Despite common fears, life insurance for Crohn’s disease using medical marijuana is not a pipe dream.
The health class you get for life insurance will depend on the frequency of flare ups, severity, and the age at which you were diagnosed. It’s possible to get no rating at all. Most people will get a table rating depending on the severity of the condition.
How Does Medical Marijuana Affect Life Insurance Rates?
Many life insurance companies still have a general ban on any cannabis use, even for medical reasons. They hide behind federal law, despite most states allowing medical use if not recreational.
Ignoring those companies, cannabis-friendly life insurance companies will disregard marijuana treatment of Crohn’s disease. They’re more interested in your diagnoses, treatment, and management.
In short, medical marijuana has a negligible effect on a life insurance application. Recreational consumption tends to receive an evaluation based on the frequency of use.
How to Save Money on Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease
There are several ways to save money on life insurance, even with a chronic condition like Crohn’s. The following tips have saved clients thousands of dollars.
Calculate How Much You Need
Don’t guess. Don’t ballpark. Definitely don’t multiply your annual income by a number between 3 and 20.
Instead, calculate precisely how much life insurance you need. You can use a life insurance needs calculator to see exactly how much you may want. It’s interactive so you can adjust the numbers to see what makes the most sense for your family.
Use a Cannabis-Friendly Life Insurance Company
This may seem obvious, but some people have gotten used to lying about their marijuana consumption. Lying on a life insurance application goes poorly. The lie is also easily discoverable with medical marijuana.
It’s better to work with a marijuana-friendly life insurance company who won’t penalize you. Many of these companies won’t charge tobacco rates either.
Work With an Independent Life Insurance Agent
Captive agents have a big sign over their door with the insurance company name on it. These agents can only offer products from that one company.
Meaning you only get the underwriting guidelines of that one company. If they overcharge for Crohn’s disease, who’s to know? You don’t get to comparison shop. You may be paying thousands more than you need to.
Independent agents work for their clients. They aren’t bound to any company. They can comparison shop for you. Finding you the cannabis-friendly company with the best underwriting guidelines for Crohn’s disease is just part of a day’s work.
Term is Cheaper than Permanent
Term life insurance covers you for a designated number of years. Then the policy expires. Permanent life insurance (such as whole life) covers you for life. Permanent is a guaranteed payout for the insurance company, they just don’t know when.
Because term insurance means the company does not pay the death benefit if you outlive your term, the insurance companies can charge much less than for permanent policies. Term insurance typically costs around 1/10th of what permanent insurance does for the same death benefit.
However, that doesn’t mean term is always the answer. Using term insurance for something like estate planning doesn’t make any sense. It makes more sense to cover your working years or minor children.
Prepare for the Life Insurance Medical Exam
Part of the life insurance medical exam involves verifying what you said on your application. This takes the form of running tests on blood and urine samples. Now there isn’t a lot you can do about this in the short term, but you can bump your results up a little by taking two weeks to prepare.
Preparing just involves making sure you drink enough water (64 oz every day), eating lots of leafy greens (provided it’s okay with your doctor), and a little more exercise.
Even in a couple of weeks between when you apply and when you take the exam, you can improve what your fluid samples say about your health a tiny bit. This can make the difference between health classes if you’re on the fence.
Underwriting Crohn’s Disease Life Insurance
The longer you’ve gone without a flare up, the easier it will be to get approved. It also directly correlates to how an underwriter will decide your health class. A better health class means lower premiums.
None of the cannabis-friendly companies will consider someone with Crohn’s for at least six months after diagnosis. They want to make sure the diagnosis is correct, confirm the prognosis, and see how you respond to treatment.
One of the significant factors is the age at which you were diagnosed. The older – the better. Most companies have a cut off around 40 or 45. If your diagnosis came later than this, it’s much easier (and cheaper) to get a policy. If you were diagnosed in your 20s or 30s, it’s not an automatic disqualifier, but it’s more expensive and more difficult.
The underwriter will look at your medical records and assign you to one of these categories for Crohn’s disease: mild, moderate, or severe.
Mild Form of Crohn’s (Single Flare-Up)
Your rating (or lack of one) will depend on how long its been since the one episode and diagnosis. If it’s been more than 10 years, it should have no effect on your life insurance rates. In rare cases, it’s possible to qualify for preferred if all other factors show that you’re in perfect health.
