The majority of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a normal life expectancy. They should not be weighted when applying for life assurance. However, there is scant literature on this topic.
In this study, researchers from the Netherlands assessed difficulties in application for life and medical insurance in IBD patients. Data were compared with those from matched population controls.
They team performed a population-based case control study of 1126 IBD patients and 1723 controls.
|IBD patients experience an 87-fold increased risk of encountering difficulties when applying for life assurance.|
Using a detailed questionnaire, the team reviewed the difficulties encountered when applying for life and medical insurance, for both IBD patients and controls.
The researchers found that, compared to the controls, IBD patients had an 87-fold increased risk of encountering difficulties when applying for life assurance (odds ratio (OR) 87). Heavily weighted premiums were the most common problem.
The team determined that patients of high educational status, with continuous disease activity and who smoked had the highest odds of encountering problems.
The team also found that medical insurance difficulties were 5-fold more common in IBD patients (OR 5.4). However, no specific disease or patient characteristics were identified as associated with these difficulties.
Dr Russell's team concluded, "This is the first detailed case control study that has investigated insurance difficulties among IBD patients".
"Acquiring life and medical insurance constituted a major problem for IBD patients in this study."
"These results are likely to be more widely representative given that most insurance companies use international guidelines for risk assessment."
"In view of the recent advances in therapy and promising survival data on IBD patients, evidence based guidelines for risk assessment of IBD patients by insurance companies should be drawn up to prevent possible discriminatory practices."