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Half of people with diabetes don’t think they qualify for or can afford life insurance

Insurance Forums Staff

A new survey commissioned by John Hancock found that almost half (47%) of people living with diabetes are worried they won’t qualify for a life insurance policy, and another 45% assume it’s too expensive.

On the contrary, more than 90% of all the people with diabetes who sought life insurance from John Hancock in the past 18 months qualified, with 88% of them receiving a standard or better rate, according to the company.

“Our survey confirmed a pervasive belief among many people with diabetes that they either won’t qualify for life insurance or that it isn’t affordable,” said Brooks Tingle, senior vice president and interim head of John Hancock Insurance.

He added his company is committed to helping Americans with diabetes understand that life insurance is both attainable and an important way to protect their families’ future. “In fact, a new kind of life insurance allows people with diabetes to pay less for their annual premiums simply by making healthy choices like getting regular check-ups, eating well and staying active,” Tingle said.

According to the survey, people with diabetes recognize the many benefits life insurance can provide — including providing for their family (81%), covering final expenses (68%), and providing peace of mind (50%). Yet almost 40% of people with diabetes who don’t have a life insurance policy say they are unlikely to apply for one in the future.

Survey respondents’ hesitation comes from confusion about life insurance, especially for those living with diabetes. Only 32% of people with diabetes consider themselves knowledgeable about life insurance. Their top questions include:

  • Is life insurance more expensive because I have diabetes? (51%)
  • Will I be able to get life insurance with diabetes? (47%)
  • Will I need a medical exam in order to get life insurance? (41%)
  • Can I afford a life insurance policy? (40%)

John Hancock made news earlier this October by announcing the expansion of its program that offers massively discounted Apple Watches to its Vitality program policyholders, which rewards them for the choices they make every day to improve their health— such as exercising regularly, eating well and visiting the doctor. In addition to being eligible for a $25 Apple Watch* (which shares some data with John Hancock related to the program), program members can save up to $600 on healthy food purchases** and as much as 15% on life insurance premiums.

According to the John Hancock study, about 75% of people with diabetes say this kind of life insurance is appealing. Also:

  • 65% agree it would motivate them to live a healthier life
  • 60% agree it would provide them with additional support to help them manage their diabetes
  • 52% agree it would help them to afford life insurance

Over 30 million people in the U.S. are living with diabetes, and another 84 million have prediabetes. Globally, diabetes is considered the single greatest chronic disease threat to health today.***

“With advancements in treatments and underwriting, most people living with diabetes can get the important life insurance coverage they need,” Tingle said.

Survey Methodology: This nationwide survey was conducted online by Qualtrics on behalf of John Hancock. Interviews were completed in September 2017 among 1,025 U.S. adults ages 25 years and older living with diabetes. The data was weighted by age, income, ethnicity and region to accurately represent the U.S. population.

* Apple Watch can be ordered for an initial payment of $25 plus tax and over the next two years, monthly payments are based on the number of workouts completed. Please note: Apple Watch program is not available in New York.

** HealthyFood savings are based on qualifying purchases and may vary based on the terms of the John Hancock Vitality program.

*** Source: American Diabetes Association, 2017 and Beyond – our Vision and Direction.

Premium savings are in comparison to the same John Hancock policy without the Vitality program. Annual premium savings will vary based upon policy type, the terms of the policy, and the level of the insured’s participation in the John Hancock Vitality program. Vitality is the provider of the John Hancock Vitality Program in connection with policies issued by John Hancock. Rewards and discounts are subject to change and are not guaranteed to remain the same for the life of the policy.



3 thoughts on “Half of people with diabetes don’t think they qualify for or can afford life insurance”

  1. The article did not differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Knowing that they are completely different diseases, does John Hancock underwrite them the same? Possibly something to be answered in a future article?

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