Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that affects fewer than 200,000 new people a year. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are more than 2.3 million individuals who have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
MS is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves. This results in nerve damage disrupting communication between the brain and the body.
Multiple sclerosis causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. The symptoms, severity, and duration can vary from person to person. Some people may be symptom free most of their lives, while others can have severe chronic symptoms that never go away.
Physical therapy and medications that suppress the immune system can help with symptoms and slow disease progression.
One of my high school friends had MS growing up. He's still alive today at 42 and asked me about life insurance for him. He's got one kid and wants to protect his family just in case something happens to him. This post is for him and others like him.
Multiple Sclerosis And Life Insurance
There are four different classifications of MS, depending the level of severity. Let's go through each one and how life insurance companies view each one before giving a policy.
You should know which classification of MS you have by asking your doctor. Your goal is to know your classification to better prepare for the life insurance application process and know what you can expect.
RRMS – Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (most common)
PPMS – Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
SPMS – Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
PRMS – Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (least common)
Given the growing number of people affected by MS, life insurance companies have begun to offer policies especially for MS sufferers.
Application Questions By Life Insurance Companies
Once you know what classification of multiple sclerosis you have, you've got to fill out a detailed application about your health.
If you decide to get a larger policy, like $500,000 and over, you may likely have to get a medical exam as well. Those always stink because someone has to draw your blood.
Here are some general questions a life insurance company will ask you:
- At what age were you diagnosed with MS?
- How many episodes have you had so far?
- When was your last episode?
- What medications are you taking?
- What treatments have you undertaken, and how did you respond to them?
- What is your current neurological state?
- What are your current symptoms?
- Have you made use of any tobacco products over the past year?
- Do you suffer from any heart conditions?
- Do you smoke or drink?
- What is your occupation?
- What type of work do you do?
- Do you have a family history of MS and other diseases?
You should answer all questions truthfully because you don't want to have the life insurance company contest your death benefit if you die prematurely. Life insurance companies will eventually find out if something you said or answered is false.
Life Insurance Ratings
Life insurance companies will classify you into various buckets based on your health. Unfortunately, if you are diagnosed with MS, you will likely only qualify for a Standard Rate or a Table Rate. These are the bottom two lowest ratings.
Here are the life insurance ratings:
- Preferred Plus Rates: The top rating. People with MS will not get this rating.
- Preferred Rates: Second best rating. People with MS will unlikely get this rating.
- Standard Rates: Likely the best rate a person with MS can hope for.
- Table Rates: The lowest rating, and unfortunately the most common rating.
Get A Term Life Insurance Policy
Given a person with MS is going to pay a higher premium due to a lower rating, getting a term life insurance policy is better. A term life insurance policy is much cheaper because a policyholder is just paying for the cost to insure. You decide on the death benefit amount and the duration of coverage.
A permanent life insurance policy is more expensive because the policy holder is paying for the death benefit and the cash value. Below is an example of a $500,000 universal life insurance policy for a 42 year old male with Preferred Plus rate. The monthly premium is a whopping $830 because most of the premium goes towards building up the cash value.
If the 42 year old male got a term life insurance policy with the same death benefit and a 30-year term, the cost would be closer to $200 a month instead. A big difference!
There are many different types of life insurance that you should get yourself familiar with. Term life is the most common type and permanent life has many sub-types.
How To Get Life Insurance With Multiple Sclerosis
There is a chance you will get declined by life insurance companies, depending on the severity of your multiple sclerosis. In the old days, you would apply to a life insurance company one by one and wait a while before hearing the news. Thankfully, technology has come a long way to help people with MS get life insurance.
The most efficient way to get competitive life insurance quotes is to check online with PolicyGenius, the #1 life insurance marketplace where qualified insurers compete for your business. You just fill out the application to the best of your ability and insurance companies will determine whether they want to cover you or not, and for how much.
It's much easier to apply on PolicyGenius than go to each carrier one-by-one to get a quote. You'll only hear back from the life insurance companies who are willing to cover you with multiple sclerosis, and then you can compare the rates and choose the best policy for you.
You have an absolute right to insure you and your family just like anybody else. Don't let multiple sclerosis get in the way of getting life insurance. If you have debt and dependents, getting life insurance is a good idea.
Related: Life Insurance Options For Senior Citizens
About the Author:
Sam worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse for 13 years. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis, taking care of his family, and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom too.
He started Financial Samurai in 2009 and has grown it to be one of the largest independently owned personal finance sites in the world. You can sign up for his private newsletter here.