When applying for a life insurance policy, there are many issues that the insurance company’s underwriters will consider prior to giving approval for the coverage. One important factor is the applicant’s weight – especially as it relates to their height. This is because life insurance rates for overweight or obese people are always higher than standard rates. This is because the extra weight could lead to other serious health issues such as heart attack, stroke, or diabetes – all of which are considered to be high risk factors to the insurance company.
Although some people can lose weight by simply changing their diet and exercising, for others it’s not so easy. In still other cases, weight may be an issue that is a factor in other serious health complications. For these individuals, getting a sleeve gastrectomy may be recommended for removing some of the weight, and ultimately improving their overall health.
Yet, even though this procedure can be helpful, it too can also come with its own potential set of complications. For this reason, some who have undergone this type of surgery may find it difficult to obtain life insurance coverage – at least by going the traditional route. It is, however, possible for many who have undergone a sleeve gastrectomy to get the coverage that they need.
How the Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure Works
Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as gastric sleeve surgery, has become a popular surgical procedure for helping individuals to lose weight. Over the past several years, it has overtaken gastric bypass in terms of preference for many surgeons. One reason for this is because the sleeve gastrectomy procedure is less invasive, and it does not rearrange the patient’s digestive system. It is also typically a less expensive procedure.
Yet, the sleeve gastrectomy procedure has been shown to have similar results in terms of patients’ weight loss, and it also has been shown to have a comparable impact concerning obesity health related issues.
The sleeve gastrectomy instead works by removing a large part of the individual’s stomach. This in turn leaves a banana shaped “sleeve,” which then connects the patient’s esophagus to their small intestine.
Oftentimes, those who have a body mass index (BMI) of 50 will have this procedure performed as a first step to getting their weight reduced prior to moving forward with a more invasive surgery such as the gastric bypass or the duodenal switch.
While other weight loss surgeries have proven to have many potential complications, the sleeve gastrectomy has shown to have less. For example, it tends to have a reduced risk of malnutrition or vitamin deficiency. In addition, it avoids issues such as dumping syndrome – an issue that can be common with procedures such as gastric bypass and gastric banding.
There are, however, some considerations to be aware of with the gastric sleeve, which can pose a risk to one’s health. This, in turn, can be of concern to a life insurance underwriter. For example, this particular operation can create a long line of staples which can present an increased risk of both bleeding, as well as staple line leaks.
Also, unlike the gastric banding surgery, the sleeve gastrectomy procedure is not reversible. This means that once the patient’s stomach has been shrunken, there is not any way to change it back to its original size.
The main side effect that those who have sleeve gastrectomy surgery experience is GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. While this typically improves with time, approximately one out of five patients will still experience this one year after the surgery. However, after three years, only approximately 3% of patients are still experiencing the GERD side effects.
Can You Qualify for Life Insurance Coverage?
While it may oftentimes seem like it is difficult to qualify for life insurance coverage given the potential health risks with certain procedures, the truth is that it is possible to qualify for life insurance after sleeve gastrectomy surgery.
Typically, whether or not you have experienced any complications, as well as your age and overall health history, will be the key factors as to your qualifying for coverage, as well as the classification of the policy that you qualify for.
If you have had a sleeve gastrectomy procedure done within the recent past – as in the past couple of years – then it is likely that the life insurance underwriters will want to know more details regarding the surgery, as well as your health condition following the procedure.
What the Life Insurance Underwriters Will Want to Know
In addition to the information on the general application for coverage, some of the procedure-related questions that you may be asked include the following:
- When did you have your sleeve gastrectomy procedure performed? The time frame of when you had your sleeve gastrectomy performed can make a difference in your life insurance application. For instance, if your procedure was performed within just the past six months, then it is likely that the underwriters will want you to wait until some additional time has passed. If, however, it has been more than two years, and then you can typically proceed with your application.
- Within the last six months, have you experienced any complications? Various symptoms such as diarrhea after eating and / or bloating could be signs of complications that need additional attention by your doctors. If this is the case, the underwriters may also need more information on your overall health condition prior to moving forward.
- Are you taking any type of medication for your condition? (If so, what medication and what is the dosage?) If you are taking certain medication for various conditions, it could be a sign that you have a more serious condition that should be checked by your doctor. If this is the case, the life insurance underwriters will require additional information before being able to make a decision on your coverage.
- Do you have regular check-ups and / or visits with your surgeon? Having regular visits and / or check-up with your surgeon is always recommended. It is likely that the insurance underwriters will want to review copies of your records from your surgeon, as well as from your primary care physician.
- Have you had any relevant diagnostic testing done in the last six months such as x-rays or ultrasound? If you have had any type of relevant testing done within the past six months such as any x-rays and / or ultrasound, then it is likely that the insurance underwriters will want to review these records as well prior to making a final decision on your coverage.
How Much Will Your Life Insurance Premium Be after You’ve had Sleeve Gastrectomy?
The premium that is charged on your life insurance policy will be determined by some different factors, including your age, gender, and overall health condition. If you are considered to be in very good health, then it is possible that you could be placed as a standard policyholder classification. This means that you will be charged the premium rate of an individual who is of average health.
If, however, the underwriters feel that you may present a somewhat higher risk to the insurance company due to your health condition, and then you may be placed into a substandard policy class. In this case, the premium that you will be charged will be higher.
How and Where to Obtain the Best Quotes
When shopping for life insurance after sleeve gastrectomy, it is typically best to work with either an agency or a company that has access to more than just one life insurance carrier. This way, you will be able to compare directly the policies – and the premium quotes – of multiple insurers, and from there you can determine which of these will be the best for you and your specific needs.
If you are ready to begin comparing life insurers, we can help. We work with many of the top life insurance carriers in the industry today, and we can assist you in obtaining all of the key details that you need – all from your home computer – and without the need to meet in person with a life insurance agent. Because we work with many carriers, we know which ones may be best to go through after having a sleeve gastrectomy procedure. So, if you are ready to move forward, all you need to do is use the form on this page to get rates.
If you find that you still have some questions regarding getting life insurance after sleeve gastrectomy, then please feel free to contact us directly. We can be reached directly via phone, toll-free, by calling 888-229-7522. Our experts are here to help ensure that you get the best information possible for you needs – and your peace of mind – as you pursue the life insurance protection that you deserve. So, contact us today – we’re here to help.