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People often come to us and ask, can someone with multiple sclerosis get life insurance?
The answer is yes. And we’ll find you the best life insurance rates available.
At MultipleSclerosisLifeInsurance.com, our clients all have multiple sclerosis and we work with your risk every day. We know which life insurance companies are giving the best approvals and will use our experience and expertise to find the best rates for your unique multiple sclerosis risk.
We’re experts on the topic, and are here to help answer this question as well as any other questions you might have about obtaining life insurance with multiple sclerosis for yourself or life insurance for someone with multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is comprised mostly of the brain and spinal cord, and also includes the optic nerve and retina.
Healthy nerves in the CNS are protected by a fatty insulating layer called myelin. The demyelination process occurs in individuals with MS when the myelin sheath around the nerves is damaged. These damaged nerves build up plaque, or scar tissue, also known as sclerosis; which is how the disease earned its name.
The demyelination of the nerves impedes the process by which the brain sends and receives signals. It is the impediment of this process that causes the range and severity of multiple sclerosis symptoms.
The affects and severity of the disease vary from person to person, depending on the amount and severity of their demylenation. Early multiple sclerosis symptoms may include any of the following: hazy, blurred and double vision; eye pain; decreased coordination; and muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness.
As the disease progresses, symptoms may increase in severity and may include cognitive problems (particularly with memory, attention, and concentration), difficulty controlling urination, muscle stiffness (also referred to as spasticity), and paralysis.
Diagnosing multiple sclerosis early is important, however it is extremely difficult and there is presently no single test to diagnose MS. Since MS affects the central nervous system, a neurologist who specializes in MS is the best doctor to make the diagnosis.
In addition to evaluating an individual’s medical history, a neurologist may order a series of tests to make an accurate diagnosis. These tests may include an MRI, spinal tap or lumbar puncture, blood samples, and/or evoked potentials (electrical tests to assess any nerve damage).
The diagnosis may be based in part on the results of the above test(s), as well as past and present signs and symptoms; particularly if two or more episodes last at least 24 hours and occur at a minimum of one month apart.
According to Wikipedia.com, there is currently no known cause of multiple sclerosis, however researchers believe it might be due to a combination of genetics, an individual’s environment, or possibly a virus.
Researchers believe that there are several genes that can increase the likelihood of a person being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The current theory is that the genes a person is born with predisposes them to react adversely to an environmental agent, thereby causing an autoimmune response upon exposure.
Some researchers theorize that certain viruses or vaccines may be the cause of MS, including, but not limited to, the herpes virus, the measles virus, rubella, the hepatitis vaccine, and Epstein-Barr. To date, there is no concrete evidence linking any such viruses or vaccines to the cause of MS.
The disease itself is not infectious or contagious, and cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
An individual has a one in 750 chance of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in their lifetime. Those odds increase to one in 40 in individuals who have a close relative with MS. If a twin is diagnosed, the odds increase to one in four.
It is unusual to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis before adolescence, as the typical diagnosis usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 50. The risk of being diagnosed with MS generally declines after age 50. Women are at least two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with MS than their male counterparts. There is also a higher occurrence of MS in whites than in any other racial group in the United States.
Data also shows that multiple sclerosis is more common in certain parts of the world, including Scandinavia, Scotland, and Northern Europe in general. Interestingly enough, data has shown that distance from the equator also plays a role in MS – the farther away from the equator the higher the occurrence.
Multiple sclerosis can appear in a variety of ways, however there are generally four main types.
• Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) – Approximately 85% of patients are initially diagnosed with RRMS, and are typically diagnosed in their 20s or 30s. RRMS symptoms, often called flare ups or relapses, can last as short as 24 hours to as long as a few weeks.
• Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS) – The majority of people with SPMS were initially diagnosed with RRMS, and over time, approximately 10-15 years, their disease progresses into SPMS. Individuals begin to notice that flare ups last longer each time and never fully seem to disappear. These lingering symptoms may indicate a change in the disease, and therefore a progression to SPMS.
• Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) – This type of MS occurs in a small fraction of patients with MS, approximately 10% to 15%. The most telltale signs that an individual has PPMS is difficulty walking and/or leg weakness. From the onset of the disease, these symptoms will slowly and steadily worsen over time, with no remission or relapses.
