Life Insurance for Dialysis Patients

Kidney disease can be a serious condition that usually results in dialysis treatment. Unfortunately, in can be difficult for dialysis patients to obtain a life insurance policy, so they need to seek alternative options to make sure their loved ones are taken care of financially.
By Beth W.
Updated Sep 2, 2021
life insurance dialysis patients
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Kidney disease affects approximately 661,000 people in the United States. Of that number, 468,000 are on dialysis, a process that removes waste from a patient's blood. Sometimes, dialysis is temporary because the kidneys respond to treatment and begin working once more. In other cases, the patient receives a kidney transplant that makes dialysis unnecessary. Sadly, many kidney disease patients are on dialysis long term. These patients include those with end-stage renal failure.

Since this treatment indicates a serious pre-existing condition, it can be difficult to get life insurance for dialysis patients. But if you suffer from kidney disease, you can purchase other types of coverage that can provide financial support for your beneficiaries. You can also choose other financial options to supplement your insurance policies. If you are on dialysis, you have options. 

Pre-Existing Conditions

The laws concerning pre-existing conditions have changed when it comes to health insurance, but a serious condition such as heart disease, kidney disease, or diabetes can still prevent you from getting life insurance. Insurance companies analyze the risk of their patients dying during the policy period. If they consider you too high of a risk, they will reject your application. In some cases, the company may issue you a policy, but the price may be quite high because of your medical issues. If you are currently undergoing dialysis, life insurance companies consider you an unsuitable candidate for traditional policies.

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Alternative Policies

If you cannot get life insurance, you can buy alternative coverage. There are creative solutions to life insurance for dialysis patients to consider. Group life insurance, accidental death and guaranteed acceptance life insurance are examples of policies that may work for someone in kidney failure.

Group Life Insurance

A group life insurance policy may be part of your employer's benefits package. These policies are available to all employees despite their health status. Although the coverage amount for these policies is usually modest, often one year’s salary or less, they can be a significant help to your beneficiaries. Sometimes, your employer allows you to buy more coverage at a low premium rate. This coverage is only in effect as long as your are an employee of the company, which is a major disadvantage for someone with a serious illness. However, dialysis patients who are still working should take full advantage of this coverage opportunity.

Accidental Death Policy

AD&D policies are another option for people with kidney disease. Dialysis patients can get accidental death and dismemberment coverage since these policies only pay out when you die from an accident and not anything related to your pre-existing illness. Since your physical health is not a determining factor in this coverage, you do not need to pass a life insurance medical exam. As long as you meet the age requirement, companies guarantee your acceptance. These policies typically range from $10,000 to $1,000,000 or more and are usually quick and easy to get.

Of course, if your medical condition in any way contributes to an accident that ends your life, your beneficiary will not receive any money. For instance, If you are suffering from eye issues and crash your car, your death would probably not be covered. In most accident cases, however, your accidental death policy would pay out to your beneficiary. 

Buying an AD&D policy offers you and your family some protection but does not help if you die from any type of medical condition, including kidney disease. That limitation means you need to consider other options as well.

Guaranteed Life Insurance

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance policies are another way to bolster your insurance coverage. People often refer to these policies as guaranteed issue or guaranteed acceptance policies since they do not require a medical exam or questionnaire. The life insurance company also will not ask to examine your medical and prescription records. Your health simply does not affect your acceptance. This life insurance is not for everyone. These policies are usually available to people aged 50-80, although some companies may issue them to those over 80 in certain circumstances. 

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance has several drawbacks. The policies are limited in size and usually pay out between $2,000 and $25,000. Despite having a lower value, their premiums are more expensive than traditional policies because the insurance provider accepts those with a high risk of dying soon. Companies selling these policies expect to make frequent payouts, but they also want the policies to be profitable. Guaranteed policies come in both term and whole life form, just as traditional policies do. You can choose a long-term whole life option or a term policy that only covers 10 years depending on your personal needs.

Burial insurance policies are one of the most common guaranteed issue life insurance products. They fall under this category because they do not require a health exam for acceptance. This coverage is popular because many people worry about paying for their funerals — and with good reason. The average funeral now costs between $7,000 and $12,000, an amount many families cannot handle. Burial policies pay out enough to take care of final expenses and not much more. They fill a need for elderly people and those with serious medical issues, including kidney disease, who do not want their death to financially compromise their family members.

Despite their popularity, burial insurance policies have a major weakness. They do not go into effect immediately upon purchase. In fact, they have a waiting period of two to three years. If you die within that time period, the insurance company will not pay out to your beneficiary. This provision is to prevent people who are on the verge of death from buying a last-minute policy. If you buy a guaranteed policy and die during the waiting period, most life insurance companies return your premiums plus 10% for interest. 

Multiple Life Insurance Policies

As a dialysis patient, you cannot buy a traditional life insurance policy, but you can purchase several alternative products. Legally, you may own multiple life insurance policies, something to consider if you have kidney disease. You should consider purchasing at least one accidental death policy and one guaranteed policy since you cannot buy a standard policy. Insurers do not care if you have multiple policies. They worry more if you insure yourself for an amount of money that does not reflect your lifestyle and/or yearly income. 

The End of Dialysis

Dialysis is sometimes a temporary treatment, so you may be a patient now but be able to buy a traditional life insurance policy later. Once you no longer need dialysis, you can apply for a traditional life insurance policy. For instance, those with successful kidney transplants may qualify for better coverage depending on their overall health.

Only certain pre-existing conditions prevent you from getting traditional life insurance. Unfortunately, kidney disease treated by dialysis is one of them. Many people with other chronic health conditions can get standard life insurance policies but they often pay higher premiums. 

Other Options

In addition to getting alternative life insurance for dialysis patients, you can also consult with your financial advisor about creating other ways to leave money to your beneficiaries. But remember, a life insurance policy should always be a part of a comprehensive financial plan whenever possible.

Final Thoughts  

If you can, buy a traditional life insurance policy. But if you cannot, invest in alternative coverage. Before choosing any life insurance plan, you can compare all your available options by using PolicyScout. Simply choose the life insurance option and then enter some basic information about your personal situation. You will quickly receive details about life insurance policies from top insurance providers. 

Life insurance for dialysis patients may be near impossible to obtain, however those with kidney disease do have several reasonable options for alternative life insurance policies. You can provide for your family in case of your death while giving yourself increased peace of mind. Search today to find the policies that fit your individual needs.