In this article, we want to take a moment to answer some of the most common questions we receive from people who are applying for life insurance after being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression.
We’ll address questions such as:
- Can I qualify for life insurance after being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression?
- Why do life insurance companies care if I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression?
- What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me about or be interested in?
- What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
- What can I do to help ensure that I get the best life insurance for me?
Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Can I qualify for life insurance after I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression?
Yes, individuals who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression can and often will be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy. In fact, in some cases, they may even be able to qualify for a Standard Plus rating!
The problem is that most of the top-rated life insurance companies you’re probably familiar with are going to be a bit “hesitant” about insuring someone who has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. This is why it’s going to be important that you be extra carefue about “which” life insurance company you choose to apply with because when it comes to dealing with a pre-existing medical condition like Manic Depression, not all life insurance companies are equal.
It’s also why, you may want to avoid applying for a no medical exam term life insurance policy simply because these “types” of life insurance policies can be more difficult to qualify for if you have been previously diagnosed with some type of pre-existing medical condition.
Why do life insurance companies care if I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression?
When it comes to being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression, it can be easy to understand why some individuals may be confused about why a life insurance company would be interested in this information. After all, it’s not quite the same as having a life-threatening medical condition. However, it’s important to understand why some insurance companies may be hesitant to offer coverage to those with these conditions.
This is why, it makes sense to take a moment to examine what Bipolar Disorder and/or Manic Depression is and try to explain precisely why some life insurance companies get really “nervous” about offering coverage to individuals diagnosed with this condition.
Bipolar Disorder Defined
Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition that is characterized by extreme mood swings or episodes of mania and depression. These mood swings can be intense and disruptive, often affecting an individual’s ability to function normally in their daily life.
During a manic episode, an individual may experience elevated mood, inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and increased energy. On the other hand, during a depressive episode, an individual may experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, loss of interest in activities, and even thoughts of suicide. Bipolar Disorder can be managed with medication and therapy, but it is a lifelong condition that requires ongoing treatment and monitoring.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder may include:
- Extreme mood swings,
- Difficulty focusing,
- Easily angered,
- Loss of interest in social activities,
- Suicide ideation or attempts,
- Eating disorders,
As well as an increased propensity for participating in risky or unsafe behaving including:
- Drug and alcohol abuse,
- Impulsive sexual activity,
- Suicide ideation and/or attempts,
- Impulsive spending or gambling,
- Participation in adrenaline sports or activities,
Fortunately (from a glass 1/2 full perspective)…
There are two main types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II.
Bipolar I disorder
This is characterized by episodes of extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression). These episodes can be severe and can affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. During a manic episode, a person may feel extremely energized, have racing thoughts, and engage in risky or impulsive behaviors. During a depressive episode, a person may feel hopeless, have difficulty concentrating, and have little energy or interest in activities.
Individuals suffering from this “type” of bipolar disorder will find it more difficult to qualify for coverage and may need to seek out an alternative product such as a guaranteed issue life insurance policy or an accidental death policy, if they are unable to qualify for traditional life insurance coverage.
Bipolar II disorder
This is similar to Bipolar I disorder, but the manic episodes are less severe and are known as hypomanic episodes. People with Bipolar II disorder may experience episodes of depression and hypomania, but they do not experience full-blown manic episodes.
There are also other subtypes of bipolar disorder, including cyclothymic disorder, which is characterized by hypomanic and mild depression episodes that last for at least two years, and rapid cycling bipolar disorder, which is characterized by four or more mood episodes in a year.
There aren’t any definitive “cures” for those who have Bipolar Disorder. However, there are a variety of different medications one may take as well as many different psychotherapeutic approaches which do seem to help people gain better control over their condition thereby allowing them to live a “normal” and productive life!
This is why…
Many applicants who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder will be able to qualify for traditional coverage. That said, after reviewing some of the symptoms of this disease, it’s easy to see why a life insurance company might hesitate to consider an individual eligible for coverage, and also why they’re not likely to offer them a “preferred rate”.
