Life insurance with epilepsy and treated with medical marijuana isn’t always a challenge. In many cases, it can go smoothly. More patients are treating epilepsy with cannabis. More life insurance companies are coming to virtually ignore the medical cannabis aspect of the application. They’re more interested in the medical condition.
Medical marijuana itself does not affect life insurance rates. Companies want to know about the condition it’s treating. Epilepsy presents underwriting challenges because the severity, frequency, and type of seizures vary so widely between patients.
It’s possible to avoid a rating on a life insurance policy with epilepsy, but more severe cases can receive table ratings or even a decline. Scroll down to see how life insurance companies look at different circumstances.
How Does Medical Cannabis Affect Life Insurance Rates?
The trick with medical marijuana is to apply with a cannabis-friendly life insurance company. These companies will not penalize you for your treatment methods. In fact, companies who underwrite people taking cannabis for medical reasons aren’t that interested in the cannabis.
They are more interested in why your doctor prescribed it in the first place. It’s your medical records which the life insurance company will want to examine.
The one caveat to this guideline is if you take the medication by smoking. Some companies will charge smoker rates if you smoke every day, even the marijuana-friendly ones. However, edibles, tinctures, and balms are all fine.
The other important note is the balance of CBD to THC in your medication. If it’s 100% CBD, the THC won’t show up on the life insurance drug test.
How to Save Money on Life Insurance with Epilepsy
There are a few simple ways anyone can save money on life insurance with epilepsy and cannabis treatment.
Calculate the Amount of Life Insurance You Need
Using a life insurance needs calculator allows you to see exactly how much life insurance your family needs. It’s a precise tool. If you feel like it’s too much, you can choose which parts are most important to you. Therefore they’re also the most critical parts to insure.
The old way of thinking was to multiply your annual income by a number between 3 and 7, depending on who you ask. Although you occasionally see someone recommending 20 times your annual salary.
With all the different guesstimates, it’s easier to use use a calculator. That way you can take every factor into account and have the peace of mind that you cannot be oversold.
Apply with a Cannabis-Friendly Life Insurance Company
There are only about a dozen cannabis-friendly life insurance companies at the time of writing this. More are joining the ranks every year as they review the medical research and more states repeal marijuana prohibition.
These life insurance companies will not automatically decline you for either medical or recreational cannabis consumption. Some are friendlier than others depending on your method of consumption and frequency.
Get Quotes from an Independent Agent
There are two types of life insurance agents in the United States, captive and independent. Although to be fair, call center agents are somewhat of a hybrid of the two.
Captive agents work for an insurance company. You know them by the big, life insurance company sign over their door. They can only sell products from that company.
The issue with single company shopping, even if they have a ton of products, is that they only have one set of underwriting guidelines. If that company overcharges for epilepsy or cannabis consumption, then you just pay more for life insurance.
Call center agents work with a handful of companies. So that may give you a few more options, but they have quotas, and other people handle any customer service issues. Still, a few options are better than one.
Independent agents work for their clients. They are there to help you find the best deal with any company they choose to work with, and they’re there to help you after you get a policy. Independent agents can immediately throw out the companies who will overcharge you. They can help you compare the best rates from the remaining contenders.
With over 850 life insurance companies operating in the country, that’s a lot of options.
Be Forthcoming with Your Medical Information
It can be hard to discuss personal information with someone you don’t know. But it is essential with life insurance to be upfront with any pre-existing medical conditions. Insurance companies will find out during underwriting if you have any sort of medical history.
When you tell your agent up front, they can choose the companies who are the most likely to offer you the best deal. They’re there to help you navigate all the decisions.
This way, you aren’t surprised by an offer that comes back twice as expensive as you thought it would be.
Take (and Prepare for) the Life Insurance Medical Exam
You can get no-exam policies. They’re a convenient option for most people under 55. However, because the insurance company gets less insight into your overall health, they charge more for these policies.
If you choose a policy with the medical exam, it will be less expensive.
If you prepare for the medical exam, you might even be able to tip the scales in your favor and get a better health class. Each jump into a lower health class adds 25% to your premiums. So if you are right on the fence and have a great agent to try and sway the underwriter, two weeks of drinking enough water and eating leafy greens can save you hundreds of dollars. Maybe even save you thousands.
Of course, talk to your doctor about making any changes to diet or exercise. Your good health is the whole point of the preparation.
Remember that You Can Reassess Rates
Life insurance companies have specific guides to how many years must elapse since your last seizure for the best rates. You may be able to get a better health class if you wait for life insurance for a few years, but then you’ll be a few years older and pay more anyway.
