Life Insurance for Mental Health Disorders

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Chris Riley
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Chris Riley

Chris is the Founder and CEO of USA Rx. Chris has led the USA Rx team to continue to push for further transparency and more savings options in the U.S. prescription marketplace for the Diabetes community. With COVID-19 transforming and normalizing how consumers view and use digital health, Chris led the transformation of the USA Rx brand to a digital health marketplace.

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Last Updated on February 4, 2023

Research by Mental Health America shows nearly 20% of adults in the United States struggle with a mental health disorder. The issue becomes even more alarming as over half of this population does not receive professional treatment.

Mental health is among the crucial considerations for insurance companies when evaluating an individual’s life insurance application. The insurer can decide to rate up their policy, or charge higher premiums, because of mental health conditions, resulting in higher premiums. In rare cases, a mental condition might lead to coverage denial.

While having a type of Diabetes makes finding life insurance more challenging, having a treatment for your mental health may make it even tougher.  Some life insurance providers may not even consider you for coverage. Also, some non medical exam products may no longer consider you for coverage if being prescribed specific medications.

This article explains the relationship between life insurance and ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. It also discloses the available alternatives if you don’t qualify for coverage.

How Insurers Treat Mental Health Disorders on Life Insurance Application

Insurers focus on several elements of your life before accepting your life insurance with mental health problems. These elements include:

  • Personal health history,
  • Body mass index,
  • Family health history,
  • Smoking status.
  • Medication history

It is through these factors that they determine your risk and settle on the premium to charge you. This is known as the underwriting process. Depending on the application process you choose, you may need to complete a paramedical examination. Or using a no medical exam application process, companies will review various background reports to make a final decision.

Mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and depression can lead to higher premiums or coverage denial if extreme. Luckily, mild anxiety or conditions in their early stage will not trigger major alarms when applying for life insurance. For some individuals, you may be declined for coverage due to your past or current treatment for your mental condition.

Other factors the insurer will focus on to assess your situation include the following:

  • age,
  • drug or alcohol consumption levels,
  • hospitalization or medication related to your mental health condition,
  • any suicide attempts,
  • symptom severity and regularity,
  • recent symptom improvements or worsening,
  • how the condition affects your daily activities.

The insurer will also be keen on the date a health professional issued your diagnosis to understand your situation better.

What Do Insurers Consider Mental Illness in Life Insurance?

Your mental health diagnosis can either be a condition or an illness, depending on its severity. The National Alliance on Mental Illness defines mental illness as conditions that affect an individual’s thinking, behavior, feeling, or mood. Unfortunately, mental illness is not a condition you can control despite interfering with your daily living and social interactions.

Insurance companies consider the following conditions under mental health illness when assessing your situation:

  • anxiety disorders,
  • bipolar disorder,
  • depression,
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
  • borderline personality disorder (BPD),
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),
  • dissociative disorders,
  • psychosis,
  • schizophrenia,
  • schizoaffective disorder,
  • eating disorders.

These companies use a CGI-BP scale to measure the severity of your mental illness and calculate premiums.

Can I Get Life Insurance Coverage with Mental Health Diagnosis?

Most individuals who struggle with mental health disorders can qualify for insurance. However, it would help to understand that your condition may impact the terms of your coverage. It’s best to work with an independent life insurance agent, who can properly shop your health profile to a number of life insurance companies.

Nobody should suffer in silence when it comes to poor mental health. It might be tempting to leave out your mental health history and avoid high premiums, but you’ll be making a costly mistake. You always want to be honest when applying. Companies will use the Medical Information Bureau, prescription drug background checks, and other tools to make sure an applicant is not misleading them.

Disclose even the most minor medical condition when applying for life insurance to avoid finding yourself unprotected. You also risk coverage termination if the insurance company discovers you used false information when applying. Find a specialist provider for ideal coverage if you’ve had a severe and prolonged mental illness.

Do Mental Health Disorders Affect Your Life Insurance?

Individuals with mental health disorders should expect some pushback from insurance companies when applying for life insurance. It could be extended applications or higher premiums. However, denial of coverage may also take place.

You should also expect to answer a handful of questions about your diagnosis to help understand your condition better. The questions might vary between companies, but they mostly revolve around the following:

  • the time of getting a diagnosis,
  • symptoms interfering with daily functioning,
  • your hospitalization record,
  • your diagnosis’ severity rating,
  • frequency of episodes.

Some insurance firms request to see your medical history in document form and evaluations from different procedures. Depending on the findings, you might need to undergo additional medical examinations of mental health.

Crucial Considerations When Buying Life Insurance

Insurance providers have no general rule regarding life insurance for depression and anxiety. They consider each application separately, with each set parameter serving a specific role.

Treatments for mental health disorders are available, although they are expensive. Here is how the different mental health conditions impact your life insurance application:

Life Insurance for Depression

Individuals diagnosed with depression often experience a mixture of emotions, and the symptoms can develop unnoticeably. You can get life insurance with a history of depression, to ensure you have financial support in case of health emergencies.

It is standard for insurers to ask several questions about your depression diagnosis. If there are any alarming and recent symptoms, they may want to see a report from a health practitioner about your medical history and general health. Since it is part of the application and underwriting process, the insurer covers all the incurred expenses.

If there is no recent self-harm, hospital admission, suicidal thoughts, or psychiatric treatment, you can get comprehensive life insurance for depression. The insurer will require you to share your history of depression or other mental health conditions.

