As you prepare for your end-of-life expenses, burial insurance is a great option to consider. When you purchase a burial insurance policy, you leave your beneficiaries a death benefit that they can use to help pay for the cost of your final arrangements or keep as an inheritance.
Multiple sclerosis may complicate many areas of your life, but insurance does not have to be one of them. Reach out to the experts at Senior Life Services for assistance in finding a low-cost burial insurance plan that meets your coverage needs.
Burial Insurance Basics
Burial insurance is a form of permanent life insurance, meaning its coverage lasts until you pass away. When that happens, your beneficiaries receive what is called the death benefit in the form of a cash payment. They can use the death benefit however they see fit, but it is intended to help cover the costs of your funeral and cremation or burial. Most policies are smaller than typical life insurance policies, but they still cover between $10,000 and $50,000, on average.
The low premiums of burial insurance make it more affordable for people with low or fixed incomes. Term life and whole life insurance policies are much more expensive for people with existing health conditions. The relatively smaller death benefits of burial insurance make it possible for insurance companies to offer these plans at lower monthly rates.
Burial insurance is known for being one of the easier forms of life insurance to qualify for. You do not need to have a medical exam and you only need to answer a health questionnaire to apply. If you have a health condition that prevents you from being accepted for a standard policy, you can qualify for a graded or modified policy or can even sign up for a guaranteed issue policy. Guaranteed issue policies ask no health questions and have no medical underwriting. While these plans are often more expensive than your standard burial insurance policy, they offer an important benefit to people who would otherwise not receive coverage.
Multiple Sclerosis Factors that Affect Insurance
When you are applying for life insurance and have a health condition, you can expect that there are some factors that can hinder your chance of acceptance. When it comes to burial insurance, assistance with the activities of daily living, home health care, wheelchair use, and the timing of your multiple sclerosis diagnosis and treatment will affect your acceptance outcome and the plans that you should apply to.
Assistance with Activities of Daily Living
The activities of daily living (ADLs) are a set of activities defined by home health and insurance agencies to determine how well you can live independently. These include dressing, eating, bathing, taking medicine, transferring, and using the restroom, among others. Needing help with three or more of these will qualify you for home health care assistance and trigger a long-term care insurance plan to begin covering you. They also give an objective look at your state of health.
You will be asked whether you need help performing the activities of daily living when you apply for burial insurance. You may not be accepted for a first-day coverage plan if you need help with any of the ADLs. In this case, you should apply for a guaranteed issue or guaranteed acceptance policy. These plans do not perform medical underwriting, meaning they do not look at your medical history. Guaranteed issue plans are more expensive because the insurance company takes on more risk in insuring people of any health condition. The plans also come with a two-year waiting period, and your beneficiaries will receive the premiums paid plus 10% interest instead of the full death benefit if you pass away during the waiting period.
Home Health Care
Home health care is equivalent to needing assistance with activities of daily living, in the eyes of burial insurance companies. You can still receive burial insurance if you use home health care, but you will need to purchase a graded or guaranteed issue policy and go through a two-year waiting period before your beneficiaries receive the full death benefit.
If you are receiving home health care on a temporary basis, wait until it’s over to apply for a burial insurance policy.
Timing of Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis and Treatment
Your health condition, the severity of your diagnosis, and how long it has been since your multiple sclerosis diagnosis and treatment may all affect the burial insurance plan you qualify for.
For those who have had their multiple sclerosis diagnosis and last treatment occur more than 24 months prior to applying for burial insurance, their MS condition should not interfere with acceptance to a burial insurance plan. These people will qualify for a level death benefit plan with first-day coverage, meaning they don’t have a waiting period before their beneficiaries will receive the death benefit once they are accepted.
Those who have received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis within the last 24 months will find that they may be declined for level coverage by most burial insurance companies. Your condition is less predictable than those who have a long history of the condition. You can still purchase a first-day benefit plan, but you will receive coverage at a higher price.
Many people with multiple sclerosis need assistance with mobility. Patients who use a wheelchair will not be accepted for a first-day coverage burial insurance plan. If you use a wheelchair, you can qualify for a guaranteed issue policy with a two-year waiting period.
Medical Underwriting with Multiple Sclerosis
When you apply for burial insurance, you can expect that they will ask you health questions. While burial insurance and final expense are easier to qualify for than most life insurance because they do not require a medical exam, they do still have medical underwriting. This helps the insurance company to assess your risk as a client. First, they will have you fill out a health questionnaire. After you have answered the health questions, they will run a prescription history check. This will reveal whether you were not disclosing any medical conditions they should be aware of and will confirm your medical history.