To get an idea of life insurance rates with mild Crohn’s, use the INSTANT QUOTES form on this page. Input your information, select REGULAR as health class and look at rates for Prudential.
If it’s been more than 3 years, you shouldn’t have a rating and qualify for standard health class. More commonly, underwriters will issue a standard health class with mild flare-ups.
Between 6 months and 3 years, it will vary strongly by
Moderate Form of Crohn’s
Moderate forms are a little more difficult to generalize because the company will look at applications with Crohn’s on a case by case basis. Most moderate cases involve a table rating.
Usually, moderate means that you haven’t any surgery and only mild symptoms. You must also have only had 2 flare-ups (or fewer) in the past year, or 3 within the past two years. In cases like this, it’s possible to get a standard health class.
Steroid prescriptions are acceptable. However, they must be for short periods.
Most applicants with moderate forms of Crohn’s will fall into a low table rating or substandard health class. What table rating depends on the symptom details.
Severe cases involve anything more extreme than the above. Hospitalizations, regular steroid use, frequent flare-ups, and extreme weight loss.
Severe Crohn’s doesn’t automatically disqualify you from getting life insurance coverage. It does mean there is a more rigorous underwriting process. Any traditional policy will involve a table rating. The question is how much.
In extreme cases where it’s too severe for a traditional policy, you may have to switch to looking at guaranteed issue options. Any form of Crohn’s involving sclerosing cholangitis or dysplasia will almost always be declined.
How Medications Can Impact Your Rating
Life insurance underwriters run a prescription check through the Medical Information Bureau (MIB). They also review your medical records to verify consistency and compliance. The insurance company considers people who don’t follow their doctor’s orders unacceptably high risks.
Medications like Humira, Prednisone, Imuran, and Methotrexate indicate more severe symptoms. These medications will always result in a table rating for your policy.
Taking stronger medications for a prolonged period can cause its own set of problems, likely requiring frequent blood tests.
A Recent Colonoscopy is Also Important
Life insurance underwriters prefer to see colonoscopy performed in the past couple of years for applicants with Crohn’s.
This allows the insurance company to review the medical records to confirm that the colon is neither inflamed nor bleeding. A bleeding/inflamed colon can result in several severe conditions, most of which will prevent the applicant’s qualification for traditional life insurance.
Crohn’s is not the only thing taken into account on life insurance. However, it does play a large part in determining your health class.
The insurance company will also consider the following factors:
- Biological sex
- Family history
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol consumption
- Height to weight ratio
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Driving record
- Other medical conditions
- Dangerous travel, occupation, or hobbies
What Questions Will an Underwriter Ask?
If you have the answers to all of these questions ahead of time, it’ll allow your agent to find the best company before you go through the process of applying.
- When were you diagnosed?
- When did you last show symptoms?
- How many episodes have you had over the past 6 months, 5 years, and in total?
- What was the longest duration of an episode?
- Do you have any other medical conditions?
- Have you ever been hospitalized for Crohn’s?
- What (if any) medications are you taking?
- Has surgery ever been recommended?
- Have you ever had surgery?
- Have you ever been disabled because of your Crohn’s?
- If yes, when and for how long?
Life Insurance that Accepts Everyone
There is one type of life insurance that offers guaranteed approval to anyone within the offered age range, usually 18 to 75.
Life insurance companies designed this type of insurance to cover people who normally couldn’t qualify. The death benefits are lower, and the rates are higher than traditional term life insurance.
You also have graded benefits on these policies. Meaning the amount of benefits your beneficiary receives will vary based on how long you’ve held the policy. See the chart below for the average graded benefit schedule.
- 1st year – 110% of premiums paid
- 2nd year – 110% of premiums paid
- 3rd year – 100% of death benefits
Again, it’s a last resort type of policy for your family. Talk with your agent to make sure there are no other options before going this route.
Crohn’s disease with medical marijuana creates a highly varied case-by-case evaluation for life insurance. You could fall anywhere from preferred to
The best way to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible is to ask an independent agent to prescreen your application with a cannabis-friendly company before applying.
How MJ Life Insurance Can Help
We focus on connecting both recreational smokers and medical marijuana patients with cannabis-friendly life insurance companies. It’s our mission to keep track of the constant shifts in underwriting guidelines so we can recommend companies without absurd penalties.
If you have any questions, please give us a call at (888) 987-9447. All calls are confidential, and all information is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.