To determine whether people with insulindependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) were compromised in their access to insurance.
A case-control study of 158 people with IDDM and 158 nondiabetic siblings matched for age and sex was conducted to evaluate the health, life, and automobile insurance characteristics and history of people with IDDM.
Health insurance coverage (yes/no) among the IDDM and sibling control subjects was similar. More than 90% of the IDDM and control respondents had insurance through a private third-party source, and this insurance did not differ by type of plan, coverage, or premium. However, Medicare coverage was more common among the IDDM subjects and was associated with the presence of severe diabetic complications. IDDM subjects were also more likely to have been denied a health insurance policy by an insurer than were the control subjects (23 vs. 1%, P < 0.001). Similarly, there was no difference between the IDDM and sibling control subjects in the number who had a life or automobile insurance policy. However, life and automobile insurance refusal was much more frequent among the IDDM respondents, more so for life (55 vs. 0%, P < 0.001) than for automobile (12 vs. 4%, P < 0.05) insurance.
These results suggest that access to insurance is severely compromised for people with IDDM. Although most of those with IDDM are able to find some form of insurance, it is evident that on average they must go to extra lengths to find it. These data and a changing insurance environmentemphasize the need to reexamine, as a society, the importance of insurance for people with chronic disease, particularly IDDM.