Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong, unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system, ultimately disrupting the flow of information between the brain and the rest of your body—as well as within the brain itself. If you’ve been living with MS, you’re all too familiar with the symptoms, including fatigue, walking difficulties, spasticity, weakness, numbness, vision problems, dizziness, and a host of other neurological and physical issues. While uncomfortable on the verge of debilitating for many, MS is not generally fatal—yet historically, life insurance has been difficult to obtain for people who have multiple sclerosis.
Fortunately, new underwriting approaches and a wider range of available providers have made life insurance for multiple sclerosis more available than ever.
Life Insurance for Multiple Sclerosis: No Two Cases Are the Same
First, understand that no two situations are exactly the same. As you likely know, no two cases of MS are the same. There are many distinct types of MS, and within those types, different patients may present very differently; one person may have a collection of mild symptoms that are barely noticeable while another is fully disabled, even if they share an identical formal diagnosis.
Similarly, no two life insurance policies are the same. There are thousands of life insurance providers out there, and each one has different standards, values, and underwriting methods that dictate how they issue policies. On top of that, there’s a big difference between term life insurance and whole life insurance policies, and you may pay a higher or lower rate based on your risk profile.
Accordingly, if you’ve been denied life insurance coverage as a person with multiple sclerosis, don’t give up hope. There will almost certainly be a provider who can give you adequate coverage.
Life Insurance Underwriting for Multiple Sclerosis
Life insurance for multiple sclerosis is easier to get in part because life insurance company underwriting policies—which dictate how to evaluate risk—have evolved. We have a much better understanding of MS overall, and better data insurance agents can use to accurately calculate risk.
That said, to get a life insurance policy with MS, you’ll need to provide several pieces of information about your condition, and the type and cost of your policy will vary, depending on these variables:
- Time and nature of diagnosis. How long ago were you diagnosed? Fresh diagnoses tend to be more uncertain, and can make it harder to generate a life insurance quote. The method of diagnosis may also come into play. For example, was your MS diagnosed with an MRI or with evoked potentials?
- Type of diagnosis. Roughly 85 percent of people with MS are first diagnosed with relapse-remitting MS (RRMS), and only after 10 to 15 years are they diagnosed with secondary progressive MS (SPMS). Rarer forms of MS include primary progressive MS (PPMS) and progressive relapsing MS (PRMS). Your type of MS could affect your life insurance premiums, and the type of policies available to you.
- Collection of symptoms. Your life insurance availability will also depend on what types of symptoms you present, as well as the severity, frequency, and duration of those symptoms.
- Current medications and response to medications. Which medications are you currently taking, and how are you responding to those medications? Having no treatment plan, or complications with medications could make life insurance harder to attain.
Together these factors will help insurance providers determine whether your MS is mild, moderate, or severe. If you don’t have a formal disability, your attacks are merely occasional, and you have long periods of remission, you’ll be determined to have mild MS, and there will likely be a wide range of life insurance policies available to you. If you’re living with MS with full function but you have a neurological impairment, or if your attacks are increasing in occurrence or severity, you’ll be considered to have moderate MS. If you aren’t independent, or if you’re confined to a wheelchair or bed due to MS, you’ll be considered to have severe MS, which can make it more difficult (but certainly not impossible) to find a life insurance policy.
Getting a Life Insurance Quote With Multiple Sclerosis
If you’re interested in getting the most accurate quotes, and the biggest available selection of quotes, you’ll need to follow a few important tips:
- Talk to a specialized life insurance agent. You might be tempted to shop around online by yourself, or contact an existing insurance provider about their life insurance options, but you’re much better off having a conversation with a specialist who caters to people with MS. Life insurance agents who specialize in MS have better connections and a better understanding of the industry, helping you get better quotes. They also understand your condition, so they can talk to you with empathy and ask better questions about your symptoms.
- Understand your options may be limited. If you have severe MS, you may not have as many policy options as someone who is fully healthy. That doesn’t mean you won’t have life insurance options, but your number of providers may be limited. Additionally, your quotes may be somewhat higher. If you have mild to moderate MS, you’ll have more available options.
- Be ready with detailed, accurate information. Your life insurance agent will need detailed information about your MS diagnosis, your current symptoms, and how you live your life. If you’re prepared with this information, the quoting process will be much smoother—and you’ll be more likely to get approved for a suitable life insurance policy for your needs.
Are you interested in learning more about your life insurance options as a person with multiple sclerosis? Have you had difficulty finding a life insurance policy with MS? Speak to an experienced life insurance agent today, and learn more about your available options—we’re here to help you find the right policy, and make the process easier on you.