Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a prevalent digestive disorder that can cause various symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and changes in bowel habits. While IBS is a manageable condition and generally does not lead to severe health complications, it can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
Consequently, suffering from IBS may have implications for the premium you pay, the coverage available, and the requirements for medical underwriting. The effects of IBS on one’s life can often interfere with the factors typically considered by a life insurance company during the underwriting process.
Therefore, let’s take a moment to define what IBS is, understand how it can affect individuals who experience it, and explore how these effects can influence the life insurance application process.
About Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). It can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel movements (diarrhea or constipation).
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are:
- Abdominal pain or cramping: This is often relieved by having a bowel movement.
- Changes in bowel movements: People with IBS may experience constipation, diarrhea, or both.
- Bloating: This can cause the abdomen to feel swollen or full.
- Excess gas: This can cause discomfort and flatulence.
- Urgency: This is the feeling that you need to have a bowel movement right away.
It is important to note that the severity and frequency of these symptoms can vary widely among individuals with IBS. Some people may experience only mild symptoms, while others may have more severe and frequent symptoms that can significantly impact their daily life.
Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a combination of factors, including:
- Abnormalities in the muscles of the intestine: In people with IBS, the muscles of the intestine may contract more or less forcefully than normal, leading to changes in bowel movements.
- Nervous system abnormalities: IBS may be caused by an abnormal communication between the brain and the intestine, leading to changes in motility (movement) and sensitivity.
- Inflammation in the intestine: Some people with IBS may have inflammation in the intestine, which can contribute to symptoms.
- Changes in the balance of bacteria in the intestine: The intestine contains a complex community of bacteria that play a role in digestion and overall health. An imbalance of these bacteria (known as dysbiosis) has been linked to IBS.
- Psychological factors: Stress, anxiety, and depression are common in people with IBS and may contribute to or exacerbate symptoms.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome vs Crohn’s Disease:
Unfortunately Many people (including life insurance agents) may often confuse irritable bowel syndrome with Crohn’s disease. After all, both of these conditions may present very similar symptoms.
That being said however, IBS and Crohn’s disease are two totally different diseases and will be “underwritten” by the life insurance industry completely different. This is why you’ll want to make sure that the agent that you choose to apply for life insurance coverage with fully understands your IBS and isn’t likely to confuse your medical condition with a “potentially” more “serious” condition like Crohn’s disease.
Treatment options for Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
There isn’t a treatment for IBS, but there are relief plans. Most people will try to identify what triggers their IBS and based on that information, they do things to mitigate the pain. For example, if certain foods cause your IBS to flare up, then you will probably avoid those foods. Other remedies include getting enough sleep and water. You know, the normal things that contribute to a healthy lifestyle!
Eligibility for Life insurance with IBS
Individuals with mild to moderate symptoms of IBS may still be able to qualify and may even be able to qualify for a Preferred rating. Although some may be charged a slightly higher premium if some other health risk combined with their IBS complicates matters.
For those suffering from severe symptoms or complications from IBS it is safe to say that they will have a more difficulty qualifying for coverage, but in general, they too should be able to quailfy for coverage only at a higher cost.
Why IBS Doesn’t Negatively Impact Your Life Insurance Eligibility?
Life Insurance companies look for things that will disrupt the longevity of your life – essentially, things that could cause you to die prematurely. Things like cancer or even bad driving records are riskier than IBS. IBS is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t really cause people to die younger.
If you have Crohn’s Disease, however…that’s a different story.
Other things to Consider when getting Life Insurance
Life insurance companies will look at a lot of other things beside just IBS. Those things include both lifestyle choices and health/medical issues.
Medical Issues that Impact Life Insurance
In addition to your IBS, life insurance companies will start by asking you for:
- Blood work
- Urine sample
- Medical exam
- Access to medical information
If you do not think you will do well on these things (i.e. you have a preexisting condition), then instead of getting a whole or term life insurance policy, you may want to look into getting a guaranteed life insurance policy.
If you’re not sure, these are the kind of things they will look for that could possibly hurt your life insurance rate:
- Heart conditions
- Past surgeries
- Disorders or diseases
- Mental health issues
- High blood pressure
- Predisposition to medical problems (i.e. does it run in your family)
- Prescription medications you use
Any of these things could have a negative impact on your life insurance rate.
Lifestyle Issues that Impact Life Insurance Eligibility and/or Rates
“Lifestyle” issues refer to any choices you make that could shorten your lifespan. Those include things like:
- Excessive drinking
- Bad driving
- Past felonies
- Illegal Drug use
- Smoking marijuana
- Prescription drug addiction
- Sports you play for fun
- Hobbies (do you operate heavy machinery, do motor cross racing or dive from cliffs for fun)
- Career (are you a professional race car driver, construction worker, or police officer?)
Again, anything that could indeed put your life as risk, could wind up impacting your life insurance rate. Any of the above lifestyle choices or medical issues could be more influential to your life insurance rate than irritable bowel syndrome.
But here’s the trick: not all life insurance companies will consider each of these things as high as a “risk”. For example, a life insurance company that sees marijuana use as extremely dangerous to health may not find certain surgeries to be that big of a deal. However, some life insurance companies specialize in marijuana use and give marijuana smokers a great rate…but may not necessarily go as easy on certain surgeries or diabetes.
Finding the right life insurance company…
…it isn’t easy. Especially when you don’t know the ins and outs of all the life insurance companies. That’s why the best thing you can do is turn to a life insurance expert. But make sure you turn to one that is not bound only to one life insurance company – or else they’ll be trying to sell you policies only from that company, regardless.
We specialize in helping people with risk factors like IBS to get life insurance at a great rate! We have experience with all kinds of complicated cases, and we also work with several dozen of the top rated life insurance companies in the US.
We know which life insurance companies are best for which risk factors, and who will give the best rate to whom. That’s why we should be your go-to people when looking for a life insurance company!
Want to get great life insurance at a great rate? Call JustBuryMe today!