Can I get life insurance if I have Multiple Sclerosis?
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UPDATED: Feb 8, 2017
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- It is possible for people with Multiple Sclerosis to qualify for life insurance. However, the type of MS, and a variety of other factors like the length of time since diagnosis, will affect the determination
- Insurance companies will be looking to determine how well you manage your disease, as this has a correlation to how long you will live
- Every insurance company has its own criteria for issuing individual life insurance.
- The four types of Multiple Sclerosis are Relapsing-Remitting MS, Primary-Progressive MS, Secondary-Progressive MS and Progressive-Relapsing MS
- Life-saving drugs have made Multiple Sclerosis a very manageable disease in many cases
How Multiple Sclerosis May Impact Your Insurability
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society advises people who have been diagnosed with MS to pursue life insurance as soon as possible.
A person’s age is one of the prime determinants of how much they will pay for life insurance. The longer you wait, the more you will pay. Period. Add a chronic illness like Multiple Sclerosis to the mix and that factor is even more pressing.
One of the biggest challenges with Multiple Sclerosis and life insurance is that the disease is often first diagnosed in people in their early adulthood before most of them have yet considered buying life insurance.
Limited understanding of the many uses of life insurance leads most people to postpone buying it until they have the responsibility of a family. In the case of MS, this is often too late.
That said, the ability to qualify for life insurance, and the amount you will pay if you do qualify, will be partly dependent on several factors, including the type of Multiple Sclerosis you have, the severity and frequency of symptom flares, and how long since the disease was first diagnosed.
The type of MS presented by most people is slow and progressive and has periods during which it is in remission. The insurance company will be looking at factors, for example:
- the speed of the disease’s progress
- how closely it is managed by a doctor
- how well the proposed insured follows doctors orders
- how long the period(s) of remission
The longer since the symptoms last presented, the more likely the applicant is to be approved. Also, the company will look at the applicant’s lifestyle:
- Do they hold down a full-time job?
- Do they in most respects live a normal life, with normal adult responsibilities?
- Do they have physical restrictions? Do they qualify for a handicapped parking sticker?
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Will you pay more for life insurance with MS?
If a person with MS qualifies for life insurance, they should not be surprised if they must pay more.
This is called being “rated.” A rating correlates to the risk class that the insurance company puts you in.
This will determine your premium.
The best case scenario will have a person with an MS diagnosis rated “Standard.” There are many ratings above Standard, but this is the lowest rating within the “normal” range.
All ratings below that one are considered sub-standard in insurance company parlance, that means “a sub-standard risk,” or a higher risk.
Anyone the insurance company considers a higher risk i.e. more likely to die within the term of the insurance contract will pay more.
Find here a pretty good explanation of how risk classes are determined, and how your risk class affects how much and what kind of insurance you can qualify for.
Why A Life Insurance Agent Can Save You Time and Money
Anyone with a chronic condition will be well served by working with an experienced, licensed life insurance agent.
An agent or broker who has access to a range of different insurance companies, as opposed to an agent who represents only one company, will be able to conduct the detailed research across many companies to get you better rates than you could find on your own.
They have direct access to insurance company underwriters and can ask questions about details of the company’s approval and rating policies and receive information and guidance from the underwriter that could help you get approved.
They can even negotiate among companies on your behalf.
The insurance agent can also save you time by working with the insurance companies to “pre-qualify” you that is to assess your case before you go to the time and trouble to fill out a long and detailed life insurance application.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society website has a world of resources for MS sufferers, including very good advice on ways to approach their financial planning.
To locate a reputable licensed life insurance agent in your area visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website.
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