GIHI consultant Doctor Grant E. Williams, MD comments on a welcome new era for arthritis and health insurance...
Living with arthritis? You’re not alone!
If you are one of the estimated 50 million adults who suffer from this debilitating disease, you may like to know that there is plenty of support out there to help you and your families through the difficulties that arthritis creates. You may also like to know that the insurance industry is not against you either. No matter what trouble you have had in the past with regards to being accepted for affordable, comprehensive health insurance for arthritis, modern guaranteed-issue plans are available to ensure you get the cover you need, when you need it.
Health insurance applicants who suffer from arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may be able to secure arthritis insurance at standard rates, or with a slightly higher premium. Those wishing to apply will need to submit the full details of their condition to the underwriters in order to obtain an accurate quote for health insurance for arthritis sufferers. Every enrollee is individually reviewed for insurance and guaranteed issue providers will do everything they can to get you covered as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.
What exactly is arthritis?
Arthritis is taken from the Latin for joint (arth) and inflammation (itis). There are three main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis. Each type has different characteristics and variance in strain, from mild, occasional bouts to debilitating illness that requires constant attention...
- Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. It is suffered by almost 30 million Americans and is caused by the breaking down of cartilage in joints. Cartillage acts as a buffer between bones and allows for ease of movement. Once this breaks down, the friction between bones can cause considerable stiffness and discomfort to the extent that it can halt movement entirely. In extreme cases, muscle and ligaments can be damaged and joint replacement surgery may be necessary.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease, and as such there is no cure. It is also an autoimmune type of inflammatory arthritis, meaning that the disease attacks the immune system, leaving cells vulnerable to infection from bacteria and viruses. There is a membrane that lines the joints (the synovium) which the disease targets, causing a buildup of fluids, which can cause considerable pain and systemic inflammation which affects the entire body.
- Juvenile Arthritis (JA) is the term which covers all types of arthritis; inflammatory and autoimmune strains, in those below 18 years of age. Unlike other forms of arthritis, Juvenile arthritis can also refer to visual issues, dermatological issues and problems with the intestines as well. JA is becoming more prevalent in modern times and there is a lot of research currently underway to tackle the issue and try to understand the condition which, although genetics plays a large role in its occurrence, appears to affect genders and races equally, unlike many diseases.
Arthritis in numbers…
Here are some statistics relating to arthritis; a disease that is commonplace in modern society and which doesn’t only affect the older generations:
- As many as 55 million US citizens have been diagnosed with a form or arthritis, including gout, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or lupus
- One fifth of adults in Europe and Asia have been diagnosed with arthritis by a doctor
- Half of all adults above 65 years of age are diagnosed with arthritis
- In 20 years’ time, almost 70 million citizens above 18 years of age will have an arthritis diagnosis
- Approximately 300,000 children and teenagers are living with an arthritic condition (juvenile arthritis). That is one in every 250 kids in the country
[Source: 2003-2009 NHIS; 2001–2004 National Medical Survey]
Diagnosis and treatment:
Diagnosis: To diagnose arthritis, a medical practitioner will review the symptoms and discuss your medical record, followed by a bodily examination, which will focus on your joints and movement ability. In normal circumstances, an individual has suffered recurring discomfort before they make an appointment to see a doctor. Referral for an X-ray will usually determine whether there is any cartilage damage which is consistent with arthritic conditions. Clinical research is hoping to discover methods to detect these conditions earlier on, even before symptoms become apparent.
Medical treatment: While there is no cure for arthritis, it can be controlled using drugs and gentle physical therapy. Medication usually centers on pain relief, using analgesics and painkillers. Steroids combat inflammation in the short term, but are not recommended in the long term. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory alternatives are available, but can create other complications in the digestive tract as a side effect. These are not recommended for those with heart complaints.
Surgical treatment: There may come a point when surgery is the best or only option. Joint replacement can be extremely effective, and in many cases relieves the symptoms entirely. Your specialist will advise on a range of devices that will assist you in your day-to-day activities, for example walking frames, splints, orthopedic footwear and braces.
Lifestyle choices: While drugs and surgery are undoubtedly effective, there are many methods of reducing the symptoms of arthritis, such as gentle exercise that concentrates on the affected areas; stretching; weight loss and dietary changes that focus on vitamin-rich food products that strengthen the immune and skeletal systems. An arthritis specialist will guide the patient in what is the best way to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and how to eat a regular balanced diet. Your local Arthritis Association will provide education and support in addition to regular medical care.
How guaranteed arthritis insurance can help…
In recognition of the hardships suffered by those with arthritis, there are many established institutions and organizations available which will offer assistance in troublesome times. Financial institutions should be no different. Guaranteed issue health insurance for arthritis sufferers will help you by providing peace of mind and financial stability when you need it the most. Arthritis insurance comes at manageable rates and each individual is reviewed according to their own personal circumstances in order to offer the most reasonable and fairest quotes possible.
Article courtesy of Minnesota Sun Times (January 2012, with permission)Pre-existing conditions such as arthritis don’t have to mean that you’re treated differently to anyone else. For morally and ethically sound insurance quoting, try www.naaip.org for size. Our agents are sympathetic to pre-existing conditions and understand your needs. Simply fill the form at the top of this page and have them do the hard work for you.