I get fairly regular questions about the impact of gestational diabetes on life insurance rates. There is no doubt that, like just about any health issue you want to pick, life insurance companies are all over the map with how they treat it.
The reason for gestational diabetes life insurance underwriting concern are studies that, while like insurance companies are all over the map, do show that gestational diabetes can increase the chances of a woman developing type 2 diabetes in the 5 to 10 years post pregnancy. The reason studies and life insurance underwriters are on both sides of this debate is that type 2 diabetes generally doesn’t come from thin air. There are risk factors and a review of those makes it pretty clear that if a person wanted to have type 2 diabetes, there’s really a game plan to accomplish that.
And the opposite is true. If a woman wants to avoid having type 2 diabetes, there is most definitely a game plan for that as well. Why some companies lean toward leniency in underwriting for women who have had gestational diabetes is that while gestational diabetes is a risk factor for later type 2 diabetes, studies are very inconclusive about what the outcome would be if a woman proactively avoided the other risk factors after a pregnancy involving gestational diabetes. In other words, what if other risk factors such as obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol are well controlled and diabetes “anti-risk” factors such as diet and exercise are maximized. What then is the real risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Family history of diabetes is noted as one of the biggest risk factors that leads from gestational to type 2 diabetes. But, family history is one of those red flag warnings that helps make sure an anti diabetes life style is adopted. Family history is negated all the time. Children of parents who smoke and have health problems because of it generally adopt a non smoking lifestyle. Children of parents who have had obesity related cardiac or other health issues will generally have a go at removing obesity from their lifestyle.
Having said all of that, companies are genuinely split on gestational diabetes life insurance underwriting. I just shopped a case where most of the companies would offer no better than standard rates, while a handful stepped out with preferred rates. One company said preferred unless their was a family history of diabetes in which case their best offer was standard. They obviously don’t read my blog or aren’t buying into the world according to Ed.
Bottom line. Simple enough. Gestational diabetes doesn’t mean an automatic standard rate approval or worse. Preferred, and if you catch an underwriter on a good day, I believe even preferred plus rate approvals are available.