The best thing to do in this situation is to get the insurance as young as possible. Next, if you go a few more years without a seizure, then ask your agent to see if it would make sense to reassess your rates.
Your agent will get in contact with your life insurance company and see if the underwriter is willing to look at your current medical records and potentially lower your rates. Many life insurance companies will do this. However, the only way to be sure is to ask when you apply.
Term Costs Less Than Permanent
It’s no secret. Term is cheaper. It can be less than a tenth of what a permanent policy costs. Most Americans will still buy a permanent life insurance policy anyway.
To see which type of policy is right for you, look at your reasons for life insurance. Term insurance is excellent for covering working years, paying off a mortgage, or making sure the kids grow up financially stable.
Permanent life insurance makes more sense for estate planning or leaving money to loved ones.
You can even get term policies with conversion options. These last for 10, 20, or 30 years, then you can turn it into a permanent policy. Although you will have to pay premiums at a new rate once you convert. The great part is that you keep your health class.
Underwriting Life Insurance with Epilepsy
Your life insurance premiums will depend on how your epilepsy affects you. The type and frequency of seizures will determine if any other ratings apply. If you are taking medical marijuana for epilepsy, you need to disclose this to the underwriter, but it won’t affect your rating with a cannabis-friendly company.
If your condition is limited to petite mal, myoclonic, or absence, and the last seizure was over 2 years ago, you can qualify for a standard rating.
If you’ve had a seizure within the past two years, you will still qualify in most cases. However, it will be a table rating. The table rating will depend on both your other health factors and the details of the seizure.
For more severe seizures, underwriters will look at applications on a case by case basis.
If you experience multiple seizures a year, then you may still qualify at a sub-standard rating. Occasionally frequent seizures get declined. For example, if you experience a seizure once every three months, a decline is likely. Underwriters also reject applications if you are having seizures resulting from a brain tumor.
There are still options for life insurance, even if you don’t qualify for traditional policies.
What Questions Will Underwriters Ask?
The best way to tell which health class an underwriter will assign you is to give all the pertinent information to your insurance agent. They can take a look and use their experience to see which companies are the most likely to offer you the best rates. Your agent can also pre-screen your application to get a tentative health class from an underwriter before you go to all the effort to apply.
Have the answers to the following questions handy since they’ll play a large part in determining your health class.
- Date of diagnosis
- Type of epileptic seizures
- Is your condition mild, moderate, or severe?
- Date of last seizure and type
- Frequency of seizures
- Is the duration longer than 30 minutes?
- What type of treatment have you received?
- What medications are you currently taking?
- Have you had any surgeries related to your epilepsy?
The insurance company will also want to know how your epilepsy affects your ability to work and perform regular daily activities.
This information, combined with your overall health, age, tobacco use, family history, and driving record will determine your health class.
Life Insurance Where Everyone Gets Approved
Guaranteed issue is a type of life insurance that will automatically approve everyone who applies. The minor caveat is they must be within the age range for the policy.
Guaranteed issue life insurance works as a last resort option for families who need the life insurance to cover burial expenses and any final debts, like medical bills. The benefit amounts are lower than traditional life insurance. The premiums are also higher since the insurance company approves everyone.
Where the low end of a traditional policy might be $50,000, guaranteed issue policies max out around $25,000. The benefits are also limited until you’ve held the policy for a couple of years.
For example, if you pass away within the first year of holding the policy, then your beneficiary will only receive 110% of the premiums paid to that point. Once you’ve kept the policy for at least 12 months, companies pay between 60% and 80% of the total death benefit. In most cases, once you’ve held the policy for two full years, then the company will pay your beneficiary the entire death benefit if you pass away after that point.
Graded benefits, as the industry calls them, help prevent the company from going bankrupt from too many people passing away within a year of taking out the policy. You family also gets back more than they paid in.
Epilepsy quickly complicates life insurance applications based on the type of seizures and frequency. For minor, infrequent seizures, you may not have any extra premiums added to your policy. More severe cases can range from table ratings to declines.
It’s best to get your medical information together ahead of time and talk to your life insurance agent about your options.
How Marcan Insurance Can Help
Our goal is to help medical marijuana patients find life insurance from companies who won’t penalize them for their medications. We also help recreational smokers, and people who work in the cannabis industry find life insurance from cannabis-friendly companies.
New research is slowly coming out on the medical benefits of cannabis. The life insurance industry is gradually changing to accommodate that new information. We’re here to keep on top of those industry changes to make sure families pay as little for life insurance as possible.
If you have any questions or want to explore options for life insurance with epilepsy and medical marijuana, give us a call at (888) 987-8447. Everything is confidential, and there is never any obligation to buy.