Improving prognosis of type I diabetes: Mortality, accidents, and impact on insurance

Knut Borch-Johnsen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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    OBJECTIVE - Individuals with type 1 diabetes applying for insurance (life, health, accident, etc.) may either see their application being declined by the insurance company or find their premiums being substantially higher than the standard premium. During the last 40-50 years, the prognosis of patients with type 1 diabetes has improved dramatically, partly as a consequence of improved metabolic regulation and partly due to introduction of better treatment for late diabetic complications. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the increased premiums paid by diabetic patients for life insurance and accident insurance reflect the true risk of a diabetic individual. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - Mortality: 3,000 type 1 diabetic patients were followed for 12-51 years. The impact of age, sex, year of diagnosis, and development of nephropathy on excess mortality was analyzed. Accidents: A cohort of nearly 7,000 members of the Danish Diabetes Association participating in group accident insurance was followed for 3 years. The risk and outcome of accidents in the diabetic group was compared with similar risks in a nondiabetic group. RESULTS Mortality: Over a 40-year period, the median life expectancy of type 1 diabetic patients increased by more than 15 years. The decrease was predominantly explained by a decreasing incidence of nephropathy, so that a simple model for estimating insurance premiums (including age of diagnosis, sex, and presence or absence of diabetic nephropathy) could be established. Accident insurance: Individuals with type 1 diabetes experienced a risk of accidents that was not in excess of that found in two control groups, and the outcome (degree of disability) after the accidents did not differ between the diabetic and the nondiabetic group. CONCLUSIONS - Type 1 diabetic patients still have a mortality in excess of nondiabetic individuals. Life insurance premiums should, however, always reflect the changing prognosis of type 1 diabetes and thus, continuous monitoring and revisions are needed. For accident insurance, we found no increased risk of accidents; thus, diabetic individuals should be offered accident insurance on normal terms.

    Sider (fra-til)B1-B3
    TidsskriftDiabetes Care
    Udgave nummerSUPPL. 2
    StatusUdgivet - 1 jan. 1999


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