What medication you take for any particular impairment, whether physical or mental can have an impact on how an underwriter weighs the life insurance risk in your application. We recently shared how a simple change from Lipitor to Plavix rightly raised a life insurance underwriter’s eyebrows. Both are used to prevent plaque build up in arteries, but Lipitor is primarily used to manage lipid levels and Plavix is primarily used to manage the lipid levels when someone has already been diagnosed with coronary or peripheral artery disease.
Having said that, there are plenty of doctors out there who will prescribe Plavix preventively, especially if there are other risk factors such as family history, build, etc. There may not have been any cardiac events but the underwriters sometimes read what they believe to be true into things like that and not all underwriters are willing to work their way past their knee jerk reaction and administer the benefit of the doubt to the client and their doctor.
Similarly we have worked with several life insurance clients who have moderate depression and after trying several anti depressants, have settled on Abilify as the best fit for them. In the mind of most underwriters Abilify is prescribed for bipolar disorder and we have actually had clients come to us because they were declined by a company simply because they were taking Abilify. They go by their company underwriting manual which leaves no room for common sense, such as the knowledge that for many people managing depression it’s a matter of trying different drugs until they have the most benefit with the least side effects.
The good news is that if a company has a knee jerk reaction just to the medication and doesn’t get the whole story, you didn’t want them or the agent that suggested them anyway. The other good news is that if choose the right agency who chooses the right company it can all be put in the right context and an appropriate and fair approval offered.
So, if your doctor is prescribing off label what an underwriter might feel is overkill, make sure your agent knows enough to ask you about it before they give you a quote or take an application. If the agent doesn’t know prescription drugs well enough to know what’s common and what’s OK but not so common, it’s highly unlikely they will shop it and also unlikely that they will present it to a good company for your needs. If you have any questions or have run into issues with underwriters misunderstanding your prescriptions, call or email us. We may be able to help.
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