I regularly speak to people who assume that they can’t get life insurance coverage because of some pre-existing health condition. Recently I was approached by a gentleman who identified himself as being terminal, and on hospice care. Now that’s a case that even I can’t figure out how to get placed. But, short of terminal conditions, almost anybody can get life insurance. …
If you have a chronic condition like BiPolar disorder, but don’t have regular medical supervision and care, very few carriers will consider you for coverage. But if you have a long standing history with a well maintained, stable condition then it is generally possible to quote you on a life insurance policy with a top rated life insurance company.
If you have bipolar disorder, taking medication is often the key to reducing the severity and frequency of mood episodes, but it is not the only option for treatment. Medications are most effective when coordinated with therapy and a healthy lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle choices mix regular exercise with a healthy diet and a supportive, rich social support network. These factors can affect the amount of medication required and can manage or reduce symptoms of mania and depression without bringing about side effects.
Manic depressive illness, -commonly called Bipolar disorder – is generally treated with mood stabilizers. Sometimes, antipsychotics and antidepressants are prescribed as well. The life insurance underwriter reviewing your medical file will need to understand which medications you are using to manage your condition.
Lithium was the first mood stabilizer approved by the FDA for treatment of BiPolar disorder. Anticonvulsant medications are also used as mood stabilizers. Most commonly we see applications from patients using Depakote, carbamazepine (Tegretol), lamotrigine (Lamictal) or oxcarbazepine (Trileptal). Generally, if your Bipolar disorder is responsive to any of these mood stabilizers, it is reasonably simple to place a life insurance policy.
Other common treatments which we’ve seen on applications include:
Aripiprazole (Abilify), Risperidone (Risperdal), Ziprasidone (Geodon), Clozapine (Clorazil). Patients using Olanzapine (Zyprexa) for severe or psychotic depression accompanied by a break with reality, hallucinations, or delusions often find it harder to get coverage under standard health classes.
Underwriting Bipolar Disorder for a Life Insurance Quote
Here are some of the questions the insurance carrier is going to ask you to determine what health class is appropriate for you when you apply for a life insurance policy:
When were you first diagnosed with bi-polar disorder? An older diagnosis is much easier to insure, because there is more clarity on how the condition has affected you and how it is likely to affect you in the future.
Have you experienced any of the following symptoms?
- Inflated self-esteem
- Racing thoughts
- Not needing as much sleep as usual
- Talking more than usual
- Being more active than usual
- Easily distracted
- Impulsive behavior
Have you ever been hospitalized as a result of your Bi-Polar disorder? If you have, the carrier will need details. When were you hospitalized, for how long, how many times? What treatments did you receive while hospitalized?
Have you ever been disabled as a result of this condition? Are you still disabled? Have you received disability benefits for the condition? How much disability income do you currently receive?
How are you currently being treated for this condition? Are you under a doctor’s regular care? Are you on medication? If you are on medication for your Bi-Polar disorder, the life insurance company will want to know the name, dosage and frequency of every medication you take.
Have you ever had therapy as part of your treatment for Bi Polar disorder? Are you still seeing a mental health professional? The carrier will want to know how often you see your therapist.
Have you had any other treatments or seen other professionals for this or other complicating conditions? Has it had any significant effect on your long term ability to live a basically normal life? Do you have an active social life with a family, a job, or participation in community activities? Have you ever attempted suicide?
All in all, a life insurance underwriter needs to get a reasonably complete picture on how your Bi-Polar disorder has affected your overall health and life. Over the years we have worked with a number of our clients to place them in great affordable policies from world class, A and A+ rated life insurance companies in spite of their BiPolar mental health histories. An applicant with a solid, long term, stable condition can often be insured at a Standard or even preferred health class. While some carriers take a very restrictive attitude towards mental health issues, and many agents find themselves unable to place bipolar life insurance cases, an agent with expertise in impaired risk underwriting can generally get the cases placed. You can get a life insurance quote for Bipolar Disorder here.