What To Do If You’ve Been Declined
If you’ve been denied life insurance coverage because of your multiple sclerosis, call us before you do anything else. We are experts in obtaining life insurance for individuals with multiple sclerosis.
Often times an inexperienced agent applied with the wrong insurance company or didn’t present your case to an underwriter correctly. We understand MS, and know what positive lifestyle habits to highlight in a cover letter that we attach to your application. Most agents don’t write these cover letters and we like to think of them as our secret weapon to turn declines into approvals.
Prequalifying – The Crucial Step
We prequalify your case to the insurance carriers before submitting an application to them. This means that we send an email explaining your multiple sclerosis in detail. Within 48 hours, an underwriter sends a “tentative offer” back. The underwriter must honor that offer unless they find something in your health history or otherwise that you didn’t disclose. We then attach this “tentative offer” to your MS life insurance application. Where most agents go wrong, is that they miss this crucial step in the process entirely.
What We Need to Know
Whichever insurance company(ies) we submit your case to will obtain your complete health history from your medical records; however, it is important to communicate to us as much health history upfront as you possible. This will help us determine which insurance company(ies) to contact on your behalf.
We’ll need to know your basic information, such as your height and weight, your date of birth, your gender, and if you have currently or recently used any tobacco products.
We’ll also want to know basic insurance information such as what type of policy you’d like to apply for (term, universal or whole) and the amount of coverage you’d like. If you’re unsure of the type or amount of coverage you’ll need, we can help you determine what best suits your needs.
Please also communicate as much as specific information regarding your multiple sclerosis as you can. This information can include the following: date of first diagnosis; how the ms was diagnosed (MRI, evoked potentials, etc…); approximate date of attack(s); duration of attack(s); if the residual effects of the attacks are none, minimal, moderate, severe; specifics on any medications taken such names, amounts taken, frequency taken, and dates used; and lastly, if applicable, the score (0-10) for the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).
Also, if you have positive lifestyle habits such as exercising regularly, maintaining your mental well-being, or eating healthy, please communicate these to us so that can communicate them to your cover letter to the insurance companies. These positive habits will make your case stronger.
Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
If you were declined life insurance because of your progressive multiple sclerosis, the only life insurance coverage you will be able to qualify for is a graded death benefit policy. There are currently no insurance carriers who offer traditional, fully-underwritten life insurance coverage on individuals with progressive multiple sclerosis.
Graded Death Benefit Life Insurance Policies
As explained in more detail in a separate article, a graded death benefit life insurance policy is a life insurance policy with a waiting period. The waiting period is typically two (2) to three (3) years, with the full benefit amount payable after the waiting period expires.
Benefits paid to beneficiaries before the waiting period expires, will receive one of two amounts – 1) the amount of premiums paid plus interest or 2) a percentage of the total death benefit. Whichever amount the beneficiaries receive, varies between insurance carriers. It’s important to discuss this with us before we submit your life insurance application to a carrier.
Within the waiting period, every year that passes insurance carriers will pay an increasing laddered, or graded benefit amount, until the waiting period is over. Hence the name, graded death benefits.
No Medical Exam
Graded death benefit policies are unlike fully-underwritten, traditional life insurance policies because they do not require a medical exam. There are two types of no medical exam policies – a simplified issue policy which asks a few health questions, and a guaranteed issue policy which doesn’t ask any questions.
As long as you are honestly able to answer “no” to a handful of health history questions, then you can qualify for the more cost effective, simplified issue policy.
It’s important to know that because there is no medical exam required to qualify for a graded death benefit policy, this type of policy is typically more expensive than it’s fully-underwritten counterpart.
Medical Questions Asked
If you have progressive multiple sclerosis or any other elevated risks and you’re applying for a simplified issue life insurance policy, the insurance company will require you to honestly answer “no” to the following questions in order to qualify:
1) Have you been diagnosed as having or been treated by a physician for:
• Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or AIDS Related Complex (ARC)?
• Alzheimer’s disease (dementia), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), mental retardation or Down’s Syndrome, or do you require the assistance of another person for dressing, bathing, toileting, or mobility, or do you use an oxygen tank?
2) Have you in the past two (2) years:
• Had a heart attack (myocardial infarction) or stroke (cerebral vascular accident)?
• Had or are now awaiting an organ or bone marrow transplant (except as a donor)?
• Been diagnosed with cancer, received or been prescribed radiation or chemotherapy or have you received or been prescribed dialysis?
• Been confined to or been advised by a licensed medical professional to be admitted to, a nursing home, hospice, extended care or special treatment facility or are you now hospitalized?
• Used controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, barbiturates or hallucinogens except as prescribed by physician or been treated for or been advised by a physician to seek treatment for drug or alcohol use?
• Been advised by a licensed medical professional that your life expectancy is less than 24 months?
• Had more than one DUI (DWI) violation, been convicted of a felony, or are you now on probation?
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Policy
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions listed above, you will not qualify for a simplified issue policy; however you will qualify for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. Even if you have a terminal disorder, as long as you are not in hospice care, you will qualify for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
It’s important to know that even if you were denied coverage by another life insurance company, you still have options. Please contact one of our multiple sclerosis life insurance specialists today so that we can get you the best coverage for which you qualify.