It seems that nowadays, many people are taking anti-anxiety medication, which may have caused the potential seriousness of being diagnosed with anxiety to be lost on almost everyone, except for the life insurance community.
In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the leading cause of mental illness in the United States, affecting almost 18% of the population, which amounts to over 40 million Americans aged 18 years and older.
And while many of these conditions may be considered mild, its important to understand that until the life insurance company has been able to determine this on their own, most (if not all) life insurance companies will want to learn more before offering someone full life insurance coverage.
The main issue when it comes to helping an individual qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy after being diagnosed with anxiety or prescribed an anti-anxiety medication is that the term “anxiety” can encompass a wide variety of conditions, varying significantly in degrees of severity.
Therefore, one of the first questions that InsuranceBrokersUSA needs to know the answer to before providing an accurate life insurance quote is the “type” of anxiety the individual has been diagnosed with and the severity of their condition.
There are 5 common types of anxiety
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental health condition characterized by excessive and persistent worry and anxiety about various topics, events, or activities. Even when there is little or no reason to worry, individuals with GAD may have difficulty controlling their worry. They may also experience physical symptoms, such as fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty concentrating.
GAD is commonly treated with a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for instance, can help individuals with GAD acquire coping skills to manage their anxiety. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other medications can also aid in reducing anxiety symptoms.
You may be thinking, “who doesn’t worry about these things?” which is a valid point. However, in this case, we are referring to excessive worry. As a result, insurance companies will not simply rely on a diagnosis to make a decision. They will inquire about your diagnosis and determine the severity of your excessive worry before making a decision.
2. Social Phobia.
Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme fear and anxiety in social situations. Individuals with social phobia may fear being judged or embarrassed in front of others, leading them to avoid social situations or interactions.
Symptoms of social phobia may include intense fear or anxiety in social situations, difficulty speaking or performing in front of others, and physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, or a racing heart. Social phobia can interfere with an individual’s daily life and result in isolation and difficulty forming and maintaining relationships.
A combination of therapy and medication is often used to treat social phobia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, can assist individuals with social phobia in learning coping skills to manage their anxiety. Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can also help reduce anxiety symptoms.
Insurance companies will want to inquire further about your “social phobia” before making any hasty decisions. For instance, do you become nervous about speaking in front of people every now and then? Or do you become anxious every time you need to answer the door?
3. Panic Disorder.
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by the experience of sudden and repeated panic attacks. A panic attack is a period of intense fear or discomfort that develops suddenly and reaches a peak within minutes.
During a panic attack, you may experience physical symptoms such as a racing or pounding heart, difficulty breathing, chest pain or discomfort, dizziness or lightheadedness, and feelings of impending doom or danger. Panic disorder can also cause anticipatory anxiety, which is anxiety about having another panic attack.
Panic disorder is typically treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are commonly used to treat panic disorder.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help you identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to your panic attacks. Exposure therapy, which involves gradually exposing you to the situations or activities you fear, can also be helpful in treating panic disorder.
There are several different subtypes of panic disorder, including:
- Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an intense fear and avoidance of situations or places that might cause feelings of panic or helplessness, such as crowded public places, open spaces, or situations where escape may be difficult. This fear and avoidance can significantly impact a person’s daily life and may lead to social isolation and difficulty performing routine activities. Agoraphobia is often accompanied by panic disorder or other anxiety disorders.
- Social anxiety disorder: Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an excessive and persistent fear of social situations or performance situations where embarrassment or scrutiny by others may occur. People with social anxiety disorder often experience physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, blushing, and difficulty speaking or performing in front of others. This fear can lead to avoidance of social situations, which can interfere with daily activities, social relationships, and work or school performance. Social anxiety disorder is typically treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
- Specific phobia: Specific phobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an excessive or irrational fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. The fear is often out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the object or situation and can lead to avoidance behavior. Common types of specific phobias include fear of heights, flying, spiders, snakes, and enclosed spaces. The fear and avoidance can significantly impact a person’s daily life and relationships. Treatment for specific phobias typically involves therapy, such as exposure therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps the person confront and manage their fear. Medications may also be used in some cases.
