage the premiums from your policy into profitable investments to cover your death benefit.
This isn’t to say term life insurance is better in every case. You should buy the policy that covers your reason for purchasing life insurance. If you want something for estate planning, permanent is a smarter choice. If you’re covering your income until retirement, term might be better.
Underwriting Life Insurance with Arthritis
As many as 50 million Americans suffer from arthritis.
Arthritis consists of almost 200 musculoskeletal disorders. These disorders cause painful inflammation and stiffness in both the joints and surrounding tissues.
The most common types of arthritis include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Acute arthritis
- Juvenile arthritis
Common medical treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Steroid drugs
- Immunosuppressive therapies
Since CBD has become commercially available, many arthritis sufferers find that this method of treatment helps alleviate their pain. Often it proves more effective than traditional treatment methods.
Remember that CBD on its own doesn’t provide a high like recreational cannabis. Insurance companies know this, and that’s part of why they treat medical marijuana differently than recreational use.
General Rule for Cannabis-Friendly Companies
There are still many life insurance companies which are reluctant to cover applicants who ingest cannabis in any form. In fact, that is true for most life insurance companies.
However, this is changing as more states are legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis. The stigma in this conservative industry is slowly adjusting with the times.
The most important thing to keep in mind about cannabis-friendly life insurance companies is that they will not focus on the use of medical marijuana. If you are using it to treat a medical condition, they are more interested in the condition than the cannabis use.
In the case of arthritis, the life insurance company will want to know whether arthritis impacts your life expectancy. They will also look at the extent to which it affects your standard of living.
Most Types of Arthritis
This encompasses almost every type of arthritis with the exceptions of Marie-Strumpell disease. Please see the next sections for the underwriting guidelines on that type.
Arthritis is not a life-threatening disease. Which means as long as your arthritis doesn’t impact your quality of life too much, you can easily qualify for a standard or even preferred health class.
Your health class will be determined on the traditional factors, including the following.
- Biological sex
- Family history
- Height/weight ratio
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Driving history
- Any other pre-existing medical conditions
The manner in which you take medical marijuana for arthritis can affect your rating with some companies. The most common methods of taking this medicine are:
- Topical ointments
- Pills and capsules
- Transdermal patches
If you are not smoking the cannabis to get it into your system, make sure to make that entirely clear to the underwriter. Even some of the cannabis-friendly companies default to smoker rates when they see THC in your system on the medical exam.
Using ointments, tinctures, edibles, and the like will not trigger smoker rates with most companies. You just need to be upfront. Plus, if you’re taking CBD only, the THC will not show up on the life insurance drug test.
(Keep in mind that with a smoker rating, you can expect to pay 2 or 3 times more for the same life insurance policy. One of our goals at MJ Life is to avoid that penalty.)
Marie-Strumpell Disease or Ankylosing Spondylitis
The only form of arthritis that impacts a person’s life expectancy is Marie-Strumpell disease. This form affects the smaller joints surrounding the spinal column.
If this type of arthritis becomes too severe, it can impact your ability to breathe or cause immobility. Extremely severe cases have even caused heart and lung problems.
In the most extreme cases of Marie-Strumpell disease, the life insurance company may decline an application. However, most cases are still insurable with stiff ratings.
What Questions Will the Underwriter Ask?
The best way to make sure your agent can find you the best rates for arthritis is to have all the pertinent medical information at hand. There are several questions you will need to answer. Specifically, the underwriter will want to know the following:
- Date of diagnosis
- Type of arthritis
- Tissues impacted
- Remissions or relapses
- Mode of medical treatment and medications
This information, along with your life insurance medical exam results, will determine if you arthritis has any impact on your life insurance rates.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
If you have Marie-Strumpell disease or a combination of other life-threatening medical conditions, you may encounter trouble with traditional life insurance. However, there is always a contingency plan.
Guaranteed issue life insurance accepts everyone within the approved age range for the policy. Usually, anyone from 18 to 75 can buy one of these policies. They ask no medical questions. They also don’t require a medical exam.
The downsides to these policies are the benefits are lower, and they’re more expensive. Plus they have graded benefits schedules. These payout schedules mean that if you pass away within the first or second year of holding the policy, your beneficiaries won’t receive the full death benefit.
For example, the benefits schedules typically mimic the following:
- 1st Year – 110% premiums returned
- 2nd Year – 20 to 80% of the benefit paid (varies by company)
- 3rd Year – 100% death benefit paid
Conclusion for Life Insurance with Arthritis Treated with Medical Marijuana
Most of the time arthritis on its own doesn’t affect life insurance rates. The notable exception is Marie-Strumpell disease.
Life insurance companies don’t treat medical marijuana the same way as recreational products. They examine the medical conditions instead of the treatment. Most people will still qualify for standard or preferred health classes based on other factors like BMI, driving record, and general health.
Use the Instant Quotes tool on the left (top on mobile) to see what your rates could be today.
How MJ Life Insurance Can Help
At MJ Life Insurance, we specialize in finding affordable life insurance for everyone, regardless of their reasons for injecting cannabis. If it’s medical, we advocate for the best rates based on the health conditions, not the treatment. If someone smokes recreationally, we find the company with the best prices for their smoking frequency.
All of your medical information is protected by federal privacy law, including anything on a life insurance application. If you have any questions, give us a call at (888) 987-8447.