Many who have had trouble with losing weight – especially if it has affected other health related issues – have had to turn to more drastic surgical procedures such as gastric banding.
This procedure, however, could also – in some cases – make qualifying for the life insurance coverage that you need more difficult. In other instances, however, an individual may be able to get traditional life insurance coverage – but it may take the assistance of a professional who can point them in the right direction.
How the Gastric Banding Procedure Works
Gastric banding – officially known as adjustable gastric banding surgery or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery – entails making an individual’s stomach smaller. This process is done to assist people in losing weight who have been unable to do so successfully through diet, exercise, or medication.
This procedure is often considered for those who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher. It could also be considered for someone whose BMI is 35 or higher and who also has a life-threatening illness or a disabling issue that is also related to his or her weight. Essentially, this surgery limits the amount of food that a person’s stomach is able to hold, enabling them to eat less, and in turn, to feel full more quickly.
The actual procedure is done by making several small incisions in the patient’s stomach and then placing small surgical tools, along with a camera, through the incisions. The surgeon will then wrap a device around the upper portion of the stomach in order to form a ring.
Attached to this ring is a thin tube that leads to an access port. This port is left under the patient’s skin, and it is essentially the portal through which a needle is used for adding or removing saline. The saline is then used for tightening the band, which makes the stomach smaller. Should it be that the ring becomes too tight, the surgeon is able to remove some of the saline and loosen up the band.
There can be some complications following this type of surgery, including bloating, dumping syndrome, leaks at the post-operative site, infection, diarrhea following meals, incisional hernia, and in some cases, even metabolic bone disease or secondary hyperparathyroidism.
Immediately following the surgery, the patient will only be able to drink a small amount of liquid while they are in the healing process. Over the next couple of weeks, solid foods can then slowly be added back into the individual’s diet. However, because of feeling full after eating much less food than before, the individual will not typically eat as much as they were previously used to eating in the past.
Often, it is recommended by the individual’s doctor that the person work with a dietitian to plan for healthy meals that can provide for an ample amount of vitamins, minerals, and protein while they are also losing weight.
Can You Qualify for Life Insurance Coverage After Gastric Banding Surgery?
It is feasible to qualify for life insurance after gastric banding – and in many cases, the insurance can be traditionally underwritten. This means that the insurance that you qualify for is the kind that requires a medical exam.
In order to do so, however, it will be necessary to fully complete an application for coverage. In addition, due to the surgical procedure, it will also likely be necessary that you answer some additional condition-related questions so your entire situation will be more clear.
What the Life Insurance Underwriters Will Want to Know
The following are some examples of information that you might have to divulge to get a true quote:
- When did you have the procedure performed? The date of your surgery is important to the underwriters. This is because often, those who have had their surgery within six months or less of completing the application for coverage may be required to wait longer until a decision can be made. Those who have had their surgery performed more than two years ago and who have had no record of any moderate or severe issues following their surgery could qualify for a policy classification of mild substandard.
- Any complications flare up recently? Those who have experienced symptoms such as bloating or diarrhea after eating may be given a policy class rating of a mild substandard on their coverage – provided that the complications are successfully being managed. If, however, an applicant also has leaking, then he or she may be rated as a medium substandard.
- What, if any, medications are you taking that are related to your condition? If you are taking any medications that are related to your condition and / or to complications that you are having, then it could mean that you need additional evaluation by the life insurance underwriters.
- Do you regularly have check-ups with your surgeon? Regularly visiting your surgeon will help in establishing your medical record, and it will be used in determining your overall policy rating.
- Have you had any relevant diagnostic testing performed within the last six months? If you have had any relevant diagnostic testing such as x-rays or ultrasounds performed in the past six months, these can help the underwriters in better determining your condition. Your weight loss accomplishment can also help in showing the overall success rate of your surgical procedure.
How Much Will Your Life Insurance Premium Be?
The amount of your life insurance premium will be determined in large part on what rating your policy is given. If, for example, you qualify as a Standard policyholder, your premium will be about the same as someone else with your health history and risk rating.
Just be aware that your rating class can change after all of the initial underwriting is done. So if any health issues are discovered you will likely be rated down and that premium will increase; make sure to factor those surprises into the budget.
People who are overweight or obese will typically get qualified into a higher risk rating. This is where the gastric banding procedure can help with your rates. If you wait until you have had significant weight loss then you can get into a standard rating instead of looking at rates on life insurance for obese individuals.
How and Where to Obtain the Best Quotes on Life Insurance after Gastric Banding
To find the best quotes on life insurance, it is typically best to work with a company or an agency that has access to more than just one life insurance carrier. This is because not all insurance companies will underwrite applicants for coverage in the same, identical manner.
Therefore, what may constitute a person as a substandard policyholder at one company – or possibly as a declination for coverage altogether – could deem them as a standard policyholder at another insurer. For this reason, it is essential not to lock yourself into applying with just one single life insurance company.
When you are ready to take a look at your life insurance coverage possibilities following gastric banding, we can help. With agents who have access to many carriers, our company goal is to inform, provide, and place you in a plan that benefits your needs within the budget you want. Reach out to us at 888-229-7522 for further information!
While qualifying for life insurance coverage following any type of surgical procedure may seem like an impossibility, the truth is that those who’ve had gastric banding can get the coverage that they need – and in many cases, it can be traditionally underwritten insurance. This means that the premium that you’ll pay can be affordable.
But don’t count on just one single insurer and get locked into their underwriting standards and their set-in-stone premium rates. Go where you have a choice. When you’re ready to compare the plans and the options that are best for you and your situation, know that you do have an ally. So, contact us today – we’re here to help.