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Awesome Life Insurance Tips for those with GERD and/or Barrett’s Esophagus

Researcher & Writer
July 29, 2017

Known primarily as a serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD, Barrett’s esophagus is one of those pre-existing conditions which can often significantly complicate what would otherwise be a straight forward and easy life insurance application.

GERD, Barrett’s esophagus and issues that can arise

In understanding why being diagnosed with GERD or Barrett’s esophagus can become an issue, it’s important to understand exactly what these two separate conditions are, and how they can potentially manifest into a situation where purchasing a exam required term or whole life insurance policy can become extremely difficult until resolved.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is defined as a chronic digestive disease, whereby stomach acid flows from the stomach back into the esophagus whereby it creates a burning sensation typically referred to as heartburn.  This regurgitation then causes irritation to the lining of the esophagus which if left untreated or unchecked can go on to develop into a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus.

Individuals will often be diagnosed as having GERD rather than occasional “heartburn”  or "acid reflux" when their condition escalates from occasional bouts to a more frequent and chronic occurrence.

The good news here is that, in most situations, where ones’ GERD is simply a painful inconvenience, and hasn’t manifested into anything more serous like Barrett’s esophagus, there remains a good chance that you you’ll be eligible for Preferred or Preferred Plus rate class provided you would be otherwise eligible.

Additionally, you may also be eligible for a simplified issue life insurance policy which would allow you to obtain a quality term or whole life insurance policy without needing to take a medical exam!

For those who have more serious health issues, you may need to consider smaller policies offered by the best final expense and burial insurance companies.

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Barrett’s Esophagus

Barrett’s esophagus is defined as a serious complication of GERD whereby the normal tissue lining of the esophagus becomes so damaged by repeated gastroesophageal reflux that it begins to take on the form of ones’ intestinal lining.  Fortunately, only 10% of those suffering from GERD will go on to develop Barrett’s esophagus.

Barrett’s esophagus becomes a concern for life insurance companies because while rare, individuals suffering from Barrett’s esophagus will experience an increased risk of developing cancer of the esophagus (less than 1%), which unfortunately is a very lethal form of cancer.

But before we get too upset…

Let’s reiterate, that developing esophageal cancer after being diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus is rare.  But that doesn’t mean that the insurance companies aren’t going to be a little nervous about it none the less.

For this reason, once it has been determined that your GERD has been severe enough to cause you to develop Barrett’s esophagus, you’ll generally find that the insurance companies are going to ask several additional questions about your GERD so that they can determine what type of “risk” you may pose.

Common questions you’ll likely be as will include:

  • When where you first diagnosed with GERD? And when was it determined that you have Barrett’s esophagus?
  • How long have you been treating these conditions?
  • What medications are you currently using to treat your GERD?
  • Has your condition required any type of medical and/or surgical procedures?
  • Have you ever had any esophageal cells test positive for cancer or be determined as “pre-cancerous”?

With these questions…

Answered, the insurance companies will generally have a pretty good idea about what “type” of life insurance policy you’ll be eligible for and also what “rate class” you most likely will qualify for.

The good news for those who have been diagnosed with Barret’s esophagus, provided that there is no evidence of cancer, you too should potentially be eligible for a Preferred or Preferred plus rate class as well!

The only difference here is…

That for those who have been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, we’ll typically suggest that they first try applying for fully underwritten term or whole life insurance that will require them to take a medical exam, rather than apply for a simplified issue life insurance policy that won’t require a medical exam simply because in many situations, a fully underwritten term or whole life insurance policy will be easier for someone to qualify for.   Particularly if they have a pre-existing medical condition like Barrett’s esophagus.

To learn more about…

What types of life insurance policies that you may qualify for as well as get a general idea about how much your life insurance policy will cost, we highly recommend that you to give us a call and see if we can earn your business!

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