Understanding Crohn’s Disease and Colitis

Jeff Root Jeff Root Posted in Risk
Last updated on April 15, 2019

Many of our clients come to us concerned that certain medical issues will mean they cannot find life insurance.

This is partially why we research and write these articles; to clear any common misconceptions about how underwriters and insurers view “high risk” clients, and how your risks might impact what you pay for coverage.

How Does Inflammatory Bowel Disease Affect Your Premiums?

Before we clear up a misconception about how colitis and Crohn’s Disease automatically mean declines or high premiums, we want to take a second to say that almost every case that crosses our desks can be insured.

It is simply a matter of having the tools and expertise necessary to find the best companies for your unique situation.

It may take time and it may require patience to find the right policy, but we believe that life insurance coverage to protect you and your family is a right, and we work hard to find the companies that work for you.

If you have any questions about your life insurance search or high-risk diseases, feel free to comment below or to reach out to one of our agents. We would be happy to help you and your loved ones find coverage.

Colitis vs Crohn’s Disease

Let us start by saying that if someone has told you “You cannot find insurance for colitis or Crohn’s disease,” they are wrong.

In fact, that entire sentence is wrong for the sole purpose that it lumps the two in the same underwriting category.

While Crohn’s’ Diseases is a form of colitis, it should be looked at separately in terms of life insurance. We’ll get into more detail about Crohn’s Disease shortly, but first we’ll look at non-Crohn’s colitis.


Colitis is an inflammation of the colon, and refers to several conditions. These conditions can include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), infectious gastroenteritis, ischemic colitis or colon spasms.

Let us be clear when we say: these problems on their own, in an otherwise healthy individual, aren’t primary concerns for insurance companies.

So if your colitis diagnosis falls into one of these categories and you are otherwise healthy, you will still be able to obtain life insurance. The premiums you pay will depend on the frequency and severity of your case, and how often it is monitored.

Frequent physician checkups will be required to monitor your colitis, as frequent and untreated inflammations may lead to the development of colon cancer.

Colitis becomes a concern when it is either Crohn’s or a disease called Chronic Ulcerative Colitis (CUC).

Chronic Ulcerative Colitis is a disease characterized by an inflammation of the internal large intestine or the rectum.

This disease has many symptoms including:

  • Weakness
  • Anemia
  • Fever
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

If the area affected by CUC is smaller and lower in the colon, it tends to be milder and easier to treat.

In some cases, however, the entire colon may become inflamed. In cases like these, treatment options might consist of the removal of a part of the colon or the whole colon, depending on the severity of the condition.

CUC presents many health risks. The ulcers in the colon can hemorrhage, leak poisons into the system, or cause the colon to rupture and spill contents into the abdominal cavity.

The most frequent concern with CUC is colon cancer, particularly if larger portions of the colon are inflamed and infected by the disease. Frequent colonoscopies are required to monitor the diseases and prevent its spread.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a type of colitis, but differs from CUC and other forms of colitis in a few key ways; hence, why we recommend examining cases of Crohn’s separately from other forms of colitis.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammation of any part of the gastrointestinal tract, and can occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus.

Most commonly, Crohn’s impacts parts of the rectum and the small and large intestines.

Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Fever
  • Chronic bloody diarrhea

Due to these symptoms and the vitamin deficiency/blood loss associated with them, blood tests will often come back with abnormal results, so it is important to list your symptoms prior to any medically underwritten exam.

Treatment methods for Crohn’s disease are similar to CUC and some medications may help mild cases. With Crohn’s, however, the surgical removal of parts of the colon are not typically recommended, due to the fact that more tissues are often involved. Surgery with Crohn’s may require removal of the mouth, esophagus, stomach or rectum.

With Crohn’s, the risk for colon cancer development is much smaller; however, risks such as complete blockage of the intestine, bacterial abscesses, blood contamination and malabsorption of nutrients are possible outcomes of the disease and frequent surgical treatment methods.

Underwriting CUC and Crohn’s

Although they have little in common, the two diseases are similarly underwritten by insurers.

Your age and overall health will be examined as part of the underwriting process; however, underwriters will want to know some details about your diseases to help them accurately evaluate your risk.

Your application will ask:

  • The location of the inflammation
  • The amount of time that has elapsed since your first diagnosis
  • The severity of your diagnosis
  • The frequency with which your inflammation and side-effects occur
  • Your current treatment methods and how your disease is responding
  • The presence of any additional diseases
  • The frequency of your check-ups (frequent cancer screenings are looked upon favorably)
  • The likelihood of surgery in the future

The good news is you can positively impact your life insurance rating through a healthy diet, weight control, exercise, the use of supplements and other good nutritional habits.

Before beginning any change and diet lifestyle, you should be sure to first speak to your doctor.

You can find life insurance with colitis, and even with Crohn’s or CUC. With the expert help of agents like ours and proactive health measures, finding coverage has never been easier.

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Any questions?  Feel free to email me at krystn@noel-insurance.com, fill out the quote form on the side or call 877-817-2583

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