About Kidney Disease
The kidneys are two organs located on either side of the spine, in the middle of your back just above your waist. They perform several life-sustaining roles. These include cleansing the blood, removing waste and excess fluid, and maintaining the balance of salt and minerals in your blood. They also aid in regulating blood pressure.
Kidney Disease: Causes & Risk Factors
When the kidneys become damaged, waste products and fluids can build up in your body. This can cause swelling in your extremities, vomiting, weakness, shortness of breath, and may cause sleep disturbances. If left untreated, diseased kidneys may eventually stop working completely. Loss of kidney function is a serious and potentially fatal condition. Kidney damage - or reduced kidney function that lasts longer than three months - is referred to as chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is particularly dangerous because there are often no apparent symptoms until after considerable (and often irreparable) renal damage has occurred. Common causes of CKD include high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, frequent urinary tract infections, exposure to drugs and toxins, and family history of chronic renal disease.
Renal problems are common and associated with increased mortality risk. As a result, insurance underwriting will screen applicants for renal function through a series of kidney function tests (KFT’s) done within the insurance exam. There are two common blood tests performed, both of which are closely reviewed. First, the eGFR (glomerular filtration rate). This measures how well the kidney filters and removes undesirable substances from your blood. These substances include creatinine (a waste product resulting from normal wear and tear on your muscles) and BUN (blood urea nitrogen, resulting from the breakdown of proteins in the food you eat). Several urine (HOS) tests are monitored as well, including urine protein, microalbuminuria, and urine creatinine or creatinine clearance.
Underwriting for Kidney Disease
The primary questions to be asked of the proposed insured who presents with a history of kidney disease:
- When/what age was kidney disease first diagnosed?
- What is the specific type of kidney disease?
- What is the severity of the disease: mild/moderate/severe?
- How has it been treated in the past, and how is it currently being treated?
- Are there any other issues with blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, etc.?
- Is there a history of abnormal KFT’s (kidney function tests)? …latest readings?
- Is there any family history of chronic renal disease?
Underwriting for kidney disease will vary. It depends on the severity of the case, the doctor's notes, and lab work pertaining to the history. Acute renal issues can often still get "Preferred" offers. Chronic kidney issues will often receive "Standard" at best or a decline for someone on dialysis (through table ratings and based on severity). Please see the Kidney Disease Questionnaire that will help you gather the pertinent info we’ll need to help evaluate your case.Download the Questionnaire
As always, we’re here to help answer your questions, and provide the best underwriting services possible to help you place your case.
Click here to contact our underwriter, Mike Woods, with specific underwriting questions about kidney disease.