Can I get health insurance if I have diabetes?

Will I be able to get insurance as a diabetic?

That depends on the kind of insurance you're interested in getting.

Automobile insurance. 

According to Henry Helfman, a North Hollywood insurance agent (and a diabetic), there should be no trouble if you're in good control. (Here's yet another reason to take good care of yourself.) If they ask on the form if you're a diabetic, naturally you have to tell them. In that case, they'll probably ask you to produce a letter from your doctor saying that your diabetes is in control. If they don't ask, we don't see any point in saying, "Hey there, Insurance Company, I'm a diabetic. Don't you want to hassle me?" Personal experience: June's automobile insurance company has never asked; she has never told.

Life insurance. 

Mr. Helfman tells us that if you're under control (again with evidence required) and you take less than forty units of insulin or don't take insulin at all you should have no more difficulty getting life insurance than a nondiabetic.

Of special interest is a new program from the Security Connecticut Life Insurance Company for children with diabetes. Diabetic children ages six and up can be insured without a physical examination, and they will be able to continue their policies at guaranteed rates up to the age of thirty seven regardless of any changes in their health.

Health Insurance. 

If you or your spouse or, if you're a minor, your parents work for a company or government agency with a group plan, you'll be taken care of, diabetic or not. If you have to take out an individual policy, then as a study reported in Diabetes in the News put it, "Your chances . .are mighty slim." In all likelihood, you may not be able to get a policy or they may try to exclude coverage for all diabetesrelated problems. In that case, the policy would be next to worthless, because insurance companies, being how they are, would probably find a way to relate anything that goes wrong with you to diabetes.

But don't feel you're being picked on because you're a diabetic. As Mr. Helfman explained to us, individual health insurance policies are a pretty rotten deal for everybody, with high prices and exclusions galore. It's all part of the trend in modern society for groups to get favored treatment in everything from air travel to Chinese dinners.

So get with a group if you possibly can. In the library where we work, there are women who have taken clerical jobs mainly to get the excellent health benefits for themselves and their families. In a sense that's not a bad idea. If you have a choice between two jobs and everything else is equal, select the one with the better health plan.

To find out the latest developments in the field of insurance for diabetics, write the American Diabetes Association. They evaluate all new plans and make them known to members, and there are new plans coming out all the time. Fortunately, insurance for diabetics is not the problem that it used to be. Now you only have the problems with insurance that nondiabetics have, and those are problems enough for anybody.

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