Life insurance and Sarcoidosis Would I be able to get a policy?

Sarcoidosis is a condition that has affects 200,000 cases a year.  Treatment can help but this condition cannot be cured.  Life insurance and sarcoidosis?   Would I be accepted?  Yes, you would be!   Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can affect organs and multiple areas of the body including the lungs, eyes, skin and in some cases the heart.  Doctors believe sarcoidosis results from the body’s immune system responding to an unknown substance, most likely something inhaled from the air.  Signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis vary depending on which organs are affected. Sarcoidosis sometimes develops gradually and produces symptoms that last for years.   Other times, symptoms appear suddenly and then disappear just as quickly.  Hi, my name is Mitch Winstead with Allstar Senior Benefits.  Our toll-free number is 866-598-8170 or 910-538-4547.  Email is mitch@allstarseniorbenefits.com.  Our website is www.allstarseniorbenefits.com.  Call today for your “no pressure” quote.    

 

Many people have no symptoms, so the disease may be discovered only when you have a chest x-ray.  Many people experience symptoms of fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes and weight loss.  Also, there are symptoms that affect the lungs such as a persistent cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest pain.   There are also skin symptoms such as nodules growing under the skin, disfiguring lesions, on the cheeks, nose and ears, rash or red and purple bumps usually located on the shins or ankles which may be warm and tender to the touch.  Blurred vision, eye pain, severe redness and sensitivity to light.  Heart symptoms may include chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and swelling caused by excess fluid.  

Doctors do not know the exact cause of sarcoidosis.  Some people appear to have a genetic predisposition to develop the disease.  Which may be triggered by bacteria, viruses, dust or chemicals.   This triggers an overreaction of your immune system and immune cells begin to collect in a pattern of inflammation called granulomas. As granulomas build up in an organ the function of that organ can be affected.  

Risk factors that may increase your risk include:

Age and sex.  Sarcoidosis often occurs between the ages of 20 and 40.  Women are slightly more likely to develop the disease.

Race.  African- Americans have a higher incidence of sarcoidosis than do white Americans.  Also, sarcoidosis may be more severe and may be likely to recur and cause lung problems in African-Americans.

Family history  If someone in your family has had sarcoidosis, you are more likely to develop the disease.

 

ComplicationsSome medications can help the symptoms of Sarcoidosis

For most people, sarcoidosis resolves on its own with no lasting consequences.  But sometimes it causes long-term problems.

Lungs-Untreated pulmonary sarcoidosis can lead to permanent scarring in your lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

Eyes- Inflammation can affect almost any part of your eye and can eventually cause blindness. Rarely, sarcoidosis also can cause cataracts and glaucoma.

Kidneys- Sarcoidosis can affect how your body handles calcium, which can lead to kidney failure.

Heart- Granulomas in your heart can cause abnormal heart rhythms and other heart problems. In rare instances, these may lead to death.

Nervous system- a small number of people with sarcoidosis develop problems related to their central nervous system in granulomas form in the brain and spinal cord and inflammation of the facial nerves, for example, can cause facial paralysis

Diagnosis

Sarcoidosis can be difficult to diagnose because the disease produces your signs and symptoms in its early stages. when symptoms do occur, they mimic those of other disorders. Your doctor will likely start with a physical exam, including a close examination of any skin lesions you have. He or she will also listen carefully to your heart and lungs and check your lymph nodes for swelling. Diagnostic tests can help exclude other disorders and determine what body systems may be affected by sarcoidosis. Your doctor may recommend the following tests: Chest x-ray to check for lung damage or enlarged lymph nodes. computerized tomography CT scan if complications are suspected.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) if sarcoidosis seems to be affecting your heart or central nervous system. Blood test to assess your overall health and how well your kidneys and liver are functioning.   Lung- pulmonary function tests to measure lung volume and how much oxygen your lungs delivered to your blood. Eye exam to check for vision problems that may be caused by sarcoidosis.

Biopsies

Your doctor may order a small sample of tissue to be taken from a part of the body believed to be affected by sarcoidosis to look for granulomas commonly seen with the condition. Biopsies can most easily be taken from your skin if you have skin lesions. Some people develop a rash.  Biopsies can also be taken from the lungs and lymph nodes if needed.

Treatment

There is no cure for sarcoidosis, but in half of the cases, it goes away on its own. You may not even need treatment if you don’t have significant signs and symptoms of the condition, but you should be monitored with regular chest x-rays and exams of the eyes, skin and any other organ involvement.

Medications

If your symptoms are severe organ function is threatened, you will likely be treated with medication.    Corticosteroids-   these powerful anti-inflammatory drugs are usually the first line treatment for sarcoidosis.  In some cases, corticosteroids can be applied directly to an infected area via a cream to a skin lesion or drops to the eyes.   Medications that suppress the immune system. Medications like methotrexate and azathioprine reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system.

Hydroxychloroquine- medication may be helpful for skin disease and elevated blood calcium levels.

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors. These medications are commonly used to treat the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. They can also be helpful in treating sarcoidosis that has not responded to other treatments.

Surgery

An organ transplant may be considered your sarcoidosis as severely damage your lungs, heart or liver.  Clinical studies, testing new treatments, interventions, and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manages disease Are being explored.