Most Bipolar applicants who do end up being able to qualify for coverage will usually only be able to do so at a “high risk” classification, which will usually be determined based on an individuals:
- prescription medication history,
- medical records
- and the answers they give to the insurance underwriter at the time of their application.
What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
When applying for life insurance with a history of Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression, insurance companies will typically require you to disclose detailed information about your diagnosis and treatment history. Some of the information they may ask for includes:
- Diagnosis: The insurance company will ask for the specific diagnosis you received and when you were first diagnosed.
- Treatment: They will ask about the type of treatment you received, including medications, therapy, hospitalizations, and any other interventions.
- Symptoms: They may ask about your symptoms and how often you experience them, including manic or depressive episodes, mood swings, and any associated behaviors.
- Family history: They may ask about your family history of Bipolar Disorder or other mental health conditions.
- Medical records: They may require access to your medical records, including records from any mental health providers.
- Work history: They may ask about your work history, including any time missed from work due to your condition.
Specific questions my also include:
- In the past two years, have you been admitted to a hospital for any reason?
- When was the last time you suffered from a Manic or Depression “episode”?
- Have you ever considered suicide or attempted suicide?
- Do you have any history of drug or alcohol abuse?
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?
- Do you have any issues with your driving record? Issues such as multiple moving violations, a DUI, or a suspended license?
- In the past two years, have you declared bankruptcy?
- Do you currently participate or plan on participating in any dangerous hobbies or activities? Activities such as skydiving, hang gliding, bungee jumping, or rock climbing?
- Are you currently working now?
- In the past 12 months, have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?
All of this information will help the insurance company assess the level of risk you present and determine whether they can offer you coverage and at what cost.
What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
What you’re going to find when applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy after having been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder is that the most “lenient” life insurance companies will typically “cap” one’s approval rate at a Standard Plus rate.
Which means that…
An individual who has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder will be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy at a “better than normal” rate.
“Which isn’t all that bad all things considered!”
The problem with this is that not everyone who has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder will be able to qualify for this rate for several different reasons.
To be able to qualify for a Standard Plus rate as a “Bipolar applicant” you’re going to need to be able to demonstrate that your condition has remained stable for a minimum of one year, and you’re going to also need to demonstrate that your condition hasn’t added any additional “baggage” to your application:
Baggage such as:
- Previous felony convictions,
- Previous drug or alcohol abuse,
- Issues with your driving record,
- Etc, etc…
In addition to demonstrating that you have your Bipolar Disorder under control, you’re also going to need to be able to qualify for a Standard Plus rate based on other health-related topics. For example:
- Have you been diagnosed with any other pre-existing medical conditions?
- Have you ever suffered from a heart attack or stroke?
- Have any of your immediate family members ever been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, or diabetes?
- What is your current height and weight?
- In the past 12 months, have you used any tobacco or nicotine products?
The last reason why someone might not be able to qualify for a Standard Plus rate after they have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder is that you may end up applying for life insurance with the “wrong” company for you! This is why it’s so important to do your due diligence before actually applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy and ask…
“Which life insurance companies tend to be the most lenient towards Bipolar applicants?”
The good news is…
That regardless of your situation, we here at IBUSA can help because we have tons of experience helping folks with all sorts of pre-existing medical conditions like yours and are committed to helping all of our clients find the “best” life insurance policy that they can qualify for.
This brings us to the last topic that we wanted to take a moment and discuss, which is…
What can I do to help ensure that I get the “best life insurance” for me?
If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and are considering applying for life insurance, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurers: Each insurer has its own underwriting guidelines and may approach applicants with bipolar disorder differently. It’s a good idea to get quotes from multiple insurers to find the best coverage at the most affordable price.
- Disclose your diagnosis and treatment: It’s important to be honest and accurate when answering questions about your medical history on your life insurance application. If you do not disclose your bipolar disorder or provide false information, your coverage may be denied or your policy may be cancelled.
- Consider a guaranteed issue policy: If you have been denied coverage by traditional insurers due to your bipolar disorder, you may be able to qualify for a guaranteed issue policy. These policies do not require a medical exam or ask questions about your medical history, but they generally have higher premiums and lower coverage limits.
