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Shopping for life insurance with ALS or another pre-existing condition can be difficult. Life insurance companies across the country all view high-risk medical conditions differently and your ability to qualify for coverage depends on a variety of factors. Fortunately, we cover how to shop for guaranteed acceptance life insurance for pre-existing conditions, including ALS.
So what can you expect with this article?
We are going to discuss ALS in-depth and how it affects your ability to receive life insurance protection. By the end of this guide, you will know how ALS affects your ability to qualify for coverage, what a life insurance agent will look for during the application, what graded period to expect and if there’s an opportunity for non-guaranteed issue coverage.
What You’ll Learn
Before you read any further, rest assured that even with ALS you can receive a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. The main benefit of this type of insurance is that you cannot get turned down, even with a pre-existing condition like ALS.
About ALS, or Lou Gerhig’s Disease
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a high-risk progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Individuals with ALS will have difficulty breathing as the muscles of the respiratory system weaken. They eventually lose the ability to breathe on their own and must depend on a ventilator. Affected individuals also face an increased risk of pneumonia during later stages of the disease. Besides muscle cramps that may cause discomfort, some individuals with ALS may develop painful neuropathy (nerve disease or damage).
There are two types of ALS according to ALSA.org.
- Sporadic: the most common form that affects up to 95% of people with ALS. Sporadic means it happens sometimes without a clear cause.
- Familial ALS (FALS): this type runs in families. About 5% to 10% of people with ALS have this type and is caused by changes to a gene. If one parent has the gene for ALS, each child has a 50% chance of getting it and having the disease.
Facts To Know About ALS
In the United States, a little over 6,000 people are diagnosed each year, 60% of which are men. Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, but it has been known to affect people in their 20’s and 30’s.
After diagnosis, about half of people live at least three or more years. Twenty percent live five years or more and up to 10 percent will live more than 10 years. There is some evidence that people with ALS are living longer, at least partially due to clinical management interventions, riluzole and possibly other compounds and drugs under investigation.
No cure has yet been found for ALS. However, there are treatments available that can help control symptoms, prevent unnecessary complications, and make living with the disease easier.
Types of ALS Life Insurance Coverage
If you’re in the market for the most comprehensive life insurance coverage possible, a full medical examination is required. When we’re looking at ALS, a disease that typically shortens the lifespan of those it afflicts and has no known cure, insurance carriers will decline coverage. As of today, this is across all life insurance carriers that offer fully underwritten insurance products.
In order to qualify for the most comprehensive life insurance coverage, a medical exam is required. With ALS, since the disease tends to shorten a person’s lifespan and is currently incurable, carriers will decline coverage. This is the case with 100% of life insurance carriers that offer fully underwritten coverage.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance for People with ALS
However, there are policies, like high-risk guaranteed issue life insurance that do not require medical exams. With guaranteed issue life insurance, a person with a pre-existing condition will not have to answer any medical questions or have their medical history looked into. It is by far the most simple and unobtrusive way to receive insurance coverage today.
The main features of a guaranteed issue life insurance policy for people with ALS include:
- Zero medical or health questions and no exams
- Fixed amount premiums each month
- Guaranteed acceptance, no matter what
- Death benefits are guaranteed
- An accrual of cash value
- No expiration date
The Graded Period for Life Insurance with ALS
You may be wondering how a person with a serious pre-existing condition like ALS can receive life insurance protection. Like all other high-risk medical conditions that receive no questions coverage, it is because of the mandatory graded period.
The graded period is a two-year period of time from the day a policy is in-force that the insured must survive before the policy amount is guaranteed. If you or the insured passes away within the graded period, the premiums paid to-date plus interest will be paid to the beneficiaries. The amount of interest that your beneficiaries receive is dependent on the carrier you’re insured by. The average amount is 10%, meaning they will receive 110% of the premiums paid up till the time of death.
The exception is if death is caused by some form of accident and not from natural causes (such as ALS). If that’s the case, then the full policy amount will be paid.
Why Non-Guaranteed Life Insurance is Not Available for ALS Patients
As mentioned, the average life expectancy from the time of diagnosis is under five years. Unfortunately, this means that no other type of life insurance coverage protection is available to those with ALS except guaranteed issue.
If you’ve been recently diagnosed, it 100% makes sense to get a guaranteed acceptance life insurance policy as soon as possible. There is urgency with this high-risk condition because of the mandatory graded period, so it is advised you begin working through that as soon as possible. There is a good chance if you’ve been recently diagnosed that you’ll outlive the two year period and your loved ones will receive the full policy amount.
Keep in mind, if you do purchase a guaranteed acceptance policy and pass away within the first two years, they’ll still receive financial support. Your beneficiaries will get ~110% of the premiums paid to date (depending on which carrier you are insured with). No matter what, this is one of the best return on investments you can receive anywhere with your money.
How to Apply for Life Insurance with ALS
If you have ALS, you are considered a high-risk life insurance shopper. This status does make it more complicated to shop without the help of an expert. It is in your best interest to work with an agency that represents multiple carriers and can help you find the right life insurance policy for you. Most likely, you will be qualified for a guaranteed acceptance policy. However, not all policies are created equal and one carrier or guaranteed issue product may be better for you over another.
Working with an independent agency will give you access to a wealth of information on how ALS affects insurability and which carriers make the most sense for your age, state, goals, and budget.
To us, this is the best way to protect the future of your family.
Working with Guaranteed Issue Life
Guaranteed Issue Life is an independent agency that works directly with clients to find the best insurance solutions for them. Our combined experience and breadth of knowledge make us a trusted partner during this important shopping process. When you work with us, you will receive a dedicated agent that is licensed in your state and knowledgeable on ALS. We will facilitate an application for you, free of charge, and answer any questions you have along the way.
If you’d like to move forward and secure an affordable life insurance policy today, give us a call! A member of our team looks forward to speaking with you. Need more time? That’s okay too. You can run an instant quote on this page using your attained age.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article on life insurance coverage with ALS. We look forward to working with you soon!