In this article, we aim to answer some of the most common questions that arise when individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) apply for life insurance.
We will address the following questions:
- Can I qualify for life insurance if I have been diagnosed with MS?
- Why do insurance companies consider an MS diagnosis when issuing policies?
- What kind of information will insurance companies ask for, and what will they be interested in?
- What rate or price can I expect to qualify for?
- How can I ensure that I get the best life insurance policy for my needs?
Let’s dive right in without further delay!
Can I qualify for life insurance if I have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?
Individuals diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis can often qualify for traditional term or whole life insurance policies. However, simply knowing about an MS diagnosis is not sufficient for a life insurance underwriter to make a decision about the application.
This is because MS can affect different people in different ways. To obtain approval for a life insurance policy, applicants should be prepared to answer a series of questions about their MS and provide their medical records for review. This helps the underwriter gain a complete understanding of how the MS is progressing.
It’s worth noting that no medical exam term life insurance policies may be more difficult to qualify for after a pre-existing medical condition like MS has been diagnosed. Therefore, it may be wise to avoid these policies.
Why do life insurance companies care if I have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?
Life insurance companies generally consider a variety of factors when evaluating an applicant for coverage, including their overall health and medical history. Having a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) may be a factor that the insurance company takes into account because it is a chronic, progressive disease that affects the central nervous system and can cause a range of symptoms and complications.
The severity of MS can vary widely from one person to another, and the condition may be more or less stable over time. Therefore, an insurance company may ask about an applicant’s diagnosis of MS in order to better understand the potential risks and costs associated with insuring them.
This information can help the company determine the appropriate premium for the policy and ensure that it is able to meet its financial obligations if the policyholder were to pass away.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Defined:
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve fibers in the central nervous system.
This damage disrupts communication between the brain and the rest of the body, leading to a range of symptoms that can include muscle weakness, tremors, loss of coordination, trouble with balance and mobility, numbness and tingling, vision problems, fatigue, and cognitive changes.
MS is classified as a autoimmune disorder because it is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy cells in the body. The cause of MS is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune factors.
Early symptoms of MS may include:
- Tingling or numbness in one’s extremities,
- Muscle pains and/or spasm,
- Muscle weakness,
- Balance issues and/or dizziness,
- Bladder issues,
- Sexual dysfunction,
- Difficulty concentrating.
Serious complications of MS may include:
Types of mulitple sclerosis:
There are four main types of multiple sclerosis (MS), which are classified based on the pattern of symptoms and the course of the disease:
- Relapsing-remitting MS: This is the most common form of MS, accounting for about 85% of cases. It is characterized by flare-ups (also called relapses) of symptoms, followed by periods of partial or complete recovery (remissions). During a relapse, new symptoms may appear or old symptoms may worsen. Between relapses, there may be no symptoms or only minor ones.
- Secondary progressive MS: This type of MS begins as relapsing-remitting MS, but eventually progresses to a stage where symptoms continue to worsen over time, with or without relapses. This transition typically occurs about 10-20 years after the initial diagnosis.
- Primary progressive MS: This form of MS is characterized by a gradual worsening of symptoms from the outset, without any relapses or remissions. It accounts for about 10-15% of cases.
- Progressive relapsing MS: This is a rare form of MS that involves a progressive worsening of symptoms from the outset, along with occasional relapses and partial recoveries. It accounts for about 5% of cases.
The course of MS can vary widely from one person to another, and it is difficult to predict how the disease will progress in an individual case. Some people with MS may have only mild symptoms and a relatively normal life expectancy, while others may experience significant disability and complications.
There is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), but there are a number of treatments that can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. The specific treatment plan will depend on the individual patient’s needs and may include a combination of the following:
- Disease-modifying therapies: These medications are designed to alter the course of the disease and can help reduce the frequency and severity of MS flare-ups (also known as relapses). Examples of disease-modifying therapies include interferon beta, glatiramer acetate, and natalizumab.
