It is estimated anywhere between 4 Million to 10 Million Americans are currently living with the chronic and complicated pain syndrome known as Fibromyalgia.
This illness is frequently debilitating and, unfortunately, there is no available cure at this time. In addition, Fibromyalgia comes on mysteriously and the specific cause is often unknown.
The one silver lining for Fibromyalgia sufferers: as you probably know since you are reading this article, this syndrome will not directly cause death nor will it decrease your long-term life expectancy.
Furthermore, those with Fibromyalgia are often able to successfully treat and control the condition through a variety of strategies, including medications and alternative therapies.
Although Fibromyalgia is understood to be life altering, it does not preclude most seniors from finding excellent life insurance policies. Of course, working with an experienced life insurance agent, will make the process so much better.
If you are shopping for 50+ life insurance with Fibromyalgia, welcome to the right place for important tips on getting affordable coverage for your needs.
The first pro tip I can share is that life insurers are well educated on Fibromyalgia and how it impacts your overall health.
At the same time, life insurers also know that Fibromyalgia is not a huge concern when it comes to higher mortality rates.
In my experience, the insurance carrier will place more consequence on other areas of your life insurance application.
Each of these elements can have a potentially higher impact on your life insurance rating and premium amount.
I’m here to make sure you are prepared for the application process and find the best life insurance policy to protect your loved ones.
Our pro tips will take away a lot of the fear and worry about buying life insurance with Fibromyalgia. Please give these tips a read and the feel free to give me call.
Why wait one more day to protect your loved ones from losing the financial security you’ve worked so hard to provide all these years?
Tip #1 – Defining Life Insurance Ratings
You may be wondering: “What IS a life insurance rating? Why does it even matter?”
The answer is pretty simple. The life insurer will evaluate your application and then assign a rating category.
These rating categories correspond to the premium you will be charged for the life insurance coverage.
So if you want to pay less for life insurance, then you would hope for the best rating possible.
I put together a general cheat sheet for typical Ratings Classes:
|Rating Class||Reason For Rating||Premium Costs|
|Preferred Plus||Healthiest, Lowest Risk Applicants||$|
|Preferred||Very Healthy, Low Risk Applicants||$$|
|Standard||Average Health, Perhaps a controlled medical condition||$$$|
|Sub-Standard (aka Table Rating)||Chronic Illness (Moderate to Severe)||$$$$$|
“Table Ratings” usually fall into one of up to 16 different rankings below a “Standard” rate class. Table ratings generally start with A or 1, B or 2, and so on.
Most life insurers will charge 25% more per each Table Rating assignment. Of course, the percentage can differ from carrier to carrier.
Let’s take a look at how the designated rating classes impacts an applicant’s premium costs.
Case Study: Stanley applies for an over 50 life insurance plan. The average (or “Standard”) premium for this insurance plan is $64 per month.
After reviewing Stanley’s application, the insurer decides his different health conditions make him a slightly higher risk than his peers.
So the insurance company approves Stanley at a 2/B “Table Rating”. This means Stanley’s monthly cost will be about 50% higher than the average (“Standard”) premium.
So, in this scenario, Stanley will pay about $96 in monthly life insurance premium.
My tip to you is that your overall insurance rating will be based on all your personal details and not just your Fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Tip #2 – Better Controlled Fibromyalgia Means A Better Rating
In my years of working with seniors managing Fibromyalgia, I’ve found that the rate class someone is approved for is directly impacted by the severity of the chronic pain syndrome.
I also see this with most other chronic health conditions.
Rule of thumb: the better controlled your illness then the better your rating.
Check out the below breakdown of how Fibromyalgia is often rated by the majority of life insurers.
Fibromyalgia Ratings Explained
Mild Fibromyalgia: Your condition is under good control. You follow all of your rheumatologist’s recommendations, regularly attend doctor appointments, and are not on any prescription drugs. You may control your pain by taking over-the-counter medications like Advil or Aleve.
You still work or volunteer full-time. Your lifestyle if fairly active and you do not need physical assistance to get through your day.
A “Standard” Rating and possibly a “Standard Plus”is frequently assigned to those seniors with Mild Fibromyalgia.
Moderate Fibromyalgia: You do have chronic pain which occasionally affects your work and personal commitments.
