Life Insurance with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Multiple sclerosis can make it difficult to find affordable life insurance. However, there are still ways to get coverage if you have MS. In this guide, we will discuss the best options for life insurance if you have multiple sclerosis. We will also provide tips on how to get the best rates possible. So, whether you are just starting your search or you have been denied coverage in the past, read on for information that can help you secure the life insurance policy you need and deserve.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic or recurrent progressive disease of the central nervous system and has a typical onset between 20 and 50. The cause of MS is unknown, but it may result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and immunologic factors.

The pathological condition in MS is nerve demyelination (loss of the protective covering around a nerve). Symptoms develop as nerve conduction slows and then fails.

The typical attack is relatively sudden in onset, persists for 3 to 12 weeks, then clears.

Psychiatric and cognitive disturbances are common in MS. For example, up to 20% of patients experience major depression, which typically responds to traditional drug therapy.

Memory and attention deficits also occur.

Testing for MS

Common tests done in the MS evaluation include brain MRI, spinal tap to study the spinal fluid proteins and immunoglobulins, and measurement of sensory nerve conduction (called evoked response).

Classically, MS has a relapsing-remitting pattern. Thus, there are periods of remissions and exacerbations that occur at unpredictable intervals over a period of several years, with initial episodes tending to resolve completely.

It is the accumulated burden of multiple attacks that causes persistent symptoms.

There is no cure for MS, and treatment is directed against the underlying disease process and alleviates symptoms.

Common medications for MS are steroids, interferon, and glatiramer acetate. In addition, drugs to control bladder function, spasticity, and depression may be necessary.

The course of the disease is remarkably variable, but overall, MS is a progressive disorder.

The median time frame from onset to difficulty with ambulation is about 15 years. Less than 10% have primary progressive MS at the onset, and 85-90% have relapsing-remitting.

The transition from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive usually occurs 10 to 20 years after disease onset.

Approximately 15% will have a benign form, and they remain completely neurologically functional 15 years after disease onset, with a rare transformation to a more severe course.

What Insurance Companies Look For With Multiple Sclerosis

  • Age of the applicant
  • Whether a definite diagnosis has been made
  • Date of initial and most recent symptoms
  • Frequency of symptoms
  • Progression of the disease
  • Degree of disability
  • Medical Treatments

Getting Life Insurance Coverage With Multiple Sclerosis

  • A tentative diagnosis of MS with no signs or symptoms for 2 years can be considered.
  • Stable MS with moderate symptoms more than 1 year since diagnosis can be considered for coverage.
  • Stable MS with moderate symptoms more than 1 year since diagnosis can be considered for life insurance coverage.
  • Progressive or severe MS is typically a decline.

Some examples scenarios of getting insurance coverage are:

  • Suspected MS: You suspect you may have MS with no testing results nor evidence of the disease.
  • Definite MS: You’ve had at least 2 clinical events and/or test results proving you have MS.

Depending on the severity of the disease determines whether you can get coverage or not.

What If I’m Declined?

Even if your life insurance application was declined by an insurer, you could still purchase life insurance through a guaranteed issue policy.

What Is A Guaranteed Issue Policy?

A guaranteed issue policy is life insurance that does not depend on your health. This means that you will be able to get life insurance even if you have had a stroke and have been declined before. However, there are a few drawbacks that you should consider before getting this type of policy.

Many insurers that offer guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a limit on the death benefit. This amount is usually between $25,000 and $30,000, depending on your age.

If you die from natural causes, your family will have to wait for two or three years before the company will pay the full death benefit. Most companies, however, will pay a benefit equal to the total premiums paid in plus 5 to 10 percent.

Since the insurer is not sure how healthy you are, they will charge you more for your life insurance policy than someone who is healthier.

Although there are some disadvantages to guaranteed issue life insurance, it is still a better option than asking your loved ones to pay your final expenses.

Need Help Getting Life Insurance Coverage?

If you have a preexisting medical condition and want to buy life insurance, you will need help from an expert. This person can help make sure that you get coverage so that you don’t get declined.

Warning: Applying for life insurance without a medical exam can be risky. If you are declined coverage, it could be at least two years before you are able to get any life insurance.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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