I don’t know what some life insurance companies are thinking when they rate a policy because someone was on or is on an anti depressant or anti anxiety medication due to something completely situational like a divorce, the loss of a job or a death in the family.
But, the truth is that most companies lump short term situational mood disorders in the same bale with long term chronic mood disorders. If there is current or a history of depression they will automatically bump a client to a standard rate. Some companies just swallow a bottle of stupid pills and decline an application that has any mention of mood disorders at all.
Is this fair underwriting? Is it a true reflection of the mortality risk and the mortality experience between situational and chronic mood disorders? The answer to both of those is NO! While companies are free to set their own underwriting criteria, unless there are extenuating circumstances, anything worse than a preferred or preferred plus rate for situational depression or anxiety is simply another case of the wrong agent using the wrong company at your expense.
I’ve had clients come to me after being battered by an insurance company for having taken anti anxiety medication during finals in medical school, or having taken anti depression meds after losing 3 family members in a short period of time. Let’s be real. These are reasonable times to feel anxiety and depression and it just isn’t out of line to ask your doctor for some help in getting through that period. In fact, far better to ask for help than to let the moods drag you down into a deeper, more chronic situation. Comparably, most companies don’t have a rating if your cholesterol is high and a doctor prescribes cholesterol lowering drugs.
So what to do? If you have or have had a situational mood disorder and have just needed some months or even a year of medication to smooth things out, discard any life insurance agent who quotes you standard rates or worse. Seek out an independent agent who understands the issue and has a large number of companies to shop your case to.
Bottom line. Life has its’ ups and downs and there is no mortality risk based reason for life insurance companies to beat you up because you happened to have experienced one. Find the right agent and they’ll find the right company.