When you have depression or anxiety, you may wonder if you’ll ever qualify for life insurance while taking antidepressants to treat the symptoms. However, most people who take antidepressants can still obtain traditional life insurance with competitive premiums.
Many people think depression or anxiety is easy to just talk yourself out of. Life insurance companies know these health conditions can affect your well being and health. In addition, depression is often diagnosed in individuals with other major health problems.
The best way to get life insurance if you are taking antidepressants is to talk to a skilled insurance agent. You need to speak with someone who will look at your individual qualifications instead of lumping you with the statistics describing the general population.
Is It Possible to Get Life Insurance While Taking Antidepressants?
According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, almost 15 million American adults suffer from major depression every year.
Approximately 25% of cancer patients are depressed, and up to 75% of eating disorder sufferers may be struggling with depression. Experts have found stress and depression can increase the risk of heart attack in people with cardiovascular disease by almost 50%.
However, underwriters are finding mild depression and anxiety don’t increase the risk of dying. In fact, the CDC reported 11% of Americans older than 11 years of age take antidepressant medication. Antidepressants are not always associated with severe depression.
Antidepressants are often the first course of treatment offered to people with depression. However, antidepressants are only effective in about 30% of cases. Many people who are treated with medication alone have a higher rate of relapse.
Depression medication treats the symptoms of depression. Therapy can help patients overcome the condition.
The Life Insurance Application for People Taking Antidepressants
Life insurance underwriters want to minimize their risk. If they believe you have a higher likelihood of dying, your premiums will go up or you may be denied coverage. According to Psychology Today, 85% of people with major depression relapse within 15 years.
However, not everyone taking antidepressants is using it to control major depression. Explaining your medical history and answering the life insurance questions to the best of your ability may increase your potential for lowered premiums and higher coverage amounts.
Most life insurance companies want to see the condition for which you’re taking antidepressants is controlled, how it is being monitored and whether you are complying with your doctor’s instructions. You may be asked questions such as the following:
- What have you been diagnosed with?
- When were you diagnosed?
- When did your symptoms first present themselves?
- What are your symptoms? Are they mild, moderate or severe?
- Have you ever had suicidal thoughts?
- Are you taking medications for other health conditions?
- What medications are you taking? At what dosage?
- How long have you been taking the medication?
- What other therapy are you undergoing?
- How often do you visit your doctor?
If underwriters can make sure the risk from depression is contained, they are more likely to qualify you for a better rating. For example, some acute episodes of depression are brought on by a death in the family or a recent divorce. These are less likely to recur or lead to further health problems.
People who are dealing with depression on top of another medical condition may fall into a lower health classification, however. The more medications you are taking, the more risky you are perceived to be by the life insurance company.
What Ratings Should You Expect?
Preferred or Preferred Plus – If your depression occurred recently due to a life event or is mild and controlled, you may still be rated as Preferred or Preferred Plus if your health is otherwise great. This rating applies to those who are taking only one medication and visiting their doctor regularly.
Standard – If you were diagnosed with depression shortly after you began experiencing symptoms and are following a treatment plan, you should fall under the Standard health class. This rating may apply to you even if you have been hospitalized for your condition. Cases where depression or anxiety have arisen from non-life events and are well controlled will fall here, too.
Mild Substandard – People with symptoms of depression lasting for at least six months before diagnosis may receive this rating. Individuals with this rating will typically pay 50% more than those with a Standard classification.
Medium Substandard – If your depression symptoms greatly affect your quality of life or ability to go about your daily routine, you may fall into the Medium Substandard category. Poor mental function and sleep disorders may be indicators of more serious health conditions. People in this category will usually pay 100% more than those in the Standard category.
Severe Substandard – If you have had suicidal thoughts or loss of appetite for more than a year, cannot complete your daily routine or go to work because of your depression, you may fall into this category. Individuals with this ranking may pay 150% more than people with a Standard rating.
If symptoms are uncontrolled, unexplained, and greatly affect your daily life, many insurance companies will deny your application because the risk is too great or unable to be classified. For this reason, the more in depth information you can provide, the better.
What Should You Do To Get Life Insurance If You Take Antidepressants?
Never hide your condition from the life insurance agent. If your medical charts show you have been prescribed antidepressants, the insurance agent will ask you questions about the situation anyway. Offering detailed and comprehensive information can reassure the agent your mental condition is under control.
When you apply for life insurance, your prescription database record will be pulled, so the agent and insurance company will discover the use in any case.
Document your diagnoses and treatments. Instill confidence in the underwriter you are not at a greater risk of mortality just because you take antidepressants. If you don’t document your doctors’ visits or the reasons for the prescription, you may just be assessed as a statistic.
Work with an independent insurance agent. Someone who has experience working with people with certain medical conditions knows the right questions to ask and the best life insurance companies to deal with for your particular needs.
This is what we do.
There are no one-size-fits-all life insurance policies, especially when a mental or physical condition of any kind is is present.
If you are looking for life insurance while taking antidepressants, be prepared to answer questions about your history and provide documentation of your medications and symptoms. Don’t hesitate to shop around until you find a rate and policy which works for you.