How do life insurance companies look at multiple sclerosis?
When asking the question, will I be declined life insurance due to multiple sclerosis? The answer is it depends.
All life insurance carriers look at your health and lifestyle differently. It is important to note though, that this area of life insurance underwriting is a very specialized niche. There are a certain few life insurance carriers that typically offer you a better chance of getting approved for coverage or that will offer you lower rates than others.
The reason for this is simple, some carriers simply underwrite more aggressively than others for those with pre-exisitng medical conditions. These companies have an expertise in evaluating those with pre-existing medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
Other carriers may not have the background in this area of underwriting, or they simply have made a business decision not to pursue this type of risk.
Remember, the secret to finding affordable life insurance for multiple sclerosis is to work with an agent or agency who specializes in this area. An expert agent will save you time and money when it comes to finding out if you have a good chance of securing the coverage you need.
What factors determine if a company will accept you?
Multiple sclerosis is a demyelinating disease of the white matter of the nervous system. The myelin sheath surrounding the nerves breaks down characteristic plaques in the brain and nervous system. The definite diagnosis of MS requires documentation of lesions that occur more than once and at more than one site.
Life insurance carriers will typically want to see a definite diagnosis from a CT scan or spinal fluid test. Along with medical records from your attending physician, the carrier will review to see the progression of your disease.
The course of the disease varies for different people.Some may recover after a few episodes, while others progress downhill. Some of the manifestations of the disease can be blindness, double vision, pain, numbness, muscle weakness and bowel and bladder control.
All of these factors will play a role in what your offer may be for life insurance protection.
When a life insurance company underwriter reviews your file, they typically are looking for the progression of the disease. Once this has been determined a prospective insured will typically be placed in one of three categories:
This can also be known as “benign MS” with few (usually 2-4) mild exacerbation’s with complete or near complete recovery in between. This category is usually rated from onset of the disease.
Moderate of Progressive MS is typically slowly progressive with infrequent episodes (up to 2 per year) and with some recovery in between. However there could be some moderately disabling residuals. In a few cases MS may stabilize after some years. In these cases there may even be some severe residual defects present (including some resulting in wheelchair confinement)
More severe episodes or frequent exacerbation’s (more than 2 per year) or what is commonly called rapidly progressive MS or acute MS
Once a life insurance underwriter has determined the classification of the MS diagnosis (mild, moderate or severe) they will then assign a more targeted rating on which they assign.
This rating class will then determine the actual cost for the coverage based on that particular companies premium schedule.
It’s important to note that again each underwriting carrier may look at a situation differently. Whereas one company may assign a mild risk class another may assign a moderate risk class. This is why it is so important to use an experienced life agent who knows how to negotiate with the different carriers for the best rate.
Life insurance carriers typically use terms like Preferred Best, Preferred, Standard Plus or Standard as a way to identify a risk class that an applicant may qualify for. This risk classes are pretty common among most insurance carriers. While preferred best is at the top of the risk class (and the least expensive), carriers also may assign a special table rating for those who do not qualify or one of the 4 mentioned classes above.
What is a table rated applicant?
WHAT IS A TABLE RATING? A table rating typically is offered on those risks that do not fall within the preferred best to standard risk classes. A table rating usually signifies approximately a 25% premium increase per table rating.
For instance, a person who qualifies with a TABLE A risk class would pay 25% more than someone who was assigned a published standard risk class for the same age. A TABLE B would pay 50% more than a standard risk class and 25% more than a TABLE A risk class.
Table ratings are typically assigned thru TABLE H before the insured is declined for coverage.
So let’s look at a couple of examples to get a better idea of how someone looking for coverage with MS might be evaluated.
Joanne is a 50 year old female who was diagnosed with MS at age 35 and has had 4 episodes since she was diagnosed. She has had near complete recovery in between each episode. She is a non-tobacco user and in good health otherwise. Joanne meets with her special risk life agent to discuss her situation. She needs $500,000 of mortgage protection term life coverage.
Joanne’s agent gathers the details of her medical history and goes to work. Having worked on many MS cases in the past and knowing which life insurance carries look most favorably at MS cases, Joanne’s agent quickly comes back with several offers:
Company A has reviewed her file and offered a TABLE B risk class.
Company B has reviewed her file and offered a TABLE C risk class.
Company C has reviewed her file and also offered a TABLE B risk class.
After receiving and reviewing the tentative quotes for coverage from each insurance company, Company C has the lowest rates by about $275 per year over Company A. Joanne is happy with the tentative offer and continues with a formal application to Company C to solidify the rates.
Dan is a 36 year old male diagnosed approximately 3 years ago with moderate progressive MS. He has approximately 2 episodes per year and some with some moderately disabling affects such as muscle weakness and double vision. Dan meets with his special risk agent who sends his medical history to the carriers he knows will compete for the best offers.
The offers come back for Dan are:
Company A Table C risk class
Company B Table D risk class
Company C Table E risk class
Once the final tentative quotes are received and reviewed it is quite apparent that Company A is offering the lowest rates. Company A has come back about $500 per year less than the next competing company.
The correct way to submit an offer for coverage
I think its important to say that in the world of special risk life insurance, you must be sure to use an expert agent for one main reason.
Life insurance companies in the special risk arena prefer to not see that you have formally applied to multiple companies.
If you just indiscriminately apply to several carriers (this is what a lot of agents advise) and get declined for coverage, this can actually hurt your chances of a viable offer thru a company that may actually offer you coverage.
Underwriting companies do not want to spend time and money underwriting an application if you are just shopping companies thru multiple sources. Life insurance companies will run a MIB (medical information bureau report) when you apply. This report shows the carrier if you have applied thru other carriers and if you have previously been declined.
Just to reiterate… use an agent who specializes in representing carriers that underwrite those with multiple sclerosis.
The best way to submit an application when dealing with a pre-existing medical condition is to let your special risk agent do all the painstaking detail work.
They will gather all your medical information, ask you the right questions and then speak individually with each underwriting insurance carrier. Your agent will then negotiate with the carriers to bring you the most qualified offer.
Once you have a tentative offer for coverage, then and only then should you formally apply for coverage. A formal application and complete medical underwriting will then continue to complete the offer for coverage.
This is the proven way to get the best offer when dealing with a multiple sclerosis case. Do not let a new agent or agent that is inexperienced handle your situation. When looking for the best offer on life insurance with a pre-exisitng medical condition, it is unwise to use anyone other than an expert.
It is possible to get quality affordable life insurance if you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. You must use an expert agent who represents multiple companies that specialize in underwriting multiple sclerosis. Thankfully, you landed on this page. We are experts in this area.
If we can help you jumpstart your search for affordable life insurance please contact us at 1-888-393-9003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org