Life insurance for multiple sclerosis patients can be challenging. MS is an unpredictable autoimmune disease that makes it difficult to get insured. But, just because you have multiple sclerosis doesn’t mean you can’t buy life insurance.
Life insurance for multiple sclerosis patients is possible. We have helped many people with MS purchase life insurance.
Life insurance eligibility for MS is based on severity, how long you’ve been diagnosed, and your overall health. If you are not eligible for traditional life insurance, there are other options such as graded benefit and guaranteed issue life insurance that you can be approved even if you have MS.
In this article we will explain the underwriting standards for MS. With this knowledge, you will know what to expect when you apply for life insurance with multiple sclerosis as well as how to increase your chances of getting a fair rating.
WHAT IS MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system. It affects the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. It can cause problems with balance, muscle control, vision and other body function.
The exact cause of MS is unknown, but it may result from a combination of genetic, immunologic and environmental factors.
- Blurred or double vision
- Feeling tired
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Numbness and tingling
- Poor bladder or bowel control
- Sexual problems
- Trouble walking
It is estimated that 400,000 people in the United States have MS, and around 10,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
MS is often found 2 to 3 times more prevalent in women than in men. It is often diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50 years.
Most people with MS have attacks, also called relapses when their condition gets worse. It is usually followed by times of recovery when the symptoms improve.
The medications that may slow the progression of multiple sclerosis and reduce relapses include:
Standard prescriptions for multiple sclerosis include:
- Beta interferons
- Muscle relaxants
Some of these prescriptions are tablets to be taken daily, and some are infusions or injections.
These prescriptions won’t automatically get your applications declined depending on the type of your MS. It is important to follow your doctors ‘advice and try to keep your MS under control and in a state of remission.
TYPES OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Relapsing-Remitting – This is the mildest of all the types of MS. About 85% of MS sufferers fall under this type. RRMS may have attacks or relapses when the symptoms flare up. The relapse will be followed by the time of recovery or remission when there are no symptoms. It can last weeks, months or longer.
After 10 to 20 years, RRMS usually progresses to a different type of MS called secondary progressive MS. Relapses seldom happens, but the disease gets gradually worse.
Primary-Progressive – the most common symptom of PPMS is difficulty walking or leg weakness. Once it starts, it gets worse over time with no relapses or remission. This type of MS occurs in 10% to 15% of patients. It is usually diagnosed later in life than patients with other types.
Secondary-Progressive – SPMS start out as Relapsing-remitting MS. Patients with RRMS eventually get SPMS after 10 to 20 years. The relapses and remission that come and go change into symptoms that steadily get worse. The flare-ups last longer each time and never entirely seem to disappear.
Progressive-Relapsing – this is the least common type of MS, seen in approximately 5% of MS patients. PRMS patients have distinct relapses. They may not fully recover after these flares. The disease continues to get worse slowly between attacks. This disease is not reversible, but some treatments can ease the symptoms.
MS tends to impact life insurance rates because of the possibility of a shortened lifespan.
But, treatments and medications today help MS patients to live longer, more stable lives than ever before. Because of this, life insurance for multiple sclerosis patients is becoming slightly easier.
WHAT WILL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY ASKS ME ABOUT MY MS?
The life insurance company will ask you a specific set of questions to find out more about your health.
Some of the most common questions that you will likely be asked regarding your MS can include the following:
- When were you initially diagnosed with your condition?
- What type of MS do you have?
- When were your last flare-ups and remissions?
- How many attacks have you had in total?
- What are your current symptoms?
- Do you have residual neurological impairments or restrictions?
- List your treatments and medications, including prescription and dose.
- Have you experienced kidney or bladder failure?
- Do you use any kinds of braces, walker, or wheelchair for mobility?
- Do you currently smoke cigarettes? How many packs of cigarettes do you smoke per day?
Aside from asking you these fundamental questions, a life insurance company may ask for more information from your medical provider. It helps the underwriter to get a better idea of your current health and your future prognosis.
After this, you will be expected to undergo a medical exam, your prescription report will be assessed, and your MIB report and driver’s record will be checked. Sometimes your doctor’s records will also be ordered.
Most people with MS will need to apply for a fully underwritten policy in order to get the best-priced life insurance coverage with MS.
If you get declined for this kind of policy, graded benefit and guaranteed issue will be your other option.
WHAT OTHER FACTORS THE INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE LOOKING FOR?
In addition to the MS condition-specific information, the underwriters will also review the basic information that you are asked on the life insurance application form.
These details will include data regarding your:
- Height and weight
- Smoking status
- Alcohol or drug usage
- Occupation and income
- Foreign travel
- Overall health history
- Family health history
Once the underwriters received all of your information, they will be able to make an informed decision regarding your policy acceptance.
LIFE INSURANCE FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS PATIENTS
After you’ve answered the multiple sclerosis questionnaire, we would need to know whether you would like to obtain term life insurance or whole life multiple sclerosis life insurance.
Term life insurance is set for a specific amount of time like 10, 20 or 30 years. A term life insurance policy is less expensive than whole life policies. However, if you want your policy to last your lifetime and never expire, a whole life policy is best for you.
If you have Relapsing Remitting MS, you will more than likely qualify for traditional life insurance with better rates than someone whose MS has progressed.
If your MS is a progressive type, your best options for life insurance with MS may be a graded death benefit and guaranteed issue policies.
Guaranteed issue life insurance policies are best suited for patients who have a progressive type of multiple sclerosis because the policy can be purchased regardless of health condition. This policy is a non-medical exam and no questions asked to qualify. You only have to be a U.S. citizen and passed the age requirement. The only drawback to this policy is the price.
