Life Insurance Underwriting Strategies for Applicants with Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic degenerative disease of the central nervous system. The condition is diagnosed via MRI, spinal tap, or sensory nerve conduction studies.
MS is caused by the removal of the myelin sheath, a protective layer that covers nerve cells to facilitate electrical conduction. In most patients, the disease progresses slowly over the years, with initial attacks lasting several weeks, followed by complete remission, which may last months or years. Over time, attacks tend to occur more frequently and last longer. Moving about often gets more difficult after 15 – 20 years; depression, cognitive decline, and psychiatric disturbances are experienced by many patients. About 10% of MS patients experience a rapidly progressive form of the disease.
There is no treatment for MS. Medications are prescribed to manage symptoms, and often include steroids, interferon, glatiramer acetate, and medications to treat depression, spasticity, and bladder function.
Expected Underwriting Outcomes:
Individuals with suspected MS but without definitive test and with several years since a possible attack may qualify for standard rates. Early remitting and relapsing forms of the disease are rated based on age, time elapsed since the first episode, recent pattern of attacks/remissions, and level of disability. Low to moderate ratings are common. Rapidly progressive cases, or applicants with significant disability or mild cognitive impairment, often qualify for simplified or guaranteed issue coverage.
Insurer Selection is Key:
Several highly rated brand name insurers have developed specialized expertise in underwriting MS. Unfortunately, there is no one best insurer for all applicants. Therefore, it is best to gather a few key facts in advance of a formal application. Our underwriters can use that information to negotiate preliminary underwriting assessment from several insurers, identify the most aggressive carrier, and model approximate product pricing for you. You and your client can then make an informed decision on the best way forward. Answers to the questions below will enable us to identify our industry’s top solution(s) for your client.
Pre-Formal Underwriting Questions:
- What is your name:
- What is your date of birth:
- What is your gender? F ____ M ____
- What was the date of your first episode (date of diagnosis)?
- How was your MS diagnosed (brain MRI, spinal tap, evoked potentials, other)?
- How many episodes have you experienced so far?
- What was the date of your most recent episode?
- What symptoms did you experience during your most recent episode?
- Describe any residual symptoms after an attack:
- Describe any bouts of depression, cognitive decline, or other psychiatric disorder:
- Date of your most recent brain MRI (ideally please provide a copy):
- Are there any other medical conditions for which you are being treated? If so, describe:
- List any prescription medications you are taking & what you are taking them for:
- Describe any regular exercise: _________
- Do you use any form of tobacco or marijuana? If so, describe type and frequency of usage:
- How frequently to you follow-up with your healthcare provider?