Searching for life insurance with myasthenia gravis isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Fortunately, there are plenty of life insurance companies willing to offer traditional coverage to those with the condition.
As long as you’re healthy, aside from having myasthenia gravis, you have a good chance of receiving an affordable rate.
We’ll cover everything you need to know to find the best life insurance policy, beginning with understanding just why having myasthenia gravis affects your life insurance rates..
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What Is Myasthenia Gravis?
A chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease, myasthenia gravis causes weakness in muscles which are otherwise under your control. The condition stems from a failure in communication between the nerves and muscles.
Myasthenia Gravis affects around 200,000 Americans each year. Interestingly, this number seems to be on the rise.
Experts agree the increased rates of myasthenia gravis are due to new techniques which allow the disease to be diagnosed earlier. Better treatments also allow those with the condition to live long, normal lives.
MedlinePlus states the first signs of myasthenia gravis tend to occur in the facial muscles. Drooping eyelids is one of the most common early symptoms.
Other facial muscles are affected as the disease progresses. Eye movement, facial expression, and swallowing all become difficult.
The organization goes on to state rest helps big time. Taking it easy improves the symptoms. On the flip side, activity, especially intense activity, makes the symptoms even worse.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the other common symptoms of myasthenia gravis include:
- Weakness in arms and legs
- Overall fatigue
- Double vision
- Shortness of breath
- Impaired voice
Fortunately, more is known about treating myasthenia gravis than ever before. The latest treatments can make the condition easier to live with, although there is no cure.
Medications are the number one way to reduce symptoms. The best medicines help improve communication between nerves and muscles. Other medications are used to increase the strength of weakened muscles.
More forms of treatment include blood transfusions, surgery, and specialized physical therapy. Following your prescribed treatment plan to a T ensures your life can be lived normally.
Though medications, therapy, and surgery can help manage the symptoms of myasthenia gravis, those affected tend to struggle with it for life. This is the reason many life insurance companies look upon those with the condition somewhat negatively.
But, thanks to the overall effectiveness of the treatments, those with myasthenia gravis can expect to receive traditional coverage from a life insurance company, as long as no other health problems are present.
What Is the Application Process Like?
The life insurance application process isn’t difficult. However, if you hope to receive traditional coverage, remember you must take a medical exam.
The purpose of the medical exam is to help the underwriter gauge your risk. Life insurance companies tend to shy away from high risk clients. In other words, they want clients with a normal life expectancy.
Luckily, myasthenia gravis usually doesn’t lower your life expectancy. In the vast majority of cases, the available treatments allow you to live a normal life.
Yet you can still expect the underwriter to look closely at your condition. A few of the factors they use to assess your rating class include:
- Overall Health: you must be in good overall health to achieve the highest rating. Serious health problems, aside from myasthenia gravis, can even disqualify you from coverage.
- Diet, Exercise, Lifestyle: eat well, exercise regularly, and refrain from smoking to receive the best rates.
- Date of Diagnosis: the longer it’s been since your diagnosis, the better your chances of receiving traditional coverage. This is especially true if you can prove your condition is well managed.
- Condition History: the symptoms you experience, their severity, how often you have flare-ups, and when you last had symptoms are all concerns for an underwriter.
- Treatments: you’ll be asked to list any treatments you’ve used in the past or are currently using to manage the symptoms of myasthenia gravis.
- Risk Factors: are you involved in a job or activity which increases your risk of injury? Because myasthenia gravis weakens the muscles, physical jobs can put you at increased risk.
What Kind of Rate You Can Expect
Those with myasthenia gravis can generally expect to qualify for traditional life insurance coverage. It’s only in the most severe cases that you’ll be denied.
Those with mild cases of myasthenia gravis will likely receive a Standard rating. You must prove you haven’t had any symptoms in the last 6 months to qualify for such a rating.
Those with more moderate symptoms, or mild symptoms that have occurred within the past 6 months, will likely receive a Mild Sub-Standard rating. This is the most likely scenario for those who are just beginning to undergo treatment.
Perhaps the only scenario in which you’ll be declined traditional coverage is if you’re suffering from complications related to myasthenia gravis. A small number of patients struggle with respiratory muscle problems, which could lead a life insurance company to reject your application.
If your life insurance application is rejected, there are quality life insurance alternatives. A graded death benefit policy is one example.
It’s also essential to remember you can apply for life insurance more than once. If your condition notably improves, it might be worth reapplying. Sometimes those who were initially declined can get approved a few years into the future.
How to Get Approved for Life Insurance with Myasthenia Gravis
Work with an independent life insurance agent to connect with the absolute best life insurance companies.
They can help you narrow down your search to those companies with a history of insuring people with myasthenia gravis.
In most cases, you’ll even receive several offers, so you can then pick the best coverage for your individual needs and preferences.
Simply put, buying life insurance with myasthenia gravis might be frustrating, but it’s more than doable with the right help.