Also, there’s a two-year waiting period, which means your beneficiary will not receive the full death benefit if you pass during the waiting period. They will only collect the premiums paid on the policy plus 10% interest.
The other type of life insurance available for progressive MS patients is graded death benefit life insurance policies. These policies are a simplified issue, meaning it does not require a medical exam, but you need to answer health questions.
These policies are less expensive than guaranteed issue policies, but they are harder to qualify for. These policies may also have a two to three year waiting period before the policy is in force.
UNDERWRITING LIFE INSURANCE FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Underwriters decide how much coverage and the cost of the premium for MS applicants after receiving all pertinent information.
Offerings range from the best rate of Preferred Plus down to Substandard. Each person will have a different situation, health profile, treatment and medication regimen, and a different set of medical records. This means that every applicant will likely have a different rating.
The underwriter will consider many factors when evaluating applicants with multiple sclerosis. It includes the subtype, number of relapses per year, symptoms, complications, the stability of neurologic function, treatments prescribed, and evidence of disability. Providing complete neurology records is essential to qualify for the best rates.
Underwriters must have all your medical details to help them give you an accurate life insurance quote.
The exact rating will depend upon the severity of a condition. If the recent information indicates no functional impairment and stable MRI findings, you can expect to have better ratings.
Preferred Plus: Impossible for Multiple Sclerosis patients. Preferred plus are offered to people in excellent health. There are no insurance companies that will provide this rate to people with MS.
Preferred: Nearly impossible for MS patients. It only happens in sporadic cases. Preferred rates are offered to people in good health. You must be diagnosed with MS when you were younger than 35, and your MS must be mild. Your last attack must happen more than five years ago, and you must be in perfect health to qualify. Even in this ideal scenario, the chance of getting a preferred rating is meager.
Standard: This is probably your best possible rating. To qualify for the standard rate, your MS must be mild. Your last attack must happen a few years ago, and you are in good health without any medical condition aside from your MS.
Substandard (Table Rating): this is the common rating for MS patients. This rating depends on the severity of your condition, your age when you were diagnosed, the length of time since your initial diagnosis, the period since your last attack, whether you are showing any improvement from treatments, and your overall health. Smoking and other severe medical conditions like diabetes or heart failure will put you in a lower rating class.
Declines: You will be declined if you apply within a year of your MS diagnosis. Insurance carriers will need more medical history to make a decision. Applicants with severe MS condition have a higher chance of being declined. If you are not treating your disease and not seeing your doctor regularly, your application will also be declined.
If your MS has progressed to the most severe stage, and traditional life insurance declines you, you still have an option. You can consider getting a Guaranteed Issue life insurance. The premium will be a little bit higher, and the death benefit may be low, but it is an option if you are looking to pay for your funeral cost and other final expenses.
WHAT RATING TO EXPECT FOR EACH TYPE OF MS
The rate you will approve is heavily dependent on your overall health, not just your MS. Other health concern like diabetes or kidney disease will negatively impact your ratings.
Relapsing-Remitting – patients with this type of MS will be eligible for a traditional policy. The vast majority of RRMS patients will qualify for standard rate provided they have few flare-ups, stable use of medication or treatment, and they have excellent follow-up records with a primary care physician.
Primary-Progressive – PPMS patients might be able to obtain a graded death benefit policy if applied early on the disease. Most PPMS applicants may need to resort to guaranteed issue plans because of mobility and disability issue. Progressive condition and persistent symptoms make carriers limit the coverage amount.
Secondary-Progressive – traditional life insurance is highly unlikely with any progressive type of MS. Your other option is to get a graded policy. Underwriting for a graded policy is simplified. There is no medical exam, and you will only have to answer a few health questions. Approval can be quite fast because there is no medical exam. The only drawback to this policy is a higher premium and a 2-3 year waiting period.
Progressive-Relapsing – due to the fast progression of this type of MS, your only life insurance option is guaranteed issue or burial insurance. You will have difficulty finding coverage if you are under the age of 40 because the guaranteed issue is available to 40 to 85 years old.
Life insurance for MS sufferers can be daunting so it is best to get it while you can. Life insurance becomes more expensive as you get older, so it is best to apply while you are young and in better health.
WHAT IF I HAVE BEEN DECLINED FOR LIFE INSURANCE?
Call us at (888) 435-4342 if you have been declined in the past, we can help you. The truth is you need an independent life insurance agency to shop for the right companies, or you will be declined. Working with an agent who specializes in high-risk life insurance policies and knows the life insurance for multiple sclerosis will get you approved with better rates.
If your MS is the progressive type, we can help you to look for no medical life insurance. These policies will only require you to answer a short medical questionnaire to qualify. You can also opt for guaranteed issue policies that have no health questions at all. You need not go through the medical examination process and will get approval fast.
If you’ve been declined for life insurance in the past, don’t think that you can’t get affordable life insurance through a different company. We can help you find the life insurance coverage you need.
If you have multiple sclerosis and looking for life insurance coverage, we can help. We specialize in helping people with a pre-existing condition. We know what companies are MS friendly and will offer the best rates.
Life Wealth Win works with the top A-rated insurance carriers.
Fill in the instant quote form on this page to compare life insurance benefits from different providers. We can help you find the coverage that is right for your needs and budget.
Call us at (888) 435-4342 if you have any questions about life insurance for Multiple Sclerosis patients. We will be happy to help.