Insurers will also check for medical conditions like bipolar disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, PTSD, and suicide attempts more cautiously. You should provide correct information to avoid heightened premiums or unwarranted postponing.

Life Insurance for Anxiety

Anxiety disorders affect around 40 million adults and are the most common mental conditions in the US. They affect different aspects of a person’s life, from how they perform at work to their social interactions. When it comes to life insurance, anxiety disorder affects one’s viability.

Since anxiety significantly impacts mental and physical health, life insurers treat it as a life-limiting condition. Numerous studies show struggling with anxiety shortens one’s lifespan considerably. It makes getting approval for life insurance with anxiety coverage more challenging and might affect elements of your insurance policy. The same applies to treatment for ADHD.

Insurers focus on determining the likelihood of an unfortunate event of your passing away when the coverage is in effect whenever you apply for life insurance for anxiety disorder. They’ll ask you several questions regarding your health to assess the risk and undergo a medical examination on rare occasions. It is crucial to disclose all your struggles with anxiety to avoid policy cancellation.

Life Insurance for Bipolar Disorder

Struggling with bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you cannot qualify for ideal life insurance coverage. There are several life insurance bipolar coverage plans available if you need financial assistance with your condition.

Bipolar disorder primarily causes mood fluctuations from an imbalance of neurotransmitters. Although its effects significantly impact daily life, treatment options are available. Treating bipolar disorder requires a combination of therapy, psychiatric medication, and a support network to help manage the condition.

The insurance carrier will likely request additional details about your mental health condition to make your life insurance for bipolar. Oftentimes this is collected using a mental health questionnaire. The answers you provide will help categorize your situation as either mild, moderate, or severe.

Your life insurance with bipolar can have any of the following outcomes depending on the severity of the condition:

  • A premium increase of 50% to 150%, depending on stability for mild bipolar.
  • Moderate bipolar can result in either a 2-year maximum postponement or a potential premium increase of up to 150%, depending on stability.
  • Severe bipolar may result in up to a 200% premium increase depending on stability or a decline if your condition is unstable.

Most insurance providers accept individuals diagnosed with mild bipolar disorder as their condition is often under control. It would also help to note your life insurance rates will depend on your diagnosis.

Steps to Take If Denied Life Insurance Because of a Mental Health Condition

The insurance company may deny your life insurance application because of your mental health condition. It mainly occurs if your condition is severe or you have bad credit. Here are alternatives to consider if your coverage is denied.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

One financing option for your mental health needs is guaranteed issue life insurance. The coverage comes at a steeper price than traditional options and feature age restrictions. It is easier to obtain these loans as they offer close to certain approval.

Unfortunately, you can only find guaranteed issue life insurance in selected insurance providers. The maximum coverage you can get is $50,000 per company due to the high-risk assessment. It still provides a practical approach for individuals who have a mental illness to receive professional healthcare affordably.

We would like to point out that guaranteed issue life insurance should be a last resort.  Please only seek out a policy like this if you’ve exhausted all other possible life insurance options.  Whole life and term life insurance are usually options under this specific category.

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

This life insurance alternative does not require any medical exams for one to qualify for coverage. You’ll only need to answer several questions regarding your condition to ensure you get an ideal plan. It is the perfect application approach for individuals struggling with moderately severe mental illnesses.

Simplified issue life insurance is NOT a guaranteed acceptance option.  While no blood or urine testing is needed, companies will do a thorough background review.

Group Life Insurance

The most affordable alternative to consider is group life insurance. Your employer offers the policy, providing you with minimal health coverage. It would be wise to note this insurance type is dependent on your employer, and leaving the company means you lose coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Apply for Life Insurance with a Mental Health Condition?

A mental health diagnosis doesn’t mean you cannot find a life insurance policy. There are dozens of policies available; some don’t even require your health information or medical examinations. Policies like simplified life insurance allow patients to obtain coverage without a blood test, medical examination, or health assessment.

What Will Happen If I Don’t Disclose My Mental Health Condition In the Life Insurance Application?

Some individuals struggling with mental health conditions may fail to disclose their illness on their life insurance applications. Providing false information risks invalidating your insurance policy, and you may lose your insurance when you need it the most.

How to Find the Perfect Coverage for Your Mental Health Condition?

Individuals suffering from any mental health condition understand life insurance involves more than ensuring their loved ones are covered after they die. You must wait for the right time to apply for life insurance if you struggle with any mental illness. The ideal application period is when the treatment responds well for at least a year.

Conclusion

Individuals struggling with mental health disorders also qualify for life insurance. However, insurance companies must assess your condition before accepting your application. It would help to consider consulting an agent to help you find the perfect life insurance for your condition. Contact us today to get paired with an advisor.

Matt Schmidt is a nationally licensed diabetes insurance expert. Over this time frame he's helped out over 10,000 clients secure life insurance coverage with Diabetes. He's frequently authors content to Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Simple Dollar, GoBanking Rates, MSN, Insurancenews.net, and Yahoo Finance and many more.

Matt Schmidt is also the Co-Founder of Diabetes Life Solutions and Licensed Insurance agent. He’s been working with the Diabetes community for over 18 years to find consumers the best life insurance policies.  Since 2011, he has been a qualified non-member of MDRT, the most prestigious life insurance trade organization in the USA

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