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Life insurance policies & depression: 3 common questions answered

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Living with depression is one of the most difficult challenges a person can face. Even though there are good and bad days, a person who is diagnosed with one of the depressive disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) could face higher life insurance premiums. But if they’re married and have children, they need coverage and shouldn’t suffer more financially because of their mental health. To get the best deal, it’s best to research how having depression can impact your life insurance rates.

Should I tell my provider I have depression?

You may not want to disclose your mental health struggles to an insurance provider out of fear they’ll deny coverage or raise your rates. But being diagnosed with depression or receiving treatment for a psychological problem does not automatically mean you’ll be barred from coverage or have to pay more. If you’re buying life insurance because you’re contemplating suicide and want to make sure your family is taken care of, there are several things to consider.

First, planning to end your own life does not mean you have to go through with it. You can reach out to the National Suicide Lifeline 24-hours a day, seven days a week. If you are working with a therapist, call them and let them know what you’re dealing with. They aren’t going to turn you away, get you locked up or see you in a bad light. They’re here to help. Suicide is something that people with clinical depression struggle with, and life insurance providers do have to consider how your mental health may raise your risk of death. The severity of your depression and medical history will ultimately play the biggest role in how much you pay for life insurance.

Can I sell my life insurance as a senior with depression?

Senior depression is a common and treatable diagnosis, but it has a far-reaching impact on your life. You may realize that you’re paying too much for coverage or want to switch providers now that you’re older. Taking money from life insurance can also give you greater access to higher quality mental health care as therapists are expensive even with good health insurance. Don’t rush to surrender your policy right away; you can look into a life settlement to learn how to secure the best price for your policy right now.

Talk to your doctor about your mental health, and ask for a referral to a recommended psychotherapist who specializes in working with seniors. The unique challenges you face as you transition into retirement and beyond can trigger depression, but you are not forced to live with the symptoms for the rest of your life. One of your main concerns in your golden years might be how well your family will fare after you pass away. Addressing your life insurance coverage can provide a peace of mind that reduces stress and makes it easier to focus on enjoying time with the ones you love.

What if I get denied coverage because of my mental health?

In the event a provider declines coverage on the basis of your depression, you can look for a guaranteed issue policy instead. Premiums may cost more, but there are virtually no medical questions or an exam required. Employer-sponsored health insurance is also an option, and though both of these offer less coverage than a whole or term policy, they do make insurance accessible.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press