One question that many people with Huntington’s disease have is whether they can still qualify for life insurance.
The short answer to that question is probably not, but it depends on a variety of factors, including your symptoms, their severity, and your treatments.
With that said, it’s very difficult to find life insurance with Huntington’s disease. In fact, most life insurance companies consider it too risky to insure something one this health problem.
The reason for this is that Huntington’s disease often results in premature death. Those with the disease have shortened lifespans and will die earlier than normal.
These facts make insuring those with Huntington’s disease an extremely risky endeavor for life insurance providers. That’s not to say that it’s impossible.
Luckily, there is an effective life insurance alternative for those with Huntington’s disease in the form of a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
Below we look more closely at applying for life insurance with Huntington’s disease.
What is Huntington’s Disease?
Huntington’s disease causes the nerve cells in the brain to break down over time.
It’s a rare condition as is categorized as an inherited disease. Though it’s much more complicated than just this, the genetic nature of Huntington’s disease means that it’s passed through families.
In fact, children have about a 50% chance of inheriting the gene that causes Huntington’s disease from their parents if one parent has the defective gene.
The symptoms and effects of Huntington’s disease are numerous and usually severe. They spread throughout the body to eventually effect most of its functions.
The first signs are usually noticeable in a person’s 30s or 40s. These then become progressively worse over time.
The symptoms of Huntington’s disease can be broken down into three main categories: movement disorders, cognitive disorders, and psychiatric disorders.
The specific symptoms in each category include:
- Movement disorders – Involuntary jerking motions, slow eye movements, difficultly walking, difficulty speaking, and muscle problems.
- Cognitive Disorders – Difficulty organizing and focusing, lack of impulse control, slowness in processing thoughts, and difficulty learning new things.
- Psychiatric Disorders – Depression including sadness, anger, social withdrawal, insomnia, and fatigue. Often leads to suicidal thoughts.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s essential to seek a doctor’s advice as soon as you begin experiencing any of these symptoms for the proper treatment.
Getting started with treatment early on can greatly slow down the progression of Huntington’s disease.
The most common timespan from diagnosis with the disease until death is between 10 and 40 years for most cases.
Who Gets Huntington’s Disease?
Certain people are at a much higher risk for developing Huntington’s disease than others.
Those at risk are people with the gene for Huntington’s disease in their family. Because it’s a genetic disease, it passes down through families.
As mentioned above, children with one parent that has the gene for Huntington’s disease have a 50% chance of having the gene too.
That’s why prevention is so important. If you’re a parent with a family health history of Huntington’s disease, it’s important to strongly consider the choices that go into giving birth to a child.
Genetic testing is a good option while prenatal testing or in-vitro fertilization are also recommended.
Questions You’ll Be Asked
Applying for life insurance, with or without Huntington’s disease, consists of answering a whole lot of questions.
The questions cover everything from your personal information to your lifestyle to your medical history to your family health history.
Some of the questions you can expect to be asked include questions about your:
- Health – What medical problems do you have in addition to Huntington’s disease?
- Diet and Exercise – What is your weight and BMI? Do you eat well and exercise on a regular basis?
- Lifestyle – Do you smoke? How much do you drink? Do you have a dangerous job or hobbies?
- Date of Diagnosis – When were you diagnosed with Huntington’s disease? How early into the disease’s progression was it?
- Symptoms and Type – What symptoms do you experience? What function of your body do they affect? How severe are they and how have they progressed?
- Complications – Do you have any other problems that have stemmed from your Huntington’s disease?
- Treatments and Medications – What treatments and medications have you used to slow down the progression of your Huntington’s disease?
- Functional Ability – Have you lost the ability to perform normal daily tasks or live on your own as a symptom of your Huntington’s disease?
- Doctor Visits – How frequently do you visit the doctor for treatment and checkups?
Your answers to all of these questions help the underwriters at each life insurance company assess your overall risk to the company.
By assessing your overall risk, the underwriters can assign you a rating class that best fits your needs and the company’s needs.
Your rating class not only affects the rates and premiums you’ll pay for coverage, but also the specifics of the type of policy that you qualify for.
Remember that you must also provide an up-to-date medical exam alongside your application for the underwriters to review.
The Application and Approval Process
The specifics of the life insurance application and approval process depend upon each company you apply for.
Most will require the full application process outlined above, except for companies offering no-exam life insurance. These companies require a much shorter application. Approval comes in short order, usually somewhere between a day and a week.
Approval for traditional life insurance takes longer. Expect to wait between 4 and 6 weeks before you hear back from the company.
During this 4 to 6 week period, the company’s underwriters are closely reviewing your application and medical exam.
You’ll receive an answer at the end of this period. It will include whether or not you qualify for traditional coverage as well as the rating class you fall into.
Remember that being denied from traditional coverage isn’t the end of the world. There are still several life insurance alternatives available to choose from.
Your Life Insurance Options
The fact of the matter is that it’s very difficult to qualify for traditional life insurance with Huntington’s disease.
Few, if any, life insurance companies will offer you traditional coverage, even if your Huntington’s disease is in its early stages.
The reasons for this are simple. Huntington’s disease is a very serious medical problem that often results in early death.
Huntington’s disease also effects the entire body. It weakens your entire body over time. It puts you at a greater risk for developing other medical conditions.
So, the answer, is almost always no, to whether or not you can qualify for life insurance with Huntington’s disease.
What about if you have a family history of Huntington’s disease? Underwriters will stay weigh this heavily during the application process, but as long as you provide genetic testing that says you’re not at risk (and are in good overall health), you could still qualify for traditional coverage.
But the fact is that most people with Huntington’s disease will be denied from traditional coverage and must look into an alternative like a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
A guaranteed issue life insurance policy doesn’t have as strict of requirements, but still provides some form of coverage for those that don’t qualify for traditional options.
Finding the Best Life Insurance with Huntington’s Disease
Unfortunately, finding traditional life insurance with Huntington’s disease is all but impossible.
That’s why it’s a good idea to start researching effective alternatives, like a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
Though these policies cost more and have lower coverage levels, they’re still an option worth looking into, especially for those with Huntington’s disease that want some type of life insurance coverage.