Perhaps you take a low dose medication to treat your Fibromyalgia symptoms such as Cymbalta (duloxetine) or Lyrica (pregabalin).
You may also use a pain medication like Ultram (tramadol) and/or a muscle relaxer like Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine).
You regularly visit with your rheumatologist for assistance in managing your Fibromyalgia symptoms. Perhaps you also make a point of working with a Pain Management Specialist.
Moderate Fibromyalgia generally results in a “Sub-Standard (Table Rating)”.
I’ve found that most people with Moderate Fibromyalgia are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. So each applicant will receive a different Table Rating level.
Rarely is an individual in this category completely declined for coverage altogether.
Severe Fibromyalgia: Despite your best efforts, chronic pain is not under control. You take high doses of Lyrica, Savella, or Ultram.
You have depressive episodes because of your chronic ailment and its negative impact on your lifestyle.
You are not able to work and may be considered disabled.
Perhaps your Fibromyalgia is so severe that you are unable to independently complete Activities of Daily Living (ADL) including bathing, feeding, and showering.
In my expereience a variety of outcomes may occur for those over 50 with severe Fibromyalgia.
I have witnessed those with Severe Fibromyalgia receive a Sub-Standard (Table Rating), complete Decline, or the addition of a Flat Extra to the policy premium.
What’s a Flat Extra?
In case you are wondering, a Flat Extra is a surcharge of, let’s say, $5 to $10 per $1,000 in coverage. This Flat Extra will be applied by the life insurer for a set amount of time.
Once the designated time period has passed then you would pay the basic premium amount, without the extra charges.
Insurance companies sometimes use a Flat Extra when the applicant is trying to get a health condition under control. This gives the individual time to do so while still protecting the insurance company from the additional risk.
Give me a call today and we can discuss your specific experience with Fibromyalgia and what rating may be assigned.
Tip #3 – Prepare for These Application Questions
Your life insurance shopping will all begin with the application. That’s the true foundation of your life insurance rating and premium.
We will work with you one-on-one in preparing your application answers.
The below tip is simply to give you a better idea of what to expect when someone with Fibromyalgia applies for life insurance.
10 Application Questions about Fibromyalgia
- What date were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
- How old were you at the time of your Fibromyalgia diagnosis?
- What medications do you take?
- How much discomfort or pain are you in on the Pain Scale of 1 – 10?
- Are you able to independently complete Activities of Daily Living (ADL)?
- Are you employed?
- How frequently do you use alcohol?
- Do you use any illegal drugs?
- If you are employed, does your Fibromyalgia cause you to miss work?
- If yes, how many days per year do you miss because of your illness?
TIP: insurance companies generally assume the longer you’ve had Fibromyalgia then the more negative side effects you will experience as a result – making you a higher risk
5 Basic Application Questions for Life Insurance
- What is your family health history?
- What is your height/weight ratio?
- What hobbies do you actively participate in on a regular basis?
- What pre-existing medical conditions do you currently manage, besides Fibromyalgia?
- What medications do you take for those additional chronic health issues?
TIP: Insurance companies understand Fibromyalgia tends to be accompanied by other health problems such as depression, anxiety, and migraines.
The Smoking Question
- Do you smoke cigarettes?
- If you are a former cigarette smoker, how long ago did you kick the habit?
- Has it been more than 12 months since your last cigarette?
- Do you use other tobacco products such as cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, or e-cigarettes?
- If so, how often do you do so?
TIP: You must be cigarette-free for a minimum of 12 consecutive months to receive “non-smoker” insurance rates. If you are instead approved for “smoker” rates then expect to pay at least TWICE as much in insurance premiums.
However, there are exceptions with some companies for people that use various other forms of tobacco such as chewing tobacco and cigars.
Get Insured ASAP, Like Your Life Depended On It
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fibromyalgia is an ailment that causes chronic, widespread pain and stiffness, as well as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and emotional distress. It is a mysterious disorder that has an unspecified cause and no real solution.
Millions of senior men and women, just like you, are living with Fibromyalgia. Some have remain active and hopeful while others may be disabled and depressed.
I’ve worked with the entire spectrum of these over 50 Fibromyalgia sufferers and can assure you life insurance is still possible.
Let’s figure out together which life insurance policy will accommodate your personal health history while still providing the financial resources your family needs.
I look forward to speaking to you and helping you protect your family.