- Symptom management medications: These medications can help manage specific symptoms of MS, such as spasticity (muscle stiffness), bladder and bowel problems, and fatigue. Examples of symptom management medications include baclofen, diazepam, and amantadine.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve mobility and function, as well as reduce fatigue. It may include exercises to improve strength, balance, and coordination, as well as assistive devices such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.
- Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can help individuals with MS learn new skills or adapt to changes in their abilities, in order to perform daily activities more easily. This may include adapting the home environment, learning new ways to do tasks, and using assistive devices.
- Supportive care: This may include counseling and support groups to help individuals with MS and their families manage the emotional and social impacts of the disease. It may also include rehabilitation services to help with any physical or cognitive changes caused by the disease.
What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
Life insurance companies typically request information about your medical history, including any chronic conditions like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), during the application process. They may ask for specific details about your MS diagnosis, such as the type of MS you have, when you were diagnosed, and the treatments you have received.
To evaluate your MS’s severity, the insurer may inquire about the symptoms you have experienced, how they impact your daily life, and your ability to work. They may also ask about any hospitalizations or surgeries related to your MS and any ongoing or anticipated medical treatment or rehabilitation.
Furthermore, the insurance company may ask about your lifestyle and overall health, including questions about your diet, exercise habits, and tobacco use.
All of this information helps the insurer assess the risk of insuring you and determine the premium for your policy. Providing accurate and detailed information about your MS and health status is essential in obtaining the best policy possible.
Specific questions my include:
- When were you first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?
- Who diagnosed your multiple Sclerosis? A general practitioner or a specialist?
- What symptoms led you to believe you may have Multiple Sclerosis?
- Have those symptoms worsened since first diagnosed, or have they remained stable?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other pre-existing medical conditions?
- Are you taking any prescription medications right now?
- In the past 12 months, have any of the medications that you’re taking to treat your MS changed in any way?
- In the past 12 months, have you suffered from any “episodes” or “attacks”? If so, how many?
- In the past two years, have you been hospitalized for any reason?
- Are you currently working now?
- In the past 12 months, have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?
What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
There are several factors to consider when determining the type of “rate” you might qualify for after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Due to the complexity of the condition, it’s difficult to estimate what kind of “rate” you might be eligible for without speaking with you directly.
However, there are some assumptions that we can make that generally hold true for individuals with MS applying for a traditional life insurance policy. For example, if you’ve had only one or two MS episodes, and your MS has stabilized since your last attack, you may qualify for a traditional life insurance policy, although you would still be considered a “high-risk” or “sub-standard” candidate.
For those with more advanced MS or serious complications, it may be challenging to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. The good news is that IBUSA has vast experience helping individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, including MS, to find the best life insurance policy possible.
We are committed to helping all of our clients find the best policy available, regardless of their medical history or current health status. So if you have been diagnosed with MS and are looking for life insurance coverage, IBUSA is here to help.
What can I do to help ensure that I get the “best life insurance” for me?
There are a few things that you can do to help ensure that you get the best life insurance policy possible after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis:
- Work with a knowledgeable and experienced insurance agent who has a deep understanding of the insurance underwriting process for individuals with MS. They can help guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
- Be honest and upfront about your MS diagnosis and medical history. This includes providing accurate and complete information about your diagnosis, symptoms, treatments, and any related hospitalizations or surgeries.
- Focus on improving your overall health and lifestyle. This may include making positive changes to your diet, exercise routine, and stress management techniques. Not only will these changes help improve your overall health, but they may also positively impact your ability to qualify for life insurance at a more favorable rate.
- Consider purchasing a policy as soon as possible after your diagnosis. The earlier you apply for life insurance after being diagnosed with MS, the better your chances of qualifying for a policy at a lower premium.
- Compare rates and policies from multiple insurance companies to ensure that you are getting the best coverage at the most affordable price.
Remember, every situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to life insurance for individuals with MS. Working with an experienced insurance agent and being proactive about managing your health and lifestyle can help increase your chances of securing the best life insurance policy for your needs.
Now, will we be able to help out everyone who has been previously diagnosed with MS?
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 Final Expense 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!