It’s 2011 for a little while longer and it seems that only a few life insurance companies have caught on to the fact that life in our great country is a little more stressful than it used to be.
You don’t need to look any further than the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to find out the most often prescribed class of drugs in the US are anti depressants. More than 1/3 of our country is on some kind of anti depressant/anti anxiety/anti unhappiness medication. I take Prozac and it has helped immensely in helping me to cope with the combination of being a small business owner and a victim of the US economy turning global and decidedly south. I was on Prozac a long time ago after a devastating divorce and I remember that I stayed on it longer than I probably needed to because I felt real glued together and I didn’t want to pull the cork on that.
Now there was 14 years from when I quit taking Prozac the first time and started again the second time, so it’s not like I should have just stayed on it. I guess I should get to some life insurance point about this before I get accused of being self centered. The issue I see and deal with almost every day with clients is that most companies that sell life insurance really whack you for taking medication for real life. I truly believe that if we got all of the underwriters to submit secret questionnaires we would find out that about 1/3 of them, or more, are also on some type of medication for mild or situational depression, anxiety, stress or some kind of mood disorder. I also believe that if they knew it was truly secret they would admit that mild mood disorders should not be rateable.
It used to be that if you were treated for high cholesterol it would bump you one rate class. That has become a thing of the past because underwriters agree that treated cholesterol is a good thing. The best rate class is now available with most good companies. It used to be that treatment for high blood pressure would bump you one or two rate classes. Now about half of the companies I write for allow their best rate class with hypertension treatment as long as it’s well controlled. Underwriters would rather see well controlled blood pressure than uncontrolled blood pressure.
The unfair whacking that most companies still dish out on mild mood disorder treatment, and amazingly past treatment, is not in line with the underwriting conclusions about cholesterol and blood pressure. With medically well controlled mood disorders that are really a part of everyday life in our homeland, there really is no mortality issue. Just like above it’s really quite the opposite. Far better controlled and maintained than leaving someone to swing with the moods of the world today.
It all ticks me off, but I especially don’t understand why someone who went through a stressful time, took medication for a while and then got off of it, should be rated at all. But the truth is that most companies will hold a past situational or mild bout of depression or anxiety against you even years after. The normal underwriting conclusion is a standard plus to standard rate. That’s not a whole lot different than rating someone for taking antibiotics when they have an infection. You needed it. You were prescribed it. You took it and now you’re good to go.
What I have found is a group of companies, all highly rated and competitive, that agree with my take on this issue. the relationships I have been able to create with these companies and underwriters has resulted in huge savings, especially for professional clients such as physicians, attorneys, CEO’s and executives. The reason it results in huge savings for professionals is simple math. If you need a $250,000 life insurance policy the difference in cost between, say, preferred and standard might be $200 a year. Most of the professionals I work with need anywhere from $2 million to $20 million in coverage and the difference in rate classes becomes an overpayment or savings of thousands to tens of thousands a year.
Bottom line. Based on the study I’ve done and my own client testimony I don’t think it would be out of line to say that 3 out of 4 people who are currently being treated for mild mood disorders or have been treated in the past, are paying something close to double what they need to. It gets even worse when the client is with a huge company like USAA or Northwestern Mutual. You start out with overpriced products and then get whacked and, well, the result isn’t pretty. If you believe you have been unfairly treated by a life insurance company due to truly well controlled depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD or even bipolar disorder, call or email me directly and let’s talk. Let’s start your new year with more bang for your buck.