Securing life insurance for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s may feel impossible, especially with the medical exams most companies require.
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But there is a way.
Seniors can get life insurance even after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Here’s everything you must know.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures (USA)
|Affected by 2021||Mortality rate (seniors)||National expenditure in 2021||Black vs. White||Affected by 2050 (Projected)|
|6 Million+||1 in every 3||$355 Billion||2x Older Black Americans than Older White||12.7 Million|
Table of Content
- Will you Qualify for Life Insurance for Seniors with Dementia?
- Why do Insurance Companies care if you Have Dementia?
- How to Qualify for Life Insurance for Dementia Patients
- How to Apply for Life Insurance with Dementia
- Is Dementia Classed as a Terminal Illness for Insurance?
- What’s the Impact of Dementia on the Insurance Rates?
- Where to get Guaranteed Life Insurance for Dementia Patients
- Final Thoughts
Will you Qualify for Life Insurance for Seniors with Dementia?
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are pre-existing conditions, much like heart disease and diabetes. Life insurance companies don’t often approve applicants with serious pre-existing conditions because of the risk they pose.
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Does this mean you’ll never qualify for life insurance with dementia or Alzheimer’s?
It depends on when you apply for life insurance and the type of coverage you try to get.
Some companies approve applicants with dementia or dementia-related diseases, but it’s usually at a much higher cost and/or lower coverage. The key to securing life insurance when you’re at risk of such a health condition is to apply for the policy early before you’re diagnosed.
If you’re a senior with dementia or Alzheimer’s, your options are limited, but they do exist.
Why do Insurance Companies care if you Have Dementia?
You may wonder why a life insurance company would care if an applicant has dementia. It affects your memory, not your heart or body’s ability to process insulin like heart disease or diabetes, so what’s the big deal?
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Because Alzheimer’s disease and its related illnesses are degenerative, they have an overall effect on a person’s body, not just their mind.
The average person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease lives no more than 10 years. Since life insurance companies insure your life and payout when you die, they are at a higher risk of paying out if you have dementia.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get dementia insurance coverage as a senior, though. You may have options.
How to Qualify for Life Insurance for Dementia Patients
All insurance companies ask the question, ‘have you been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia?’ You will be ineligible for any term or whole life insurance policy if you answer yes. While there are whole and term life insurance policies for seniors, not if you have a history of dementia.
Don’t think about lying on the application and saying you don’t. If you’ve been diagnosed, the insurance company will find out. It’s insurance fraud not to be 100% honest on your application.
Insurance companies look at your medical history and prescription history. They’ll put two and two together if there’s any suspicion you’ve been diagnosed with a memory disorder.
So how do you qualify for life insurance if you have dementia?
Apply for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. Also known as the ‘no questions asked’ policy. Almost anyone can qualify for this type of policy, but there are downsides.
You’ll have limited coverage options, and the premiums are much higher. If you don’t have any life insurance and/or savings for your final expenses, you may need it, though.
Fortunately, to qualify, you only need to meet these simple guidelines:
- You are a US citizen
- You are between 50 – 85 years old
- You apply for the policy yourself or can sign and understand the application if someone else is buying it for you
There aren’t any questions or medical exams to go through, which is how you can get life insurance for dementia patients. Just don’t wait until you don’t understand the application or can’t sign for yourself – you must be able to acknowledge that you understand the policy to get it.
What’s the Catch?
It sounds too good to be true, right?
You can get life insurance for seniors with dementia, and the insurance company won’t ask any questions? What’s the punchline?
There’s a waiting period, and it’s long.
Most insurance companies impose a 2-year waiting period. This means if you die within 2 years of taking out the policy, your beneficiaries only receive the premiums you paid up to that point plus a small percentage, usually 10%.
That’s why it’s so important to apply for life insurance for dementia patients early. While you can’t get guaranteed life insurance until age 50, in most cases, if you apply as soon as you are eligible, you’ll have a better chance of outliving the waiting period and leaving your loved ones with the proceeds needed.
How to Apply for Life Insurance with Dementia
There are two ways to apply for life insurance with dementia:
- Apply for it yourself – If you’re still of sound mind, you can apply for life insurance yourself. When you are the policyholder, you are also responsible for the premiums. As long as you make the payments, your policy stays intact.
- Let someone else be the owner – If you don’t want the responsibility of being the policyholder because you’re worried about not remembering to pay the premiums, you can allow a family member to take out a policy on you. Still, you must be of sound enough mind to agree to the policy and sign the application. You then become the insured, but the policyholder is responsible for the payments.
Is Dementia Classed as a Terminal Illness for Insurance?
Most insurance companies classify dementia as a terminal illness, so you can’t get a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
While technically a terminal illness is one that’s expected to take your life in the next 6 to 12 months, most insurance companies agree that dementia and Alzheimer’s is a terminal illness.
This doesn’t help your insurance rates or rates of approval. But there’s some good news.
What’s the Impact of Dementia on the Insurance Rates?
You can get insurance with dementia, but you’ll pay higher rates. Knowing this going into the application will help ease the shock of the higher premiums.
But not every insurance company charges the highest rates possible for life insurance with dementia.
Most insurance companies using a rating system to determine how much they’ll charge you. If you have dementia, you’ll likely be in the highest category, but if you’re only taking out coverage for your final expenses, you’ll need only $10,000 – $20,000.
On average, a 70-year old looking for guaranteed issue life insurance will pay $100 a month for $10,000 in coverage. This will leave your loved ones with enough to cover the average cost of final expenses. Of course, if you have other financial obligations to cover, you may need a slightly higher policy with higher premiums.
The best way to find the lowest insurance rates on guaranteed issue life insurance is to shop around. You don’t have to take the first offer you’re given.
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Where to get Guaranteed Life Insurance for Dementia Patients
At AIG, you can get guaranteed issue life insurance. AIG doesn’t ask any health questions or require a medical exam. Seniors ages 50 – 80 are eligible, and they can get up to $25,000 in coverage.
AIG also offers living benefits with every policy for no extra cost. This means if you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness and can’t do 2 of the 6 daily living activities or have dementia, you’ll receive all premiums paid back.
If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and will die within 24 months, you can receive up to 50% of your death benefit to help with the costs.
Great Western’s Guaranteed Assurance plan doesn’t have any health questions or a medical exam. It has a 2-year waiting period like most guaranteed issue policies, but it will pay out 110% of the premiums paid up to that point if you die within 2 years.
The Great Western premiums never change, and your beneficiaries can use the funds for any purpose.
Does life insurance payout for death due to dementia or Alzheimer’s?
Dementia is a natural cause of death and is covered by life insurance. As long as you didn’t commit insurance fraud and omitted the diagnosis or family history, it should be a reason the insurance company would payout.
Can you get life insurance if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s?
Yes, you can get life insurance if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, but lock it in early. If you’ve already been diagnosed, your only option is guaranteed-issue insurance. If you get insurance before you’re diagnosed, you may have more (and cheaper) options.
How can you get life insurance for someone with dementia?
Your best bet is guaranteed issue life insurance. This means insurance without health questions or medical exams. You’ll have a 2-year waiting period, so secure the insurance early in your diagnosis, so you outlive the 2-year waiting period and have coverage for your loved ones.
The earlier you secure life insurance when you have dementia, the better. You must be of sound mind and be able to sign the application to get the coverage. If you wait too long, you won’t be able to get it, even if someone else is the policyholder.
If you waited until you have the diagnosis, your only option is guaranteed-issue life insurance. Still, there are plenty of affordable options to ensure you leave your loved ones with enough to cover your final expenses.