The Insurance Surgery's guide to HbA1c readings for Diabetes Life Insurance
HbA1c or MMOL is a common term used in relation to Diabetes and anyone living with the condition will be very familiar with the term. A HbA1c reading will be taken by a GP or Diabetes clinic at least once a year as a way of monitoring the condition.
What is HbA1c?
HbA1c occurs when Glucose that is carried through the body by your red blood cells joins with Haemoglobin molecules. Haemoglobin molecules are what your red blood cells are made of.
As Glucose sticks to the Haemoglobin molecules it forms another molecule which is called Glycosylated Haemoglobin, also known as A1c.
What is a HbA1c (Glycated Haemoglobin) or Fructosamine reading?
A HbA1c reading or test is used to check the control levels for Diabetes as it indicates the Glucose levels in your blood. The test reads the blood Glucose levels for the past 2 or 3 months and looks at the amount of Glucose that is being carried into the body by the red blood cells.
The HbA1c reading is generally taken every 3, 6 or 12 months depending on how severe the Diabetes is, medication objectives and how much monitoring is required. The reading is generally taken by a GP or a Diabetes clinic but can also be taken at home using a blood sugar monitor/indicator. Readings from the GP or specialist are far more accurate than those taken using a test kit at home.
How does my HbA1c reading affect my Life Insurance application?
Most insurance underwriters will look at a number of factors to assess the severity and rating for a Diabetes Life Insurance application. Some factors include:
- Age of diagnosis
- Type (Type 1 or Type 2)
- Control levels (HbA1c reading)
- Cholesterol & Blood Pressure readings/medication
- Complications (i.e. Neuropathy, Retinopathy, Nephropathy)
The HbA1c reading is a vital part of the underwriting process as it is the safest way to view the control levels and severity of the condition. An insurer would not be able to process an application for Diabetes Life Insurance unless they have the most recent reading.
Different insurers will have very different thresholds and guidelines when it comes to accepted levels for insurance premiums. It is important to know which insurers look more favourably on Diabetes and which have the best guidelines in terms of readings. Generally, as a rule, any reading above 10 will be more difficult to place and may require a specialist provider as levels are considered high.
As a guide we would usually expect the following ratings/decisions based on HbA1c readings:
- HbA1c of 4 to 6 = 50 - 150%
- HbA1c of 6 to 9 = 100 - 200%
- HbA1c of 9 to 10 = 125 - 200%+
- HbA1c of 10+ = individual consideration
These figures are purely a guide and can be subject to change depending on market conditions at the time of application.