diabetes

heart disease risks

The heart is a tiny but powerful organ whose work is indispensable to the rest of the body. This 1-pound organ pumps nearly 2,000 gallons of blood every day. This Heart Month, we examine three contributing factors insurers can consider when reviewing a life insurance applicant’s laboratory and medical history.

Smoking contributes to one-third of coronary heart disease deaths

Smoking has multiple health risk factors. In addition to lung and throat cancer, smoking can also lead to coronary heart disease, stroke and/or raised blood pressure. According to American Heart Association, smokers have a higher mortality risk than non-smokers and on average, die more than 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.

In a recent analysis, we discovered that 6.5% of all ExamOne life insurance applicants tested positive for cotinine from 2017 to 2019. Further, we saw a 36.4% non-disclosure rate–meaning cotinine-positive applicants denied their tobacco use, something we refer to as ‘smoker’s amnesia.’ We also found that smokers had an increased risk of positivity for other drugs of abuse:

High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.

It is estimated that tens of millions of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and most do not have it under control. It can lead to heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans.

Our examiners are trained to take three blood pressure readings during the paramedical exam. Per Mayo Clinic recommendations, documenting a blood pressure reading multiple times helps verify accuracy. Additionally, if an applicant is or has been prescribed a blood pressure medication, results will be found in a prescription history report (up to seven years look-back). This provides insurers with information including the prescribing doctor, prescription adherence, a drug summary and prescription detail.

An elevated A1c could indicate an applicant is prediabetic or diabetic.  

It’s estimated that in 2018, 34.1 million adults aged 18 years or older—or 13.0% of all US adults—had diabetes and over 21% were unaware. Many times, applicants may be unaware they have this condition because they have not been tested and/or diagnosed. In fact, 34% of applicants with tested A1c values of 6.5 or higher stated they did not have diabetes during their telephone interview or on their application. The CDC also states that the risk of death from heart disease for adults with diabetes is higher than for adults who do not have diabetes.

The heart is a vital organ. By keeping it healthy, individuals reduce the likelihood of developing a chronic medical condition(s) later in life. Insurers can use real-time health data and laboratory results during the risk assessment process to better understand potential health risks for their life insurance applicants.

1. Diabetes can impact almost anyone. Today, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes, with 7.2 million still undiagnosed. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates there are 84.1 million people with pre-diabetes and 1.5 million are diagnosed every year.

2. Are you at risk? Take the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Risk Test.

3. A1c is the gold standard of diabetes testing. In 2016, ExamOne became the first company in the life insurance industry to update insurance profiles to include A1c testing on all applicants. Find out why it’s preferred testing method for life insurance testing.

4. Know your health. As part of the life insurance process, applicants can view their laboratory results securely online at MyExamOne.com within two weeks of their exam. Knowing these results helps increase awareness of their current health status and empowers applicants to lead a healthier lifestyle if needed. Learn more about online laboratory results at ExamOne.com.

5. Stay active. According to the American Diabetes Association, the economic burden of diabetes and prediabetes in the United States is over $327 billion in medical costs and lost productivity each year. However, 150 minutes of exercise each week can help reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. See how some of our employees stay motivated to keep active.

For more information on how the American Diabetes Association is working to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes, visit diabetes.org.

Diabetes Awareness Month: Managing risk and supporting applicant health

November 7, 2017 Applicants

Today, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes, with 7.2 million still undiagnosed. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates there are 84.1 million people with pre-diabetes. [1] Each November, during Diabetes Awareness Month, we are reminded to focus on the growing crisis and share knowledge about diabetes and its impact on millions of […]

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The growing diabetes crisis and what it means for life insurers

November 3, 2016 Carriers

The diabetic crisis continues to grow around the world, but despite its prevalence, it remains an almost invisible disease. The month of November is dedicated to bringing awareness to this chronic illness and a sense of urgency about this growing public health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with diabetes […]

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The global diabetes crisis and what it means for life insurers

May 31, 2016 Carriers

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.[1] Diabetes was attributable to 3.7 million deaths in 2012. Forty-three percent of all deaths due to high blood glucose occur before the age of 70.[1] Type 1 diabetes is most […]

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Diabetes Awareness Month: Using A1c as a Diabetes and Mortality Marker

November 6, 2015 Carriers

November is the start of Diabetes Awareness Month, an especially important event with the increasing numbers of those individuals with type 2 diabetes in the United States. According to the 2014 Diabetes Report Card, 29 million Americans are currently living with diabetes; there are about 8.1 million who are still undiagnosed. [1] Shockingly, diabetes causes […]

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Is Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes Increasing the Mortality Risk of your Population?

October 23, 2013 Carriers

Pre-diabetes, diabetes and insulin resistance are on the rise in the United States and in developed countries around the world. Seventy-nine million or 35% of the U.S. population have pre-diabetes and 26 million have diabetes. These are epidemic proportions with one third of our population at increased risk of future morbidity or mortality[i]. So what […]

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