The most recent annual statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health asserts 16.2 Million American adults experience depression.
In fact, the figures for adults over age 50 with depression totaled around 777,000 people.
Depression is a mood disorder that comes in various forms and presents itself for many reasons.
The majority of American adults have, at some point in their lives, experienced at least two weeks of a depressive episode.
It is safe to say that most of these individuals have secured an affordable life insurance despite having depression.
Therefore, you should not be overly concerned that a bout of depression will keep you from securing your family’s financial future.
Let’s go over what you should expect when applying for senior life insurance.
Possible Outcomes for Those Over 50 with a History of Depression
Life insurance carriers will review all facets of your medical history, including your depression diagnosis.
The life insurer will use all the tools they can to assess your overall risk and then decide what rate class they can approve you for.
Each applicant’s profile will be unique to them and each individual is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
However, I am still able to give you a general guideline as to what rating you may receive.
Let’s check out a few possible outcomes.
Preferred Rate (Best Pricing): You may qualify for this category if your depression is very mild or well-controlled, your family doctor (not a psychiatrist) prescribed you one medication as treatment, and you have no other high risk factors.
Standard Rate (Average Pricing): You may fall into this rate class if you have depression, take more than 1 – 3 medications, and receive therapy from a psychiatrist.
If you have no suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts, no hospitalizations, and no electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for the last 10 years and meet the above criteria then anticipate a possible Standard Rating.
Sub-Standard, aka Table Rating (Below Average Pricing): You may if you have be table rated if you have severe depression with significant symptoms.
You may also receive a Table Rating if you are currently taking 4 or more medications to treat your depression.
You may be approved with a Table Rating if you visited the Emergency Room within the last 2 years because of your depression.
Depending on the insurance company, you could possibly secure a Table 4 Rating even if you have attempted suicide within the last 5 years.
Rule of Thumb: Each of the typical 16 Table Rating levels represents approximately a 25% premium increase above the Standard Rate.
If you cannot work because of your depression, you should expect to be declined for traditional life insurance coverage.
Or if you have attempted suicide within the last few years then you will probably be declined coverage as well.
Even if the worst case scenario happens and your application is declined, there are always options like guaranteed acceptance life insurance.
This type of life insurance coverage will still provide the sense of security you are seeking and you can avoid the traditional medical underwriting process.
The biggest downside to a guaranteed acceptance final expense plan is the costly premium. The other downside is most companies will only offer $25,000 of coverage.
I’m happy to explain these coverage options with you if need be. However, they should be considered only as a last resort.
Applying for Life Insurance Over 50 with Depression
Here’s how it works…
First Step – Answer Application Questions Honestly
Don’t forget to share everything, even if it is uncomfortable! Skipping out on details here and there to try securing a good rating will only backfire.
All insurance companies do very thorough investigations and they will appreciate your honesty.
Your family will be glad you told the entire truth too! This is because your policy will have a contestability period which allows the insurer to investigate any deaths within the initial 2 years of the coverage.
If the insurance company finds evidence of fraudulent answers, they have the power to reduce the death benefit or deny the claim completely.
Second Step – Basic Application Questions
These are the easiest of all the application questions so no worries!
- What is your age?
- What is your current height and weight?
- Are you married or single?
- What is your occupation?
- Do you enjoy any dangerous activities (i.e. mountain climbing or piloting)?
- What is your family’s health history?
- Do you participate in foreign travel? If so, where?
- How frequently do you drink alcohol?
- What is your driving history?
- Do you have any criminal history?
- Do you use illegal drugs?
- Do you use tobacco?
Tobacco users often pay at the very least DOUBLE the premium of a non-smoking peer.
Third Step – Application Questions about Depression
Now we are getting to the meat of your application. This is where you will need to share all the specifics about your depression.
The life insurer will use your answers and all the other facts they gather to determine what rate class they can approve you for.
Most insurance carriers will ask the following:
- When you were initially diagnosed?
- Is your condition considered mild, moderate, or severe?
- What medication(s) do you take and what is the dosage?
- How long have you been taking the prescribed medication(s)?
- Is the medication creating a positive impact on your depression?
- Have you made any changes in medication since your initial diagnosis?
- Have you also been treated with ECT?
- How often you see your doctor about your depression?
- Do you visit with a psychiatrist? Have you ever visited a psychiatrist?
- Have you ever been hospitalized because of your depression?
- If you have been hospitalized, how long was your stay? What was the outcome?
- Do you have any thoughts of suicide?
- Have you ever attempted suicide? If so, when?
- Do you have any other mental disorders besides depression?
- Are you disabled because of your depression?
- Have you abused drugs or alcohol because of your depression?
- What other types of chronic medical conditions do you have?
Fourth Step – Possible Medical Exam
Traditional life insurance plans will necessitate a medical exam too unless you are applying for no medical exam life insurance.
The life insurance company will schedule a qualified medical specialist (usually a nurse) to visit your home and complete a general medical exam.
The nurse will collect blood and urine samples, as well assess your vital signs including height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse.
The insurance company will include all the results from this medical exam in their review of your application.
The life insurer will also collect copies of your medical records, prescription history, and driving record. This is all an effort to get an accurate depiction of your risk level.
Lower the risk, the better your rate.
Fifth Step – Preparing for Your Insurance Application
I highly recommend you properly prepare for your life insurance application.
Taking these actions will make the process move much smoother and help you secure the best rate class possible.
If that sounds good to you, then read on for more tips!
- Prepare a list of ALL your prescribed medications and the dosage amount
- Write down your doctor’s contact information
- Talk to you doctor’s office to make sure they are aware you are applying for life insurance and will need copies of all medical reports
- Be sure the cause of your depression is listed accurately in your medical records
- Make sure there is documentation regarding any changes in your medications or dosages
- Follow-up on all scheduled doctor visits
- Tell your agent of any extra steps you take to improve your overall health such as following a healthy diet and exercising regularly
- If you are no longer a tobacco user, you’ll want to be sure your medical records indicate this change
Last Step – Get Your Life Insurance
It is possible to obtain a quality life insurance protection policy regardless of your age or your depression diagnosis.
So you should not hesitate to lock-in this important financial security for your loved ones.
As you may recall, a reported 777,000 seniors over age 50 experience depression during the course of one year.
In fact, for seniors like yourself it can be even more common than we realize.
You see, many individuals at mid-life or older will develop serious medical illnesses like cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, or diabetes.
These ailments may require medication that includes side effects such as depression.
So you are not alone in your experience being over 50 with depression!
It’s important to talk to an experienced insurance agent that is familiar with high risk applications. This way you can feel confident the agent is able to answer all your questions, guide you to the best carrier and policy, and service all your future needs too.
I can help you get the best insurance for you and your loved ones. Give me a call today. Your family will thank you!