Life insurance with IBD and medical marijuana is possible, although it can be tricky. It all depends on the type of inflammatory bowel disease and the severity. Don’t get discouraged, there are options for everyone.
Inflammatory bowel disease makes life insurance complicated because of the varying types and severities. Treating it with medical cannabis will not make any difference on your life insurance, provided you apply with a marijuana-friendly life insurance company.
From there, have your medical information handy (located in What Questions Will Underwriters Ask.) That way your insurance agent can find the best options for your unique scenario.
How Does Medical Marijuana Affect Life Insurance Rates?
There are currently only about a dozen life insurance companies which you could call cannabis friendly. The rest of this article applies to these 12 companies. This list grows as insurance companies look at more data.
The primary concern for any of these companies is why your physician prescribed medical marijuana. It’s the condition that the underwriters care about, not the treatment.
However, your method for taking this medication can affect your rates. A couple of companies will still charge smoker rates for smoking more than 3 to 6 times a week.
This doesn’t apply to edibles, tinctures, oils, or balms. You aren’t smoking it so it wouldn’t make any sense to charge you smoker rates. Most of the cannabis-friendly companies let smoking a few times a week slide anyway.
How to Save Money on Life Insurance with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There are several ways to save money, even with pre-existing conditions and cannabis use. It’s all about taking a little time to examine your options and figure out exactly what is best for your family.
Use a Life Insurance Needs Calculator
There are two ways to figure out how much life insurance to buy, ballparking and calculating. It’s similar to lots of so-called finance wisdom. You see all sorts of headlines like, “Is 1 Million Enough to Retire?” or “Experts Say That You Need Closer to 5 Million to Retire Comfortably.” Life insurance is the same.
You can guess based on what most people do. Or, the smarter move, is to calculate exactly how much you need. (For retirement planning, Google the 4% rule.) For life insurance, use a Life Insurance Needs Calculator.
This tool allows you to look at all the different areas you might want to protect with life insurance. Plus, you have to find the exact numbers you need. It’s a surefire way to prevent overbuying life insurance.
Apply With a Cannabis-Friendly Company
There are currently 12 cannabis-friendly life insurance companies. Even these are updating their underwriting guidelines to be friendlier all the time. As more states legalize marijuana, we expect this number to grow. After all, the excuse for the companies who auto-decline recreational smokers and medical patients alike are all hiding behind the federal laws.
With an IBD, you need to look at both how you take your cannabis medication and your specific diagnosis. Some companies overlook smoking cannabis. Others may charge smoker rates depending on frequency if you smoke but won’t rate you for edibles.
Get Quotes from an Independent Agent
We aren’t saying you should buy from the first life insurance agent you talk to. (Although, to be honest, we think we do a great job of connecting medical marijuana patients with companies who won’t overcharge them.) But make sure as you shop around to get quotes from at least one independent agent.
The difference between independent and captive agents is that independent agents can work with as many companies as they want. Captive agents can only sell insurance from the one, big company named over their office door.
One company means one set of underwriting guidelines. If they overcharge for an IBD, there are no other options. In the event they auto-decline for cannabis use, it’s back to the drawing board.
Independent agents can immediately eliminate those companies who won’t treat you fairly. You won’t waste time, and you increase your ability to pay as little as possible.
Talk to Your Agent About Your IBD
Your life insurance agent isn’t your doctor, but they are held to the same privacy laws as your doctor. They can’t share your medical information with anyone who isn’t part of the life insurance process. This includes information about your IBD and that you’re treating it with medical marijuana.
When you tell your agent, they can narrow down the list to only the best companies for you. The more information you share, the better they can sift through your options.
Many people don’t share pertinent medical information until they fill out the application. Then the offer comes back from underwriting at drastically higher rates. It’s disappointing.
If you share all of this information up front, you can save yourself the frustration.
Take the Life Insurance Medical Exam
No-exam policies are increasingly common as more people want the convenience. However, they’re more expensive.
The less an insurance company knows about your health, the more they charge. So a no-exam policy will always be more expensive than the policy that requires one.
We get lots of questions about the life insurance drug test portion of the exam. Most (not all) companies test for THC. CBD is more medically focused and not as frequently included in the urinalysis.
The point of cannabis-friendly companies testing for THC is to confirm that you are smoking the amount you say you are.
The other reason to take the medical exam is people on the fence between health classes can tip the scales in their favor. Most exams get scheduled about two weeks out. That gives you just enough time to prepare. Little things like making sure you drink enough water or increase the volume of leafy greens in your diet can boost the results of your bloodwork.
Check with your doctor before making any significant dietary changes or taking on an exercise regimen.
Term Costs Less Than Permanent Life Insurance…A Lot Less
The type of life insurance you buy should depend on your reasons for looking into life insurance in the first place. If you need life insurance for estate planning, permanent life insurance is probably the right choice.
If you want life insurance to provide for young children or to cover the years remaining until you retire, term may make more sense.
The other consideration is your current income. Most term policies are about 1/10th the price of a similar permanent policy from the same company. So if you don’t make a ton of money or a large percent is going to medical bills, term might make more financial sense.
Underwriting Life Insurance with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
The primary concern of life insurance companies is not any use of medical marijuana with IBD. Most companies will not penalize you for this method of treatment.
