Just because you have multiple sclerosis doesn’t mean life insurance is impossible for you. Life insurance with MS just means a few more hurdles in the research phase of the life insurance process.
There are different diagnoses for MS which will impact what type of life insurance policy you can obtain.
This article covers whether medical marijuana will impact your rates, confidentiality laws, underwriting questions about MS, and what ratings to expect for each type of MS.
The type of multiple sclerosis will affect your insurance rates almost as much as the frequency of attacks. The longer it’s been since your last attack or seizure, the better it is for your life insurance application.
How Does Medical Marijuana Affect Life Insurance Rates?
Not all life insurance companies are marijuana friendly. In fact, most aren’t. Most will automatically decline someone for medical or recreational use.
However, there are about a dozen cannabis-friendly life insurance companies. These companies all have different underwriting guidelines regarding cannabis. Some don’t even charge smoker rates.
For medical use, cannabis-friendly companies won’t look at your medical marijuana treatment. The underwriters will assign you a health class based on your medical history and current health. Since many medical marijuana patients prefer non-smoking methods of taking their medication, insurance companies rarely assign smoker rates.
What About MS Patient Confidentiality with Medical Marijuana?
Federal law protects your legal right to medical privacy. Anything having to do with your health or medical records stays in strict confidence between healthcare professionals and your insurance agent. Nobody outside of that gets to know anything.
This includes the use of medical and recreational cannabis. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s legal in your state. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guarantees your right to privacy, even from the government itself.
How to Save Money on Life Insurance with MS
Some medical conditions can make life insurance expensive. However, even with MS, there are ways to minimize this. Follow these steps to make sure you don’t pay a cent more for life insurance than absolutely necessary.
Use a Life Insurance Needs Calculator
Instead of using the old method of figuring out how much life insurance you need, calculate it. The old way of multiplying your income by 5 or 7 doesn’t make good financial sense. It’s like buying a plane ticket to a random airport. You might get where you’re trying to go, but probably not.
A life insurance needs calculator tells you exactly how much life insurance you need. It breaks down your different reason for insurance by category so you can make decisions about what is really important and what you can self-insure.
Pick a Cannabis-Friendly Company
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s fairly second nature to lie about smoking cannabis to anyone who didn’t come of age in post-prohibition states. However, lying on your life insurance application ends badly.
If you pick a cannabis-friendly company, then you can avoid lying and still get the coverage you need at affordable rates.
All life insurance prices are set by state. That means no matter who you talk to you, the price will be the same.
But that doesn’t mean you should just take the first policy that comes your way. Different life insurance companies look at MS differently. There are a few who will overcharge if they accept it at all, but others are significantly more lenient.
So when you take your time and look for companies who will give you the best rates, you will save yourself a bunch of money.
Get Quotes from an Independent Agent
While the most important part of finding affordable life insurance with any medical condition is shopping around, it takes time. You can shop the market yourself by calling all the agents in your area. Or you can call an independent agent who can do all the work for you.
Captive agents can only represent one company, the one they work for. They can’t comparison shop and find the company with the best underwriting guidelines for you. Independent agents work for their clients. They can get companies to compete for your business. They can also help guide you toward the companies with the best rates for your situation and medical history.
Term is Cheaper than Permanent
Permanent life insurance costs 10x as much as term life insurance for the same amount. It’s guaranteed to pay out because it lasts for your entire life.
Term insurance is a little more of a gamble for you and the insurance company. You’re both hoping to outlive the term, at which point the insurance company doesn’t owe you anything unless you have a return of premium policy.
Term life insurance makes more sense for temporary reasons, like covering minor children while they grow up or providing for a spouse until retirement. Permanent life insurance is better reasons without time constraints, like estate planning or leaving something for your family.
Your reasons for buying life insurance should dictate what type you buy. It can be tempting to get permanent life insurance because that’s the most common way it was done in the past. But term insurance can save you a ton of money.
Prepare for the Life Insurance Medical Exam
Make sure to talk with your doctor before you make any changes to your diet and exercise regimen. If cleared by your doctor, you have a chance at boosting your health class by following super healthy guidelines for the few weeks leading up to your medical exam.
