Life Insurance For Bipolar Disorder Patients
Bipolar disorder, which is also called manic depressive illness, can be a devastating medical condition for the person diagnosed and their family. If you are a bipolar disorder patient, you may believe that you cannot qualify for life insurance because of your pre-existing condition. While this was the case several years ago, when the disorder was misunderstood and difficult to treat, advancements in treatment options now make it possible for a person with the disorder to qualify for coverage in most cases.
As you may know, life insurance companies consider a number of different factors when calculating the rates you will pay. If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the underwriter will delve deeper into your medical history to determine whether or not you are taking the right steps to keep the disorder under control. Knowing what life insurance companies consider, how your application will be reviewed, and how your rates will be affected is important before you start the application process. Read on and learn what you need to know before submitting your application for coverage when you have bipolar disorder.
Why Bipolar Disorder Patients Are a Higher Risk
All types of insurance are risk based products, especially life insurance. Any insurance company in the industry that wants to stay in business must use statistics to determine the likelihood of an applicant filing a claim. In the life insurance sector, insurance underwriters rely on mortality rates to determine which applicants are a risk worth taking on, and which are not. Individuals in groups with higher mortality rates will pay higher premiums than those with low mortality rates. If you cannot grasp this idea, it is similar to the rating process in the auto insurance sector where individuals with moving violations pay more than individuals without moving violations.
If you have been diagnosed with a manic depressive illness, your mortality rates are higher than the average individual without the condition. Higher mortality rates translate into more risk, and more risk means that the insurance company must decide whether or not to extend coverage and how much added premium to charge if they do. While several life insurance companies will extend an offer to bipolar disorder patients, the premiums will typically be higher for applicants with this pre-existing condition, even when the disorder is kept under control.
What Underwriters Look For in These Applications
When you are applying for insurance, you may be asked a number of questions about your disorder. You must be honest and accurate with your answers to ensure that the company has everything it needs to extend an offer to you. After reviewing the answers on your application, the underwriter may request that you complete a physical exam and you will be required to sign a release for your medical records. When reviewing all of the information as a whole, the underwriter will consider the following:
- How long ago you were diagnosed with the disorder
- How severe the disorder is and whether or not it is kept under control
- Whether or not the patient is being treated and taking medication
- How long the patient has been taking the medication and whether or not it is effective
- Whether or not the patient regularly follows up with treating physician
- How long the illness has been under control
- History of hospitalization
- Whether or not the patient can work
- Other disorders that may accompany bipolar disorder
When You Might Not Be Able to Qualify for Insurance
Not everyone with bipolar disorder will qualify for insurance. If you have recently diagnosed and there has not been any time for you to show that you have the disorder under control, the company may postpone your application until you can show control and compliance. If you are regularly switching medications, it may also be a sign that the disorder is not under control, and the underwriter may deny your application at the current time until the correct combination of medications is prescribed.
Your lifestyle can also play a role into whether or not you will be approved. If you abuse alcohol or drugs, which can be common with this mental disorder, you may be denied. If you have difficulty keeping a job because of your illness, this will show that the history of the illness is affecting the patient’s life.
With all of the treatment options available, bipolar disorder is not as much of a risk as it once was in the life insurance industry. As long as you take time to review all of your options and you provide all of the information the underwriter is requesting, you will be able to find an affordable policy through a brokerage partnering with all of the leading insurers. Keep the disorder under control, take your medications, and always follow up with your doctor to show that you are not a risk.