I’ve written a lot about mood disorders, especially depression over the years. The truth is that depending on the life insurance company, any particular disorder can have an underwriting reaction that can vary all the way from preferred rate classes to declines. It can end in a logical conclusion or with the underwriter running screaming into the dark.

And let’s be real. I suspect there is a very small percentage of our population that isn’t affected by some level of depression or anxiety. Some are treated and others are living with it and there are plenty that really never can quite put a finger on why they don’t feel right. It’s a big problem in a stressful society.

So, how do the best of the underwriters treat everything from simple situational depression to ADHD to bipolar disorder? What we hope for and what I look for when presenting trial offer requests to underwriters is a person that is going to look beyond the label and truly look at the mortality risk, the real, not made up, chance that the person’s condition may affect their longevity.

Some of the underwriting follows the same pattern as say, underwriting high blood pressure. How long ago was it diagnosed? Did the issue cause problems before diagnosis? With high blood pressure that might be a TIA or stroke. With bipolar disorder it could be anything from a major manic episode to a bout with suicidal thoughts.

Was it long enough that the underwriter can see a track record that shows treatment is working? With ADHD has the client been able to stay focused enough to keep things stable on the work front? With depression has the client been compliant with treatment and is the depression controlled well enough that they can function in their family and social life?

It really comes down to the same guidelines for all mood disorders. The measure of control is really how well a person is able to function normally in everyday life. Inability to hold down a job, stay in a relationship or come out of the bedroom usually aren’t indicative of a well controlled mental state and usually don’t find favor with underwriters.

Bottom line. We place competitive, affordable policies for people with mood disorders on a regular basis. Obviously there are plenty that won’t meet that insurable threshold, but a high percentage do.