I am more amazed every day at the huge misconception there seems to be in our country about the face of bipolar disorder and what it most certainly means when it comes to trying to be approved for life insurance.

To give you a sense where most life insurance companies rate bipolar on their underwriting scale, I have worked for clients who have been declined by a company because they take Lamictal, a widely used drug for bipolar. The underwriter was assuming the person was lying when they didn’t admit to having bipolar disorder. This particular person was realizing very good results for a minor seizure disorder with Lamictal.

I just shopped for a large life insurance policy for a CEO who has bipolar disorder and was able to get several standard offers and one at standard plus. I am constantly getting calls from people who were diagnosed bipolar II 20 or 30 years ago and were never even hospitalized when they were diagnosed, or if they were then, never since then. They’ve never had a suicidal thought. They’ve never missed time from work. They’ve had stable marriages and careers. Dang it. They are CEO’s of large companies. They are doctors, dentists and attorneys. They are, like  a woman I talked to today, a very successful professional who is now a stay at home for two adopted special needs kids.

Put that in perspective. This woman would be a shoe in decline with 99% of all life insurance companies, yet in the 24 years since she was diagnosed bipolar she acquired a masters degree in education, taught for 10 years and then went through the most arduous of challenges, adopting special needs children from Russia. The only way an underwriter could decline this client is if they were completely hog tied by their companies underwriting manual and not allowed any latitude for common sense whatsoever.  This is the face of bipolar in far more instances than anyone could guess. And this face doesn’t have life insurance decline written on it.

It is the other 1%, about 20 life insurance companies, who would look at this case and not see a bipolar risk, but a better than average mortality risk. Life insurance underwriters should only hope that the average healthy 40 year old that has never even been to a doctor would be this well put together.

Bottom line. All of the mood disorders are mistreated by most of the life insurance companies. That isn’t overstated at all. But given the right agent choosing the right company it can have a happy ending. Good, affordable rates are available if you don’t just throw your application to the wind and hope for the best. If you have any questions or feel like your well controlled mood disorder has been treated unfairly, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.

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