Life insurance coverage is still possible if you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Because carriers are in the business of assessing risk, you will need to communicate important details about your MS during the application process, including:
- Overall health
We will cover everything you need to know about life insurance for MS patients, including the questions you will be asked, steps to buy, and the best companies to apply with.
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Nearly 1 million Americans are living with multiple sclerosis, a debilitating and unpredictable autoimmune condition with no known cure.
Life insurance companies rely on important information and statistics about MS from the medical community to determine how much risk the disease poses.
As your immune system mistakenly attacks your central nervous system, painful and frustrating symptoms appear:
- Vision loss
- Impaired coordination
While anyone can be diagnosed with MS, there are some prevalent characteristics of those who develop the condition:
- Age 20 – 50
- Family history of autoimmune conditions
You will be able to purchase life insurance coverage, despite MS. However, the type of policy you qualify for, and just how much it will cost you, is dependent on your unique medical experience.
Life Insurance Underwriting For MS
Plan to be asked specific questions about your multiple sclerosis during the application process.
For traditional life insurance, like a 20-year term policy, jot down answers to the following important underwriting questions about your MS.
1. How long have you had MS?
How old were you at diagnosis and how old are you now?
Life insurance companies tend to underwrite applicants who are age 45 and older more favorably.
Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although MS can occur in young children and older adults.– National MS Society
Further, because carriers analyze risk, in general, they will want to see how well you respond to treatment for at least one year after diagnosis.
2. What type of multiple sclerosis do you have?
The subtype of MS you have is an important underwriting factor.
Most people with MS have a relapsing-remitting disease course.– Mayo Clinic
Why? Different forms of MS are associated with varying levels of health complications.
- Relapsing-remitting – temporary flare-ups lasting days to weeks, with remission in between (most common).
- Secondary-progressive – disease advances and symptoms increase, with or without flare-ups and/or remissions.
- Primary-progressive – symptoms slowly increase over time, with no periods of remission (uncommon).
- Progressive-relapsing – symptoms steadily increase from diagnosis, with no remission, and periods of acute relapses (rare).
Typically, carriers prefer to see relapsing-remitting because it is correlated with better health outcomes. Each applicant varies, however.
3. Describe your treatment plan.
Generally-speaking, the less invasive your medical treatment, the better.
Why? While management of your MS is, of course, necessary, there are side-effects associated with some types of therapy.
Be ready to communicate your forms of treatment:
- Physical exercise
- Support group
- Physical therapy
- Mild steroid during a flare-up
- Prescription medications
4. Are you taking medications?
Prescription medications used for MS range from mild to serious.
Plan to share:
- Specific medication
- How often used (e.g. flare-ups only)
- Quantity prescribed
- Frequency (e.g. daily, weekly)
Common medications include:
- Other steroid
5. What are your symptoms?
Describe your physical and emotional symptoms.
Specifically, be ready to communicate:
- When symptoms occur (e.g. flare-ups only)
- How often you experience flare-ups
- Vision impairment
- Muscular issues
- Coordination difficulty
- Fatigue symptoms
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Mobility problems
6. Describe your lifestyle.
Aside from your MS, life insurance companies want to know about other aspects of your life.
For example, they will ask you (and check electronic databases) about:
7. Do you have additional health concerns?
Life insurance underwriters want to gain an overall understanding of your health, not just your MS.
So, they will need to know if you are experiencing other medical conditions.
For example, common health concerns include:
Based on your application answers, there are a few potential scenarios.
While somewhat rare, it is possible to be approved at standard (“regular”) rates with multiple sclerosis.
Your condition will need to be mild and easily managed.
A table rating simply means you are approved for coverage, however, a “surcharge” is placed on your premiums.
Table ratings typically range from 1 – 8, with a charge between 10 – 200% placed on your premiums.
Your specific table rating depends on the severity of your health condition.
You are not approved for traditional life insurance. This happens for MS patients from time to time.
Do not fret. You can still purchase guaranteed issue coverage, which you are always approved for.
While premiums are expensive compared to the modest face amounts, some coverage is better than no coverage.
Note – if you are younger than age 40, and cannot qualify for traditional coverage, evaluate an accidental death and dismemberment policy.
How To Buy Life Insurance With Multiple Sclerosis
There are three important steps to take in order to secure a life insurance policy with multiple sclerosis.
1. Prepare for the application
First, conduct a needs analysis to determine the financial needs of those who depend on you.
- Your annual income
- Monetary requirements of dependents
- Any debts (mortgage, student loans, credit card)
- Years until retirement
Next, write down your medical history pertaining to your MS (and your health in general). Include physician information, dates of flare-ups and medications.
2. Work with an independent agent
A serious health condition makes it all the more important to have access to multiple quotes from top-rated carriers.
An independent agent is sitting on the same side of the table as you, so-to-speak. They are not held captive to a particular company, and have your best interest at heart.
3. Secure coverage
Finally, with the help of your agent, you will submit your application to secure coverage.
The underwriting process varies depending on the type of policy and carrier. However, in most cases the entire process can be completed from the comfort of your home.
On the other hand, traditional life insurance companies will require a paramedical exam as part of the underwriting process.
Regardless, plan to answer the important questions about your MS.
Best Life Insurance Companies For MS
While your unique needs determine the best life insurance company to apply with, some carriers tend to underwrite multiple sclerosis more favorably.
Highly-rated, Prudential Life Insurance Company accepts multiple sclerosis patients.
Financial strength rating: A+ (A.M. Best)
Prudential offers term and permanent life insurance products and specializes in offering coverage to applicants with a history of health conditions.
Banner Life also accepts MS applicants.
Financial strength rating: A+ (A.M. Best)
Part of the Legal and General America, Banner is known for underwriting high-risk applicants favorably.
Nassau Re also offers life insurance to those with MS.
Financial Strength Rating: B+ (A.M. Best)
Formerly called Phoenix, Nassau specializes in providing term no physical life insurance.
At the end of the day, your unique medical condition will determine the best carrier to apply with.
To begin the process of finding the best carrier for someone with a history of multiple sclerosis, you can begin with a free quote.
An independent agent will be sure to analyze how life insurance needs (policy amount and type based on your health and monetary requirements).