- Work with your healthcare team: Make sure to keep your healthcare team informed about your life insurance plans. They can help you manage your symptoms and provide documentation to support your application.
You’ll also want to seek out those life insurance agents who not only have experience working with individuals who have been diagnosed with a wide variety of pre-existing medical conditions but also have access to dozens of different life insurance companies so that when it comes time to helping a more “challenging” case, they don’t have to rely on a…
“One size fits all approach!”
The good news is that this is exactly what you’re going to find here at IBUSA.
Now, will we be able to help out everyone who has been previously diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder?
No, probably not. But what we can tell you is that in addition to offering a wide variety of different term and whole life insurance policies, IBUSA has also worked very hard to establish relationships with many of the Best Burial Life Insurance Companies as well so that if someone isn’t able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy, chances are there may be some other “type” of product that you CAN qualify for.
So, if you’re ready to see what options might be available to you, just give us a call!
I have a bipolar diagnosis and need to continue my term life insurance which expires in December. I am seeking quotes. I am in good health and my disease is well-managed.
Depending on your existing term life insurance policy, it may be possible to extend your current coverage utilizing a “guaranteed renewable” feature, which would be a good thing!
We should note that the new price that your insurance company will set is likely to be much higher than what you are currently paying now (and will likely change each year you continue to maintain your existing life insurance policy).
For this reason, our suggestion to you would be to give us a call here at IBUSA to see what kind of new policies you might be able to qualify for, which you can then compare with what your existing life insurance company can do for you.
We would also encourage you to start this process right away so that if you choose to apply for a new life insurance company, that approval can be in place before your existing policy expires.
I was diagnosed as bi-polar (manic depressive) at an approximate age of 12. I am now 48, and on SSD. The primary reason is that I am blind and secondary reason is the bi-polar. I have received information that just being on SSDI disqualifies me. Living with these two medical issues is challenging enough, where should I look to find life insurance coverage?
Based on the information that you have provided, it does sound like qualifying for a traditional life insurance policy will be difficult (if not impossible).
However, we would like to speak with you directly before we made this assumption.
Now, if it does turn out that you won’t qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. You still may be able to qualify for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, which will provide up to $25,000 in coverage.
Most of these “types” of life insurance policies will require an applicant to be at least 50 years old; however, a few carriers are willing to insure those below this cut-off age. The question will then become whether or not you live in a state where one of these carriers operate.
Another option you may also want to consider is purchasing an accidental death policy as a way of “supplementing” your insurance since it seems like you don’t suffer from any “life-threatening” medical conditions at this time.
Unfortunately, accidental death policies don’t cover natural causes of death; however, they would provide protection against injury-related causes of death such as motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, or natural disaster.
Apologies in advance for long message! I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety 20 years ago and was hospitalized with suicidal thoughts. I had been treated successfully until 15 years ago when I experienced severe postpartum depression that was hard to treat. I didn’t experience full relief with high doses of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds so doctor put me on Lamictal and Risperdal to see if I responded. I did, so they changed my diagnosis to Bipolar 2. I have never had mania or hypomania—my highs are experienced as high anxiety. I have been on the same meds for approximately 14 years. Same full-time job for 7 years. Same relationship for 10 years. 100% medication compliance and therapy. No hospitalizations for 20 years. No suicidal thoughts for 15 years. No suicidal attempts ever. No depressive episode for 9 years. 6 months ago, my doctor reduced my Effexor XR by 15% (now at 375mg/day) because I was diagnosed with ADHD and my doc feels many of my depression/anxiety symptoms are actually ADHD symptoms. Yes, I am on a lot of meds (5), but it is a cocktail that works and I’ve been steady/stable for at least 8 years. I am 55, no other health problems but I am 5’4” and weigh 170. Do you think I can get accepted and if so, could I meet the “standard” category criteria or is that wishful thinking?
Thanks in advance!
Thank you for your detailed not, unfortunatly what you didn’t mention was what type of life insurance policy you are looking for? Don’t worry though, we’ll have an agent reach out to you via email so that you can let them know specifically what you are looking for and hopefully they will be able to help you out.