This means exercise, drinking plenty of water, and eating lots of leafy greens. It doesn’t take much if you’re on the fence between health classes to give you a leg up. You can boost the results of your blood work in a couple of weeks.
Life Insurance with MS
An underwriter will not rate you solely on a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. There are several other factors they account for as well, including:
- Biological sex
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Family medical history
- Tobacco and alcohol consumption
Life insurance ratings will vary between people since MS can also vary widely.
Standard is the best possible rating. To qualify, your MS must be mild. Relapsing-remitting is the most likely type of qualify. There must also be several years between the date of your application and the date of your last attack. You must also be in good health.
Most people with MS will qualify for a table rating. Within the substandard classes, your rating will depend on:
- Severity of MS
- Type of MS
- Length of time since your diagnosis
- Length of time since your last attack
- Age when you were diagnosed
- Whether you are showing any improvement
What Questions Will Underwriters Ask?
If you gather all of the following information, then you can have an independent insurance agent prescreen your application to see which company will offer you the best health class, and subsequently the best rates.
Many states now accept medical marijuana as a treatment for MS. Some states which still don’t recognize
Underwriters will also need all of this information when you apply for coverage.
- Age when you were diagnosed
- Type of MS
- Severity of MS
- Do you have any residual neurological impairments or restrictions?
- How many attacks or seizures have you had in total?
- When was the most recent attack?
- What treatments have you undergone?
- How did you respond to past treatments?
- What medications are you currently taking?
- Has your condition gotten better or worse over time?
- Do you need any kind of brace, walker, or wheelchair for mobility?
- Are you actively working either part-time or full-time?
- Are you on disability?
- Do you currently smoke cigarettes?
Particularly with MS, it’s important to meet with your doctor regularly. The more you can show the insurance company you are actively managing your condition, the better your rates can be.
If you don’t have all of this information up front, that’s okay. Just try to get it by the time you fill out an application. Insurance underwriters get nervous when they’re missing medical information. Nervous underwriters tend to lean conservative and charge more.
Can I Be Declined for a Fully Underwritten Life Insurance Policy?
Unfortunately, there are a couple of scenarios where this is the case. Most applications within a year of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis get declined or postponed. Insurance companies want more information and to see how you respond to treatment before making a decision.
Severe MS also commonly faces declines for life insurance.
Finally, if you are not treating your condition, not seeing your doctor, or not following your doctor’s orders, the insurance company will decide you are too much of a risk to insure.
Can I get Life Insurance if I am Declined?
There are other options for life insurance beyond the traditional ones. Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance is the next best option when other companies aren’t willing to insure you.
These policies don’t require a medical exam. Most don’t even ask health questions. They accept every application as long as you are within the age range they cover, usually 18 to 75.
Policy amounts typically cap at $25,000 or $50,000 per company. You can combine multiple policies to get a higher total death benefit. The premiums are also higher because they accept everyone, regardless of their health.
You and your beneficiary should keep in mind the graded benefits of guaranteed issue life insurance if you choose to go this route. Graded benefits mean you need to hold the policy at least two years before your beneficiary receives the full death benefit. If you pass away before that, then they will only receive a portion of the death benefits. If the death is accidental, then the graded period does not apply and the full death benefit is paid out from day 1.
Graded benefits usually look something like the following:
- 1st Year – 110% of premiums paid
- 2nd Year – 60 to 80% of death benefit
- 3rd Yer – 100% of death benefit
For mild MS, you can get a standard health class if you are otherwise in good health. For most types of MS, you will still qualify for life insurance but at a substandard rate class.
Applying with a cannabis-friendly life insurance company prevents any complications from treating your MS with medical marijuana.
How MJ Life Insurance Can Help
At MJ Life Insurance, we focus on connecting people with marijuana-friendly life insurance companies. Whether you’re taking advantage of medical marijuana’s treatment benefits or smoking recreationally, we can find a company that will treat you fairly.
If you have any questions or want to pre-screen life insurance with MS for yourself or a loved one, give us a call at (888) 987-8447. All calls are confidential, and there is never any obligation to buy.