Many of those with parkinsonism are left wondering how their diagnosis will affect their life insurance eligibility. The good news is, you can still qualify for coverage.
If you’re curious whether you can get traditional coverage and want to know what kind of rate you’re likely to get, we’re here to help.
Below are the top facts you need to know when applying for life insurance with parkinsonism.
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The best way to begin the process of buying life insurance is to fully understand how and why your diagnosis affects your rates. Let’s begin by looking at what Parkinsonism really is.
Parkinsonism is simply a term describing any condition causing abnormalities in movement, similar to Parkinson’s disease.
Though Parkinson’s disease is a form of parkinsonism, the disorder also includes similar brain diseases such as Parkinson-plus syndromes and hydrocephalus.
More than 6 million people around the world have been diagnosed with parkinsonism. In the United States alone, there are over 200,000 cases per year.
The most common symptoms of parkinsonism include:
- slow movement
- muscle stiffness
- impaired speech
These symptoms are primarily caused by the loss of neurons containing dopamine.
According to Mayo Clinic, parkinsonism has several possible causes. The most prevalent include:.
- Reaction to medications
- Repeated head trauma (such as from sports injuries)
- Neurodegenerative disorders (such as multiple system atrophy)
- Metabolic disorders (such as chronic liver failure)
- Brain lesions
- Lewy body dementia
Because of the vast number of possible causes of parkinsonism, treatments must be designed specifically for each patient.
For cases caused by reaction to medications, simply stopping use of the medication can reverse symptoms.
In most other cases, however, medications can actually help. A combination of carbidopa and levodopa is most commonly prescribed.
Other than medication, the best treatment for parkinsonism is a change of lifestyle. You should make an effort to remain physically active by exercising regularly and attending physical therapy.
Creating a safe environment where you won’t become injured because of your movement abnormalities is also essential. An example is installing a grab bar in your shower to make getting in and out safer and easier.
Life insurance companies will place big importance on the lifestyle changes you make to cope with your parkinsonism. They highly value those working to sustain their normal daily activities in a home environment made safer with special modifications.
Traditional life insurance coverage requires a medical examination as part of the application process. The exam will look at both your parkinsonism and your overall health.
The purpose is to gauge how much of a risk you are to the life insurance company. They want to ensure your condition doesn’t significantly lower your life expectancy before offering coverage.
It’s the underwriters job to review this information to come up with your life insurance rating.
A few of the top factors they take into consideration include:
- Overall Health: helps the underwriter get a clearer picture of your risk to the company. Healthier individuals will receive lower rates.
- Diet, Exercise, Lifestyle: those who eat well and exercise regularly, as well as those who modify their home environments for increased safety, will likely receive better rates.
- Date of Diagnosis: an early diagnosis helps many people get better control over parkinsonism, which will affect your rates..
- Condition History: an underwriter reviews every aspect of your parkinsonism including your symptoms, severity of symptoms, and changes in symptoms when assessing your insurance rating.
- Family History: if parkinsonism runs in your family, the underwriter will look at those in your family with the disease to decide on the best insurance rating.
- Treatments: compliance with medications and other treatments will improve your chances of a lower premium.
- Doctor Visits: insurance underwriters view regular visits to your doctor as a positive, since it shows you’re working hard to manage your condition.
There are a lot of factors that are out of your hands when it comes to your chances of receiving traditional life insurance coverage with parkinsonism. Yet something as simple as changing your lifestyle is a step in the right direction.
Work hard to maintain your daily activities, exercise on a regular basis, and make your home a safer place to live for someone with a movement disorder.
Insurance companies place great value on those working to maintain and improve their medical conditions.
The majority of those with Parkinsonism qualify for traditional life insurance. However, it’s important to apply to companies with a history of insuring high risk clients.
Those with non-progressive symptoms of parkinsonism receive the best rates. You can expect to receive a Standard rating, if you don’t have any other health problems.
Those with more moderate symptoms, such as slowness of movement, will likely receive a Medium Sub-Standard rating. It’s essential to prove you don’t have any complications associated with parkinsonism (such as cognitive disturbances) to receive this rate.
More severe symptoms will immediately deny you traditional coverage. Rigidity, rest tremors, and cognitive complications are examples. People with these more extreme parkinsonism symptoms should look at life insurance alternatives, like a graded death benefit policy.
Simply put, it’s difficult to judge exactly what type of coverage you’ll receive. It all depends upon the specifics of your condition as well as the company you apply to.
Finding coverage with parkinsonism isn’t going to be a simple task. Working closely with an independent life insurance agent will make it much easier.
They know which companies offer life insurance to people with parkinsonism, and will direct you to these companies. They will also help you present your application in the best light.
Your chances of receiving traditional life insurance with parkinsonism skyrocket when you work with an independent life insurance agent.