• Progressive Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS) – This is the most rare form of MS, seen in approximately 5% of MS patients. Similarly to individuals with PPMS, symptoms worsen steadily from the beginning, however, unlike PPMS, people with this type of MS will experience distinct relapses.
While there is currently no known cure for multiple sclerosis, there are many medications that can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes. Some drugs may also slow the progression of some types of multiple sclerosis.
The treatment options available that may slow the progression of multiple sclerosis and reduce relapses, include the following:
• Avonex (an injection)
• Aubagio (once daily tablet)
• Gilenya (once daily tablet)
• Novantrone (chemotherapy drug given as an infusion)
• Rebif (an injection)
• Tecfidera (twice daily tablet)
• Tysabri (given every four weeks as an infusion)
The treatment options available that may reduce relapses (but do not slow the progression of multiple sclerosis), include the following:
• Betaseron (an injection)
• Copaxone (an injection)
• Extavia (an injection)
Now we that we’ve covered the basics of multiple sclerosis, let’s discuss getting life insurance with multiple sclerosis, and the difference between term life insurance multiple sclerosis and whole life insurance multiple sclerosis. We’ll also discuss the difference between guaranteed issue policies and graded death benefit policies for those with progressive MS.
Can you get life insurance with multiple sclerosis? The answer is yes! Life insurance for multiple sclerosis patients can be a daunting task especially if you’re searching the internet for “life insurance denied multiple sclerosis”. It’s important to work with an MS life insurance specialist who knows which life insurance companies will view MS more favorably.
Some of the insurance companies we work with who view MS most favorably include American General, Banner Life, MetLife, Mutual of Omaha, Transamerica, Protective, and Prudential. These are companies who will not only offer life insurance for MS patients, but will offer very competitive rates for life insurance for MS sufferers.
Each insurance company will ask their own set of questions regarding your symptoms to determine your rates. In order to the make the process easier, we have compiled a list of these MS Questionnaire in PDF and an MS Questionnaire. It’s important to be as accurate and honest in answering these questions as possible, as it will help your MS life insurance specialist guide you to the best insurance company for your needs.
After you’ve completed the MS questionnaire, your MS life insurance specialist will need to know whether you would like to obtain term life insurance multiple sclerosis or whole life insurance multiple sclerosis. Term life is a life insurance policy set for a specific amount of time. These policies are typically less expensive than whole life policies. If you would like more information regarding the difference between term life insurance ms and whole life insurance ms, please contact one of our MS life insurance specialists.
The questionnaire will also help us and the life insurance company determine how far along you are with your disease. If you have Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS), you will more than likely be offered better rates than someone whose MS has progressed. If you have a progressive type of MS, your two best options for life insurance with multiple sclerosis are guaranteed issue policies and graded death benefit policies.
Guaranteed issue life insurance policies are best suited for those who have progressive MS because the policy is guaranteed to be issued regardless of health status. This policy is no medical exam, no questions asked (including not pulling a medical report from the Medical Information Board). The only requirement is that the applicant is a US citizen. The downside to guaranteed issue life insurance is that these types of policies are more expensive.
In addition there’s a two- to three-year waiting period, which means benefits won’t be paid out until the waiting period has expired. The waiting period varies between each life insurance company, so if this is something that you feel is important, be sure to ask your MS life insurance specialist about specifics.
There’s also a limit to the amount of coverage an individual with MS can obtain. Most life insurance companies cap the coverage between $10,000 to $15,000. A way around this is to “stack policies” meaning to purchase a policy with several different life insurance companies. This isn’t typically done, as it can get very expensive, and therefore cost prohibitive to many individuals.
The second type of life insurance for progressive MS is graded death benefit life insurance policies. These policies are less expensive than guaranteed issue policies because they are slightly harder to qualify for. Approximately eight to 15 health questions are asked and the life insurance companies will pull a health history report from the Medical Information Board. These policies are also no medical exam life insurance policies and also have a two- to three-year waiting period.
If you’re not sure which type of policy to apply for, please contact one of our life insurance MS specialists.