As we’ve discussed many times, good life insurance rates are available if you have bipolar disorder if you meet certain criteria, underwriting guidelines. For the purposes of underwriting, while the companies may call them guidelines, assume they are rules. You are simply not going to slide by sort of meeting most of the criteria.

If I could sum up all of the criteria, it would be something like well controlled, or stable. But rather than a summary because I want people to know exactly what works and what doesn’t work going in, another review is in order. Remember that while these guidelines are pretty specific to bipolar disorder, they can be used for any mood or mental disorder including depression, anxiety disorders and attention deficit disorder.

1. No suicide attempts ever and no notations of suicidal thoughts in the last 10 years in your medical records.
2. No hospitalization for bipolar in the last 10 years other than for the purposes of diagnosis.
3. Compliant and proactive with prescribed treatment. No taking it when you feel like you need it and not taking it when you feel like you don’t. I guarantee you that it doesn’t say “as needed” on your prescription.
4. Stable family and work life. Underwriters understand that people change jobs, and unfortunately marriages don’t always work out, but inability to hold a job is different than changing jobs. A marriage not working out is different than one that is devastated by out of control bipolar.
5. You need to be able to exhibit social functionality. You can’t be on disability for bipolar. Being on disability means you are not able to function normally.
6. No drinking problems.

These criteria don’t preclude even the majority of people with bipolar disorder. To the contrary, from all I’ve learned in working with the bipolar community these criteria probably describe the majority. We have been able to successfully find the coverage that people from CEO’s to stay at home moms have needed in order to protect their families.

Bottom line. Not all companies will approve you even if you meet those criteria. Some will decline you just on the mention of bipolar disorder. That is just a quirk of the industry and the reason you should seek the assistance of an independent agent. An agent with experience in mood disorders will know what to ask, where to shop it and how to get it approved.