Health Questions for Multiple Sclerosis
Along with questions inquiring about your history with heart conditions, stroke, cancer, depression, drug abuse, and more, there will be questions asking about multiple sclerosis. They may refer to the condition more broadly as a neuromuscular disease. Answer each health question truthfully; not doing so can impact your death benefit if the insurance company, later on, finds that you lied. You can expect questions such as the following:
- Have you ever been diagnosed with or been treated for multiple sclerosis?
- Within the last 24 months, have you had or been treated for multiple sclerosis?
- Have you ever been diagnosed as having or been treated for any neuromuscular disease?
Medications that Reveal Multiple Sclerosis
When burial insurance companies review your health history, they take the time to look over your prescription medication records. This will corroborate your answers to the health questions. If they see that you have taken medication for multiple sclerosis, the insurance company will consider you as an MS applicant, whether or not you answered that way in the health questions. The following is a list of common multiple sclerosis medications:
Burial Insurance Expected Acceptance Outcomes for Multiple Sclerosis
When you apply for life insurance with a health condition, you can expect not to be accepted by every provider. However, you still have options with burial insurance and can always apply for guaranteed issue or guaranteed acceptance plans if you are declined for a first-day coverage plan.
Full Acceptance, First Day Coverage
Some burial insurance companies will accept multiple sclerosis patients just as often as they would people without the condition. In this instance, you would receive the same first-day coverage as the rest, with the same premiums.
Higher Premiums, First Day Coverage
Some companies offset the increased risk of insuring you by charging you slightly higher premiums. You still receive the same first-day coverage with this outcome.
Higher Premiums, Graded Payout
Commonly, burial insurance companies limit your death benefit with a graded plan. These policies pay 30 – 40% of your death benefit if you pass away during the first year and will pay 70 – 80% if you die in the second year of coverage. Beyond the second year, your beneficiaries will receive the full death benefit. These graded plans will also charge you higher premiums than they charge people without multiple sclerosis.
Higher Premiums, Waiting Period (Guaranteed Issue)
Sometimes insurance companies will charge you double the monthly premium and have a waiting period of two to three years with a modified version of their burial insurance policy. If you die within those first few years, your beneficiaries will receive the amount you paid in interest plus interest of around 10%.
Guaranteed issue plans are similar to these but with substantially lower premiums. These are a good fallback option for people who have an advanced stage of MS and who would otherwise not qualify for a level or graded plan. The insurance companies will not ask health questions or check your medical history,
Some burial insurance companies will simply not accept you if you answer “yes” to the multiple sclerosis questions or have a history of diagnosis and treatment or medication. If you are declined from a level policy, turn to a graded policy. If you are not accepted by a graded policy, go to a guaranteed issue plan. You will be able to purchase burial insurance, it is only a matter of price and waiting periods.
Burial Insurance Riders
When you purchase burial insurance with MS, you might want to consider adding an insurance rider. The terminal illness add-on benefit will protect your death benefit in the event that you die as a result of a terminal illness. The nursing home care add-on benefit will help cover you if you need assistance with the activities of daily living and need to be transferred to a nursing home. Speak with your agent to decide whether an insurance rider makes sense for you.
Finding Burial Insurance with Multiple Sclerosis
Finding low-cost burial insurance with multiple sclerosis may seem difficult at first, but once you understand which plans are available and how they function, you can easily compare your options. As discussed previously, your medical history, wheelchair usage, when you were diagnosed and last had treatment, and your need for assistance with the activities of daily living can impact your ability to qualify for level coverage plans.
If you have received your diagnosis or treatment in the last two years, you can save money by going directly to a guaranteed issue policy. These plans have lower premiums than the modified burial insurance plans you might be offered elsewhere.
Your best option when you are looking for burial insurance with multiple sclerosis is likely going to be a graded plan. With reasonable premiums, these plans will increase the percentage of your death benefit from the first year into the second year, with full access after two or year years. This graded benefit will be higher than the cost of your premiums with interest, which is what you would receive from the more expensive guaranteed issue or modified plans.
When searching for burial insurance with multiple sclerosis, you can filter out plans that deny MS applicants and from there search for plans that make the most sense for your coverage needs and budget.
Senior Life Services is here to assist you with your burial insurance search. Give us a call today to set up an appointment and go over your options.