How you consume the cannabis can matter. While there are many different ways, as long as you are not smoking or vaping, it shouldn’t matter. Underwriters realize that it would be ridiculous to charge smoker rates when you aren’t actually smoking.
How an insurance company evaluates an inflammatory bowel disease depends on the type and prognosis.
Life Insurance with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Also known as IBS, this is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine. It’s a widespread condition, usually entailing:
- Recurrent abdominal pain
IBS doesn’t typically affect lifespan. As long as you only have mild to moderate symptoms that we well under control, you can qualify for a standard health class. If it’s mild, with few recent occurrences, you might be able to qualify for preferred in rare cases.
More severe IBS can mean table rating. Insurance companies consider cases more severe when they start impacting your quality of life on a regular basis.
There’s one more thing you should be aware of. If you’ve had surgery for your IBS within the last 6 months, almost every company will postpone your application. They want to see how you respond to treatment before deciding on a health class.
Life Insurance with Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis affects the colon and the rectal area. It causes both inflammation and ulcers in the innermost lining of the colon.
There are several types of ulcerative colitis, varying by where the ulcers occur within the colon. In the best case scenario, ulcers are limited to the rectum. In the worse case scenario, they occur throughout the entire colon.
For underwriting, if it’s been more than 10 years and you haven’t needed any medication in 5 years, it will probably not affect your life insurance rates.
If it’s been less than 6 months since your diagnosis, most companies will postpone your application. If it’s been more than 2 years since a severe episode, you are looking at a Table B or C rating.
Finally, if you have severe ulcerative colitis, then you may qualify for an extremely high table rating, but could face a decline. Insurance companies consider this condition severe in the following cases:
- Sclerosing cholangitis
- Multiple, severe episodes within a year
If this is the case for you, scroll down to the section on Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance.
Life Insurance with Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease in an inflammatory disorder within the gastrointestinal tract. Most commonly occurring in the colon and ileum, it affects your ability to digest food. In turn, that causes problems with nutrient absorption.
Underwriters treat Crohn’s disease similar to ulcerative colitis. If you were diagnosed less than 6 months ago, then you will receive a postpone from virtually every insurance company. With mild symptoms, you can fall anywhere from a Table B to Table D rating. This depends on your age and whether your steroids are part of your medical treatment.
For severe cases, the underwriter may offer a high table rating, but will likely decline the application.
What Questions Will Underwriters Ask?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease affects each person differently. As a result, each life insurance company will also rate each individual differently. This can make finding affordable life insurance with irritable bowel syndrome a challenge.
To avoid any surprises in underwriting, make sure to give your insurance agent the following information before you apply so they can perform an anonymous pre-screen.
- Date of diagnosis
- Specific diagnosis
- Symptoms you experience
- Episodes or flare-ups since the diagnosis
- Number of flare-ups within the past 6 months
- Number of flare-ups within the past 2 years
- Duration of flare-up episodes
- Any hospitalizations and dates
- Any surgeries and dates
- Whether or not your doctor recommended surgery
- Results of the most recent colonoscopy
A prescreen helps ensure you apply to the insurance company with the best underwriting guidelines for you. These are anonymous emails sent to underwriters asking for a tentative health class. Prescreens prevent rejection letters.
Other factors affecting your life insurance rates include:
- Biological sex
- Height/weight ratio
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Family history of disease
- Driving record
- Other pre-existing health conditions
If you or your agent suspect you might have trouble qualifying for traditional life insurance, there are other options.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
Guaranteed issue life insurance asks no health questions. Neither does it require a medical exam. Companies offering these policies don’t care what your medical history looks like, they’ll insure you.
This type of life insurance is the last resort option. The available benefits are much lower, and the premiums are higher than traditional life insurance. Guaranteed issue policies also have graded benefits.
Graded benefits are something you should go over with your beneficiary before taking out one of these policies, just to avoid confusion. It’s a part of the contract that details what your beneficiary will receive if you die before holding the policy for three years. The years to full benefits can vary, but most companies use three.
The graded benefits schedule usually looks something like this:
- 1st year – 110% of premiums paid get returned
- 2nd year – 110% of premiums paid get returned
- 3rd year – 100% of the death benefits paid
No company will just take your premiums and run with a graded benefit plan. Your beneficiary will always get your premiums plus a little bit back if you pass away right after taking out the policy.
Conclusion on Life Insurance with IBD and Medical Marijuana
The medical cannabis doesn’t affect your life insurance application, provided you apply with a cannabis-friendly company. Most insurance companies are still extremely conservative about it.
What the life insurance underwriter will look at is your medical history. Since IBDs have such a broad range of ratings, it’ll save you time and money to get the information to your insurance agent so they can narrow down the best options for you.
How Marcan Insurance Can Help
We are a group of independent agents dedicated to finding the best life insurance for both medical cannabis patients and recreational smokers. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to protect their families.
As independent agents, we have access to over 80 life insurance companies, including the 12 marijuana-friendly ones. We are continually checking in with underwriting guidelines and current industry stances on cannabis to bring you the best rates.
If you have any questions, give us a call at (888) 987-8447. Your privacy is guaranteed by law, and there is never any obligation to buy.