When you are healthy, young and have a steady income, life insurance is not really something you have to worry about. You know you are a good candidate for any policy that might appeal to you and you are aware that you have plenty of options.
Your premiums will not be that high and you can apply for a policy anytime you want. But what about those who unfortunately have a few bumps in the road? Perhaps a health condition that is stopping them from getting the same thing?
There are many problems and difficulties that people face when it comes to getting life insurance for seniors with paralysis paraplegic or quadriplegic.
So, what is the process like for them? This article will hopefully clear up some of those thoughts.
What are Paraplegia and Quadriplegia?
Paraplegia is the loss of movement and sensitivity of the legs. It occurs because of injuries below the neck. On the other hand, Quadriplegia (also called tetraplegia) is the paralysis of all the legs and arms which occurs because of injuries in the spinal cord.
Their condition also comes with the inability to do certain things for themselves like shower, move around and have a healthy sex life.
They tend to need around the clock care and will usually have a physical therapist or a family member dedicate themselves to their needs. To know more about the types and differences of paralysis, read this.
People with this condition, especially seniors, can also experience a wide range of psychological issues such as depression, low self-esteem, and feeling like a constant burden to their loved ones and other individuals that they come in contact with.
It is hard enough for them to function like this and it does not help that there is discrimination against them in almost all aspects of life. This, unfortunately, includes life insurance policies.
How Does Paralysis Affect Life Insurance?
Let’s start with a story.
Recently a paraplegic male found himself in a debilitating position when he went to the bank to take care of some business. He came up to the counter where a bank employee informed him that they have recently partnered up with a life insurance agency and are now offering various policies to their clients.
The individual asked if that also applied to people with disabilities such as paraplegia or quadriplegia, to which the bank employee responded with a hard ”NO”.
The man made no further comments, but he did issue a statement to the local newspaper about how bad he felt that he was being discriminated because of something that happened to him and that he cannot change or control.
The problem is that this was not a single case. It happens all the time. So, why is this such a big deal? We did some research with a human rights activist, who informed us in detail about this particular issue.
We found out that this is mainly a consequence of a medical understanding of disability because disability is equal to damage, that is loss and damage.
On the other hand, if we looked at it from a human rights point of view, the value and protection of human rights would be respected. To be understood, disability is only one circumstance in a person’s life and the developed society would have influence in the occurrence of a harmful event to a healthy person more than a person with disabilities.
Many life insurance companies will simply deny them as clients or prospective candidates for a policy. Or, they will not give them the same benefits as they would to a healthy person.
For example, if a paraplegic were to be hit by a moving vehicle, his life insurance would not cover the cost of the injury due to the fact that he did not move out of the way. They will not consider the fact that it takes longer to push a wheelchair with your hands than to just walk across a road, even if that goes without saying. This is where it gets confusing.
When applying for a life insurance policy, companies will discriminate you because of your disability, but when it comes to covering the costs then they will treat you just like any normal, healthy individual. This is why so many people choose to pass up a possible opportunity for life insurance with paralysis even if it is offered to them because they know they will never be treated equally as everyone else.
So, what do insurance companies have to say about this? Well, many of them claim that they have legitimate concerns on their part.
How Do Insurance Companies Take Disabilities?
Most insurance companies do not think about the possible consequences when dealing with people with disabilities. They simply dismiss them as clients. They think it is in their best interest to do so, but it really is not.
What companies don’t seem to realize is that a disabled person can still give them the same benefits as a normal individual. They can pay their premiums and be just as cooperative as anyone else. Their health condition and possible problems should absolutely not stop them from getting equal treatment as regular individuals.
However, life insurance companies only look at the negative side of this particular condition. They claim that because of the unpredictable nature of this health condition they cannot be certain whether the individual applying for a policy will be able to fulfill his/her obligations towards the company. This is much less of a problem than they make it out to be.
According to research, paraplegic and quadriplegic individuals have no significant difficulties in fulfilling their civic duties. They may need some assistance in doing them, but it always gets done.
So, what can insurance companies do to make it easier for them and to benefit themselves while doing so?
New Options for People with Paralysis
A few insurance companies have come up with a plan. They accept any candidate for a life insurance policy, but they do require disabled individuals to provide a medical history and regular reports of check-ups every month.
This does not mean that as soon as a medical report is worse than the previous one they will drop you as a client. It just means they are getting the reassurance they need in order to enable you to use the services they provide.
Now you may be a private person that has no interest in exposing yourself to them in that kind of way, but when faced with the fact that you may not have insurance, undergoing a regular medical exam in exchange for coverage and safety does not seem like a bad choice to make.
Individuals have generally positive experiences with companies that provide this kind of service to them because they will usually agree to cover the cost of a medical exam for you as long as you pay your premiums to them.
How to Get a Traditional Policy?
As mentioned before, a regular medical exam will most likely be part of the requirements for a traditional life insurance policy. Other than that, individuals claim that it mostly depends on the type and extent of your injury when you apply for a policy.
This is where quadriplegics tend to have more difficulties. Because quadriplegia is an injury that causes paralysis from the neck down, even if you agree to a medical exam and other terms, you may still be denied as a candidate because a company might state that your injuries are just too severe.
Depression, lack of movement, etc. can all cause accidental or premature deaths in quadriplegics, especially if you are of old age.
But this can be corrected as well. You can decide to have a doctor of the company’s choosing evaluate you and if he or she states that you are stable enough to be approved for a policy, the company will most likely provide you with one.
As a paraplegic, you must also undergo an evaluation to show that you can perform your daily tasks with little to no assistance.
Traditional vs Simplified Issue Life Insurance
Given your circumstances, even though you are eligible for a traditional life insurance policy with some companies, choosing a simplified issue life insurance opens you up to more options because it means you have more insurance companies willing to work with you.
This does come with some disadvantages, though. A simplified issue life insurance policy does mean that you will be instantly covered but it tends to be more expensive than a traditional one because of the risk factors the company takes on by approving you as a candidate.
As a paraplegic, this may not cost you more than a few dollars more each month because you are still very much enabled. But, as a quadriplegic, your premiums will most likely be a lot higher because of the extent of your disability.
This should not discourage you, though. A simplified issue policy is still a very good coverage plan and it would give you the safety you need. But if you are still not sure, you can also think about getting a guaranteed issue life insurance.
Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance with Paralysis
A guaranteed issue life insurance policy is different from a simplified issue life insurance policy because it does not expose you to anything. It does not require you to undergo any exams, or even fill out health questionnaires, you can be instantly approved.
This policy gives you coverage, security and above all, privacy. It is the least discriminating form of life insurance for people with disabilities. It also does not have an age restriction or a huge income.
To Sum It All Up
In conclusion, all of your options are open. You are generally eligible for all kinds of life insurance policies, but all of them come with pros and cons.
You just have to decide what type of plan has the biggest benefits for you and your loved ones in case something were to happen to you.
After all, being certain that you and your family are covered is the whole point of a life insurance policy. Even though there will always be a sense of discrimination when it comes to people with disabilities and senior citizens, that should not stop you from applying for an insurance plan since you will need one eventually. Just decide what works best for you.