Coping and Support

Although sarcoidosis usually goes away by itself within two years, some people’s lives are forever altered by the disease. If you are having trouble coping, consider talking with the counselor. Participating in a sarcoidosis support group may also be helpful.

Here is some information to help you talk to your doctor to get ready for your appointment.

Write down your symptoms, including when they started and how they may have changed or worsened over time.   Take a list of all your medications vitamins or supplements.   Write down your key medical information, including other diagnosed conditions.  Write down questions to ask your doctor.

The overall risk of death from sarcoidosis is 1-8% according to the Journal of American Medicine.   You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, that 1-8% is really for a death rate.  However, I would like those 1-8% people who have sarcoidosis that they do qualify for life insurance.  Most of the time they would qualify for an easy whole life insurance policy.  This is an insurance policy that only has 2 questions to qualify and sarcoidosis is not one of them.   These policies are “graded”  that means in the first 2 -3 years, your beneficiary would get 110% of the premiums you paid.   Once you are past the 2-3 year period, your beneficiary would get the full face amount, for example, $10,000.  Some companies have an accidental death rider that would pay double the face amount upon your death.  Whole life policies are permanent insurance.  The last your whole life and not just for 10 or 20 years like term policies do.  A whole policy builds cash value.  This happens in 18-24 months after you purchase the policy.  So if you are having a hard time paying your premiums for a couple of months, your policy can pay it for you.  You can also borrow any amount of the cash value from your policy.  However, you want to make sure you pay it back because if you pass away your beneficiary won’t collect the full face amount of your policy.  Also with whole life/ permanent insurance, your benefits never decrease and your premiums never decrease.  Let us talk about term life.  This is an insurance policy that only lasts for a term- 10,15,20 or 30 years.  It does not build cash value.  You cannot borrow any money from your policy.  It may be difficult to get a policy with a condition of sarcoidosis.  You will probably pay much more for it and be stuck for a 10-30 year term period and have to pay out higher premiums.  So term life may not be a good option. This next statement is for everyone.  If you do purchase a term life policy, make sure it is convertible.  I am not talking about a car  🙂    

When your term policy ends after 20 years, you want to make sure you can purchase either more term life for a good price or you can purchase a whole life policy at a good price with little or no underwriting questions.   Here is what could happen.   You purchase a 20-year term life policy.  It runs out after 20 years.  You are not as healthy as you were 20 years ago and you cannot qualify for another companies health questions.  So if you can convert your previous term life policy with your original company with little or no underwriting, that’s your best option.  Another thing is what is your price going to be for your policy after the original policy runs out?  You want to make sure the price is not astronomical as it is sometimes when you want to stay with the same company.  This next part may go without saying.  I recommend any person to get life insurance at a young age.  So for example, if you are 18-25 years old, that is the best time to purchase life insurance.  It will be the cheapest then.   Yes, you certainly can get life insurance at a later age.  It is so much more expensive.  Plus getting life insurance when you are younger means you probably won’t have a lot of health issues.  Sarcoidosis is a serious condition.  It is possible to get life insurance with Sarcoidosis So qualifying won’t be as difficult.  There are a few companies out there that offer discounts on funeral products such as caskets, vaults, and headstones.  This can help a lot.  Let me explain if you purchase 10,000 of life insurance from company A, around $7,000 is going to go to the funeral home to pay for your funeral expenses.  That leaves your loved ones $3,000.   If you purchase life insurance from company B offering you discounts then you are going to be able to give more money to your loved ones because the discounts on funeral products offset the funeral home costs.  It is important that you consult with an expert at Allstar Senior Benefits to go over your options.  Ask about the “funeral rule”   You might be surprised at what you find out the funeral home doesn’t want you to know.  I have worked with a few patients with sarcoidosis.  Before I got my start in insurance, I worked and still do some work as a Physical Therapist Assistant to help people rehab with certain conditions.   I am still helping a few people each week.  

I am the co-owner of a rehab company called Physical Therapy for Life. So in working with these people, I have seen their struggles with sarcoidosis first hand and helped them rehab and get better.  Some of them were weak physically.  Most had lung problems that limited them with having endurance. Most of my patients I worked with did well with their rehab.  If you have sarcoidosis and other health problems such as COPD- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes with insulin use or heart problems, you may have to purchase a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.  These type policies have NO health questions for you to qualify.  They are whole life/permanent life policies.  They are also “graded” in the first 2-3 years.   You will pay more for these policies by around 30-40% higher premiums.  But you do get life insurance.  That is the most important thing.  They don’t decline your application.  There are a lot of people out there that can afford life insurance.  They may have been declined and given up.  The guaranteed issue policy is perfect for this person.  My recommendation is to search for the policies that only make you wait 2 years instead of three for your beneficiary to get the full face amount of the policy.   This way is better to cut out the extra year of waiting.  Currently, Allstar Senior Benefits has a company with good rates that only has a two waiting period for your beneficiary to get full benefits.  Call today for your “no pressure” quote.  Our toll-free number is 866-598-8170 or 910-538-4547.  Email is mitch@allstarseniorbenefits.  Our website is www.allstarseniorbenefits.com   Thanks for reading!