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Life Insurance

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Barefut,

I've looked into it and have done the preliminary thing on the Internet where you answer a questionnaire and it returns a quote from several companies. Because I have to check "heart problems", the quote always comes back sky high.

 

I did find this information about life insurance and scleroderma here on ISN. Check it out. It's quite interesting.

 

Big Hugs,


Janey Willis

ISN Support Specialist

(Retired) ISN Assistant Webmaster

(Retired) ISN News Director

(Retired) ISN Technical Writer for Training Manuals

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Barefut,

 

I have carried life insurance for years, before I was diagnosed. I have been meaning for years to up it, but just kept it on the back burner. Unfortunately, I tried to up it after being diagnosed and was not able to get any on my own. However, I am in a small business that employs 10 people. We were able to get life insurance through the business, without exams or medical hx's being required. However, we were limited in the amount we could get. It is not as much as I wanted, but it sure is better than nothing. Unfortunately, for those diagnosed with diffuse, I have been told by an insurance agent the only way to get it is through an employer sponsored plan. Good luck.

 

Dave

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Hi Barefut,

 

I found it extremely discouraging trying to get life insurance coverage after my term life insurance expired. I couldn't even get an insurance agent who would agree to even try to get me coverage at less than the uninsurable rates. Finally, Steve Kobrin worked on my case and it took some doing, but eventually he was able to find a company that would accept me.

 

He was also kind enough to eventually post a web page for us to describe how to get life insurance when you have scleroderma.

 

I should warn you that it is necessary to believe and follow all his instructions for getting coverage, as outlined on his webpage. You can't even try to hold anything back regarding medical history or medications, since they request your medical records. It's rather dismal to see everything they end up documenting. But you can also sell them on the idea that you have some advantages....such as if you have been sick for many years, you can point out how now you are stable; that numerous surgeries or medications have fixed many problems; that, for example, you may have lung fibrosis in both bases but your PFT's are still pretty good.

 

It's very worthwhile to mention how well you are still functioning despite everything. For example, even if you are disabled, it's worthwhile to point out that you are still as active as possible and work or do volunteer work for so many hours per month. That you enjoy hobbies. That you have a positive outlook.

 

I used everything that was in my favor, including the fact that people with more than one autoimmune disease have a better overall prognosis than someone with only scleroderma. I emphasized my good health habits, even though I am prohibited from doing aerobic exercise, and my regular medical care. I pointed out how I was on far fewer medications than a few years earlier, and that I was taking medications that were believed to be effective for controlling my illness.

 

I'm trying to say, you can't hide the facts, but you can put a positive spin on everything that speaks well for your case, even if it seems like quite a stretch! Even with that, the vast majority of insurance agents will not take on a challenge like this. So don't even bother with agents who don't bother with difficult cases.

 

Steve seems to think it's fun to try to insure people who are otherwise considered uninsurable. However, I should caution that he was unable to insure my husband for less than the exhorbitant rates, because he had just been listed for a lung transplant, which is a very risky and often fatal procedure in itself. So don't get your hopes too high, but don't be so discouraged as to not even ask, either.


Warm Hugs,

 

Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

 

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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Hi Folks,

 

I'm Steve Kobrin. I have had the pleasure of helping some of our forum members get life insurance. Please let me thank Shelley publically for her kind words.

 

As we all interact I will provide some background and insights on how the "impaired risk" life insurance marketplace works. First off I will reinforce Shelley's points about full disclosure, and the need to emphasize the favorable aspects of your life and treatment.

 

More to follow. Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

My site is Scleroderma and Life Insurance by Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, and we are a longstanding member of the ISN's Scleroderma Webmaster's Association "Scleroderma Sites to Surf!" program.

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Several of our forum members have asked very insightful questions about the Prequalification process, and how it helps people with Scleroderma get life insurance. I’ll share a few of the basic points here.

 

It is important to recognize that an inquiry is made to carriers for potential rates without the use of a formal application. This protects the identify of the consumer in that the inquiry does not affect the MIB, or Medical Information Bureau. Therefore, the reaction of the carriers is not registered on the consumer’s official record of insurance applications.

 

Also, only those carriers with a history and reputation of offering competitive rates for people with Scleroderma (or insuring them at all) are approached. In a relatively short amount of time the marketplace can be thoroughly tested for possible rates that may be available.

 

Sometimes only one carrier may be interested. And it may take several weeks to identify that carrier and ascertain its price. Especially with a condition like Scleroderma - that can have different types and complications - it may take numerous interactions with the consumer to develop the most accurate “profile†for quoting.

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Steve, when I was still searching for life insurance coverage, several agents had gently suggested that I may want to avoid a formal application with them, because it would very likely go on file as a denial by the MIB. In other instances, they flat out told me that they would not even consider coverage for (systemic) scleroderma. And the insurance clearinghouse that had provided coverage for me for years came up with only a few carriers, at truly exhorbitant rates.

 

But you were able to find coverage for me at very reasonable rates, without jeopardizing my MIB file in the process. So is there a difference in how the applicaton process works, between various companies, clearinghouses, or agents?


Warm Hugs,

 

Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

 

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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Today I would like to educate our members about the underwriting process. In particular I would like to briefly discuss the availability of “creditsâ€.

 

Credits and demerits are used by underwriters in a manner similar to teachers, for example, when grading papers. Good penmanship (back in the old days when reports were hand-written) may add points to a student’s grade; bad penmanship may take points away.

 

In a similar fashion positive factors can enable a life insurance applicant to qualify for a lower rate. Lab results within a normal range, time elapsed from a serious illness, and compliance with medications can all enhance insurability. Negative factors such as complications of a disease, non-compliance with medications, relapses and others can drive the rate up.

 

It is for this reason that the prequalification process includes a very broad range of data collection. As many as credits as possible can be mined about an applicant, and help qualify him or her for the lowest rate available.

:rolleyes:

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Hi Steve,

 

Thanks for the valuable information.

 

So, I want to ask my rheumatologist about hand therapy. Right now I have full use of both hands and can complete my daily tasks just fine (except for that pickle jar!) despite some tightening and loss of range of motion. But I do experience occasional minor joint pain, aching and stiffness at the end of the day.

 

I want to use hand therapy as a preventative measure and to prolong the use of my hands at their highest possible level of functioning. Would this be considered good penmanship?

 

Since I am in the process of being considered for life insurance, I am afraid to start anything new like that until the application process is complete.

 

 

Barefut


Take care,

Barefut

 

Serena Justis

ISN Blogger

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi Shelley,

 

This is an excellent question. It is not so much about the application process as it is about the prequalification process.

 

The difference is this: most carriers – and most brokers that work with them – do not want to assess a candidate without an application. This is chiefly because they do not want to be held to a rate without reviewing actual underwriting data such as an exam and medical records. A related problem – especially for candidates with a medical condition such as scleroderma – is that most brokers do not have the expertise to provide sufficient data on a preliminary basis. They do not know the questions to ask, and even if provided with the right questions,they are not trained to ask them sensitively, completely and accurately. Consequently most underwriters and brokers have developed an attitude of “don’t bother†when it comes to these tough cases.

 

When I first started my brokerage in the 1990’s, I spent several hard years earning the trust of underwriters. I convinced them that if I could deliver an accurate rate to a potential applicant before submitting an application, everyone would win: the carrier would not have to invest money underwriting an applicant who would eventually withdraw an application if the rate became too high; the applicant would not suffer constant disappointment as well as negative hits on the MIB record; and of course the broker would deliver the valuable service of risk-free accurate life insurance shopping.

 

I now have prequalification relationships with many underwriters. This helps me find a competitive carrier for almost every candidate.

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