- Panic disorder with comorbid conditions: Panic disorder with comorbid conditions refers to the presence of panic disorder along with one or more additional psychiatric or medical conditions. Comorbid conditions commonly seen with panic disorder include other anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder, as well as mood disorders like major depression or bipolar disorder. Substance abuse and dependence, as well as medical conditions such as asthma or irritable bowel syndrome, can also co-occur with panic disorder. The presence of comorbid conditions can complicate the treatment of panic disorder, and may require a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to address all of the patient’s needs.
4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent and persistent obsessions (thoughts, urges, or images) and compulsions (repetitive behaviors or mental acts). Obsessions may include fears about contamination, doubts about one’s safety or the safety of loved ones, and a need for symmetry or order. Compulsions may include excessive hand washing, checking, cleaning, or repeating actions a certain number of times.
Although people with OCD may recognize that their obsessions and compulsions are irrational, they feel unable to control them. These thoughts and behaviors can interfere with daily life and cause significant distress. OCD is typically treated with a combination of medication and therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, car accident, or act of violence.
PTSD symptoms include flashbacks or intrusive memories of the event, avoidance of people, places, or activities that remind the person of the event, negative changes in mood and thoughts, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. These symptoms can interfere with daily life and cause significant distress.
PTSD is typically treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be helpful in managing PTSD symptoms, and antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may also be used to treat PTSD.
While our definitions of these medical conditions may be inadequate, we hope to shed some light on what the process of obtaining life insurance will look like after a diagnosis or prescription for anti-anxiety medication.
Let’s take a closer look at how the life insurance industry views these conditions to better understand what to expect when applying for coverage.
In the remainder of this article, we’re not going to discuss PTSD life insurance or OCD, the reason for this is because:
- We have written a different article on PTSD which will explain better
- Someone that has been diagnosed with PTSD will receive extra scrutiny that the other types of disorder.
5 Types of anxiety and the life insurance implications.
When it’s time to evaluate the types of anxiety conditions we’ve looked at, it’s important to understand that while each of these medical conditions is different, insurance companies “in general” will view anxiety disorders as “roughly” the same during the underwriting process. They will be looking for many of the same “red flags” in determining who they will and won’t insure.
Therefore, for the remainder of this article, we will not refer to each condition by its individual name. Instead, we will lump all of these conditions under the “umbrella” term ANXIETY DISORDER.
Preferred Approval Rates.
By now, you may be wondering if you will even be eligible for life insurance coverage with an anxiety disorder. However, don’t worry! If your anxiety is a mild case that is well-managed, you should theoretically still be able to qualify for a Preferred rate. You may even qualify for a No Medical Exam Life Insurance Policy, which means you won’t need to take a medical exam.
However, if you suffer from a moderate or severe case of anxiety, you will likely not qualify for a Preferred rate. Instead, you may qualify for a Standard or Table rate, depending on the severity of your condition. In this case, you will want to be careful when choosing an insurance company.
You will want to ensure that your life insurance agent conducts a thorough application interview with you before applying for coverage. This information can be used to narrow down which life insurance company will give you the best chance of success (provided that your agent works with multiple life insurance companies).
Here at InsuranceBrokersUSA, what we like to do is
- First determine how much life insurance you’re looking for.
- Second, determine how “severe” your anxiety is.
- And lastly, we like to make insurance companies compete for your business by simultaneously shopping rates prior to submitting your life insurance application!
Now, determining how much life insurance you’re looking for is usually pretty easy, we ask, and you tell us. But determining how “severe” your anxiety is can be a bit more tricky. To accomplish this, we usually like to ask the following questions:
- What type of anxiety disorder have you been diagnosed with?
- At what age were you diagnosed with your condition?
- Who diagnosed your condition? A general practitioner or a psychiatrist?
- How long have you been treating your condition?
- How have you been treating you condition?
- Are you currently taking any prescription medications to treat your condition?
- How many medications are you taking right now to treat your condition?
- Have your medications changed over the past 12 months?
- Have you ever been hospitalized due to your condition?
- Do you have any history of drug or alcohol abuse?
- Have you ever attempted suicide or contemplated suicide?
- Are you currently working now?
- In the past 12 months have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?
After going through all of these questions, we’ll have a better understanding of the types of life insurance policies you’ll be eligible for. Then, it’s just a matter of finding the life insurance company that will offer you the best deal. The good news is that at InsuranceBrokersUSA, we offer dozens of different life insurance companies to choose from, so you don’t have to rely on just one or two options.
Don’t wait any longer! Give us a call today and let us help you find the best life insurance policy for your needs.