Life Insurance underwriters are more in touch with medical issues than they ever have in the history of the profession. But we still need to give them something to work with. Underwriting is a two side coin, one side with good control and the other side, well not so much. Diabetes is considered a chronic disease. Here are some statistics that we have to overcome when we apply for life insurance.
Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates in 2006. This ranking is based on the 72,507 death certificates in 2006 in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death. According to death certificate reports, diabetes contributed to a total of 233,619 deaths in 2005, the latest year for which data on contributing causes of death are available.
Heart disease and stroke
• In 2004, heart disease was noted on 68% of diabetes-related death certificates among people aged 65 years or older.
• In 2004, stroke was noted on 16% of diabetes-related death certificates among people aged 65 years or older.
• Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
• The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.
High blood pressure
• In 2003–2004, 75% of adults with self-reported diabetes had blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/80 mmHg, or used prescription medications for hypertension.
• Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years.
• Diabetic retinopathy causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year.
• Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2005.
• In 2005, 46,739 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage kidney disease in the United States and Puerto Rico.
• In 2005, a total of 178,689 people with end-stage kidney disease due to diabetes were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Nervous system disease (Neuropathy)
• About 60% to 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage.
• More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
• In 2004, about 71,000 nontraumatic lower-limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes.
Cost of Diabetes
$174 billion: Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007
$116 billion for direct medical costs
$58 billion for indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature mortality)
After adjusting for population age and sex differences, average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed diabetes were 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.
Factoring in the additional costs of undiagnosed diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes brings the total cost of diabetes in the United States in 2007 to $218 billion.
• $18 billion for the 6.3 million people with undiagnosed diabetes
• $25 billion for the 57 million American adults with pre-diabetes
• $623 million for the 180,000 pregnancies where gestational diabetes is diagnosed
For Additional Information
These stastics and additional information can be found in the National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2007, the most recent comprehensive assessment of the impact of diabetes in the United States, jointly produced by the CDC, NIH, ADA, and other organizations.