This post was originally written October 2017, rewritten and added to May 2020
Is USAA Really Working Hard For You?
I was reminded that morning three years ago just how wrong a life insurance company can be on mood disorder underwriting. I am well aware, having gone through some difficult mental health issues myself, that there are times when a higher rate is appropriate, but when USAA kicks a well controlled case of ADHD all the way to their standard rate, well, they aren’t really working hard for you.
In this case USAA didn’t underwrite anything. They just took the diagnosis some 15 years ago of ADHD and left the dots unconnected between that diagnosis and a highly successful surgeon who is completely unaffected by the disorder. While life insurance has taken a step back from 5 years ago when the best rate class was available, with excellent control, for almost all mood disorders, very few have taken a step back on ADD and ADHD. USAA didn’t have to take a step back. They have never done what is known as clinical underwriting so they underwrite the diagnosis with no offset for a client that is truly not being held back by their diagnosis.
I recognize that clinical underwriting of life insurance is a little more work than just matching a rate class to a diagnosis, but it’s the fair thing to do. Two people with depression diagnosed at the same time and taking the same medication can be living very different lives because of the depression. There is a huge difference between coping with depression and winning the war. What you pay for life insurance should reflect that. The one that takes their medication and feels very little affect from the depression shouldn’t pay the same rate as someone who still struggles with the depression and whose life is very much affected by it. USAA ignores that not so subtle difference because of the extra work it takes to weigh the difference in the two cases.
Is USAA Really Who They Claim They Are?
Each time USAA mistreats one of their family (Military, veterans and family), it flies in the face of their portrayal of being “the only company you will need for life”. When those customers (family) turn to me and find out the truth, well, how do you feel when you’ve been mistreated? I am currently working for a medically retired Marine who was declined by USAA for doing exactly what he should have done. The injuries he suffered in Afghanistan that led to his retirement also led to years of pain medication use. Several months ago he told his doctor he was tired of painkillers and wanted to get off of them. To that end his doctor prescribed Suboxone which he will take for up to a year.
USAA treated this retired marine as an addict and declined him. The man suffered injuries in a heroic act and, in another heroic act, told his doctor no more pain medication. We are well on our way to getting him approved so he can have life insurance for his wife and 4 children. Apparently, USAA is NOT the only company you will need for life.
Call me cynical, but when I see a mega-rich life insurance company cutting corners at their client’s expense and spending bazillions on advertising to convince you that they are all you and all of your family will ever need, well, it makes me wonder what other corners are being cut. In the real world of life insurance, whether it is ADHD, depression or or weaning off of pain medication, good control and good decisions should pave the way to good rates.
Bottom line. If you feel like you’ve received a bad deal on your ADHD life insurance and they say it’s due to your mood disorder that is so well controlled that it doesn’t negatively affect your life at all, time for a second opinion. If you have questions or want to run your situation by me to see if I can turn things around, call or email me. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.