Insurance problems among inflammatory bowel disease patients: results of a Dutch population based study
- M G V M Russel1,
- B M Ryan1,
- P C Dagnelie2,
- M de Rooij1,
- J Sijbrandij3,
- A Feleus1,
- M Hesselink1,
- J W Muris4,
- R Stockbrugger1
- 1Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands
- 2Department of Epidemiology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands
- 3Centre for Data and Information Management (MEMIC), University of Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands
- 4Department of General Practice, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands
- Correspondence to:
Dr B Ryan, Department of Gastroenterology, University of Maastricht, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, the Netherlands;
- Accepted 16 September 2002
Background and aims: The majority of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a normal life expectancy and therefore should not be weighted when applying for life assurance. There is scant literature on this topic. In this study our aim was to document and compare the incidence of difficulties in application for life and medical insurance in a population based cohort of IBD patients and matched population controls.
Methods: A population based case control study of 1126 IBD patients and 1723 controls. Based on a detailed questionnaire, the frequency and type of difficulties encountered when applying for life and medical insurance in matched IBD and control populations were appraised.
Results: In comparison with controls, IBD patients had an 87-fold increased risk of encountering difficulties when applying for life assurance (odds ratio (OR) 87 (95% confidence interval (CI) 31–246)), with a heavily weighted premium being the most common problem. Patients of high educational status, with continuous disease activity, and who smoked had the highest odds of encountering such problems. Medical insurance difficulties were fivefold more common in IBD patients compared with controls (OR 5.4 (95% CI 2.3–13)) although no specific disease or patient characteristics were identified as associated with such difficulties.
Conclusions: This is the first detailed case control study that has investigated insurance difficulties among IBD patients. Acquiring life and medical insurance constituted a major problem for IBD patients in this study. These results are likely to be more widely representative given that most insurance companies use international guidelines for risk assessment. In view of the recent advances in therapy and promising survival data on IBD patients, evidence based guidelines for risk assessment of IBD patients by insurance companies should be drawn up to prevent possible discriminatory practices.
- IBD, inflammatory bowel disease
- CD, Crohn‘s disease
- UC, ulcerative colitis
- IC, indeterminate colitis
- OR, odds ratio