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Qualifying for Life Insurance with Down’s Syndrome or an Intellectual Disability.


Life Insurance with Down’s Syndrome.

In this article, we wanted to take a moment to answer some of the most common questions we get from folks applying for life insurance after being diagnosed with an intellectual disability.

Questions that will be addressed will include:

  • Can I qualify for life insurance if I have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability?
  • Why do life insurance companies care if I have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability?
  • What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me 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?

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Can I qualify for life insurance if I have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability?

Yes, individuals who have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability can and often will be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy. The problem is that most individuals who have been diagnosed as “intellectually challenged” won’t be able to qualify for a Standard or better rate.

 And depending…

On their ability to earn a living, many may also find it difficult to be able to “financially” qualify for anything other than a small “burial” life insurance policy.

Additionally…

Individuals who have been given a more “specific” diagnosis such as Down’s Syndrome or Autism, may also find it impossible to qualify for anything other than a guaranteed issue life insurance policy assuming that they are over the age of 40.

For this reason…

While it is technically true that there are a few life insurance companies out there that will be willing to insure someone that has been diagnosed with an “intellectual disability” chances are that most individuals who meet this “definition” won’t be able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy.

As a result…

These individuals will likely have to settle for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy or an accidental death policy if they can meet the minimum age requirements.

Why do life insurance companies care if I have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability?

There are several reasons why a life insurance company is going to “care” if an individual has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability. The first reason is that there seems to be a correlation between a shorter lifespan and the degree of disability one has, which is definitely going to make a life insurance company nervous.

The second reason…

Why a life insurance company is going to “care” if an individual has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability is because purchasing a life insurance policy involves someone to enter into a legal contract in which an insured agrees to pay a “premium” or “price” for insurance. 

And like all legal contracts…

Both sides need to be of sound mind and body to make this contract valid, so most (if not all) life insurance companies are going to want to be especially careful about entering into a legal contract with someone who may not fully understand what they are purchasing.

For this reason…

We wanted to take a moment and briefly define what an Intellectual Disability (ID) is and highlight some of the most common symptoms so that we can gain a better understanding of exactly what a life insurance underwriter will be looking for when making his or her decision about your life insurance application.

Intellectual Disabled (ID) Defined:

Intellectual Disabled, once called mental retardation, is characterized by a below-average intelligence combined with a lack of skills necessary for day-to-day living. Individuals diagnosed with an intellectual disability will generally be able to learn and perform new skills however, their ability to do so will generally be much slower than an average person.

Common symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty remember things,
  • Inability to link “cause and effect” to actions,
  • Poor problem-solving skills,
  • Difficulty in school often performing several grade levels lower than their peers,
  • Difficulty performing routine daily activities.

Individuals suffering from…

An intellectual disability will generally be classified into one of three categories labeled: Mild, Moderate, Severe, and Profound. The following characteristics will usually define each category:

Mild:

  • Mild intellectual disability, also known as mild mental retardation, is a term used to describe a person who has intellectual functioning that is below average, but not severe. People with mild intellectual disability typically have an IQ score of 50-70 and may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, problem-solving, or higher-level learning. They may also have difficulty with social skills and may need extra support in school and other settings.
  • Individuals with mild intellectual disability are capable of learning and can make progress with the right support and accommodations.

Moderate:

  • Moderate intellectual disability is a term used to describe a person who has intellectual functioning that is below average and is more severe than mild intellectual disability. People with moderate intellectual disability typically have an IQ score of 35-49 and may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, problem-solving, or higher-level learning. They may also have difficulty with social skills and may need extra support in school and other settings. I
  • Individuals with moderate intellectual disability are also capable of learning and can make progress with the right support and accommodations.

Severe:

  • Severe intellectual disability is a term used to describe a person who has intellectual functioning that is significantly below average and is more severe than mild or moderate intellectual disability. People with severe intellectual disability typically have an IQ score of 20-34 and may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, problem-solving, or higher-level learning.
  • They may also have difficulty with social skills and may need extra support in school and other settings.
  • Individuals withwith severe intellectual disability are also capable of learning and can make progress with the right support and accommodations however, individuals with severe disabilities will likely be incapable to fully caring for themselves.

Profound

  • Profound intellectual disability is a term used to describe a person who has severe intellectual functioning that is significantly below average and is more severe than mild, moderate, or severe intellectual disability. People with profound intellectual disability typically have an IQ score below 20 and may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, problem-solving, or higher-level learning.
  • Individuals suffering from profound intellectual disabilities, may be able to learn and make progress with certain tasks, but in general they will not be able to care for themselves and will typically require full time care.

Now at this point…

We usually like to take a moment and remind folks that nobody here at IBUSA has any “official” medical training, and we’re certainly not doctors. All we are is a bunch of life insurance agents who just happen to be really good at helping folks with pre-existing medical conditions like this one, find and qualify for the life insurance coverage that they are looking for.

But…

Not so great if you’re looking for answers to any specific medical questions. In cases like these, we would recommend that you contact a true medical professional who has the training to help. For everyone else, you’re in luck because now we’re going to get into some of the “nitty-gritty” about what you may or may not be able to qualify for.

What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?

Life insurance companies may ask about your intellectual disability as part of the application process to help determine your risk level and the premium you will be charged.

Insurance companies may ask about the type and severity of your disability, as well as any treatment or support you receive. They may also ask about your functional abilities, such as your ability to communicate, take care of yourself, and participate in activities of daily living.

Examples of some questions you may be asked may include:

  • How severe has your Intellectual Disability been defined as?
    • Mild?
    • Moderate?
    • Severe?
    • Profound?
  • Do you live on your own?
  • Do you have a job?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any other pre-existing medical conditions?
  • Do you have a legal guardian?
  • In the past two years, have you been admitted into a hospital for any reason?
  • In the past 12 months, have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?

What rate (or price) can I qualify for?

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that can come into play when trying to determine what kind of “rate” that an individual who has been diagnosed as Intellectually Challenged. For this reason, it’s pretty much impossible for us to know for sure what kind of “rate” someone might be able to qualify for without first speaking with them directly.

That said however…

What we can say for sure is that most individuals who have been diagnosed as mildly or moderately intellectually challenged will usually only be able to qualify for a “high-risk” or “Sub-standard” rate. While those who have been diagnosed as severely or profoundly challenged will most likely not be able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy at all.

In cases like these, we would recommend that folks take a look at either a Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Policy or an Accidental Death Policy, which wouldn’t require one to have to meet certain “medical” requirements in order to qualify.

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?

In our experience here at IBUSA, what we have found that usually, the folks who seem to find the “best” life insurance policy for them are those that:

  • Take their time reviewing their options.
  • Ask a lot of questions.

And 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!

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