According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, nearly one million people suffer from Parkinson’s disease in the United States. Parkinson’s disease usually begins between the ages of 40 and 70, with steady progression eventually producing severe disability.
Buying Life Insurance with Parkinson’s Disease
The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms.
Despite advances in treatment, the life expectancy of people with Parkinson’s disease is reduced. Major mortality risk factors include cognitive decline, dementia, older age at onset, a more advanced disease state, and difficulty swallowing. On the other hand, a disease pattern having primarily tremor as opposed to muscle rigidity and impaired movement seems to be predictive of better survival.
Getting approved for traditional life insurance may be difficult with Parkinson’s disease. If you have Parkinson’s disease, your best chances of getting affordable life insurance is to apply through a broker, like Quotacy. Brokers are not tied to one life insurance company and are able to shop the market.
We want you to get approved and will work hard to help you get coverage. Start the process by getting a free term life insurance quote or keep reading for more in-depth information about life insurance and Parkinson’s disease.
See what you’d pay for life insurance
Underwriting Parkinson’s Disease
When underwriting this disease, the stage is most important. Each stage of Parkinson’s has different characteristics associated with it and the earlier the stage, the better your chances are for getting approved for life insurance.
Stage I – Unilateral involvement
Stage II – Bilateral involvement but normal stance
Stage III – Bilateral involvement with mild postural imbalance, but able to lead an independent life
Stage IV – Bilateral involvement with postural instability; requires substantial help
Stage V – Severe disease; restricted to bed or wheelchair
When you apply for life insurance, underwriters review the complete application and all the records that go along with it. They then decide how much coverage and at what cost to offer the applicant, unless they decide to deny or postpone the application.
For applicants with Parkinson’s disease, you will likely be table rated. The table rating system typically means that your pricing for life insurance will be the Standard price plus 25% for every step down the table you are, Tables A-J or 1-10 depending on which format the insurance company uses.
Based on the stage of the disease, the chart below is an example of what one company may decide to offer applicants.
|Stage I, II or very slowly progressive||Table B|
|Stage III, or moderately progressive with no dementia||Table C to D|
|Stage IV, or rapidly progressive over several years||Decline|
|Stage V, or dementia present||Decline|
To get an idea of pricing, let’s take a look at some case studies.
Parkinson’s and Life Insurance Case Studies*
Case Study #1
Applicant is a 66 year old woman who continues to actively work in the family business. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease about two years ago and currently takes a low dose medication to reduce a mild and occasionally bothersome tremor in her right hand. She is independent in all activities and continues to drive her car.
This applicant is likely to be offered Table C. For a $250,000 10-year term policy her premiums would be approximately $192.50 per month. We calculate this by taking the Standard price for a policy of a 66 year old female ($110) and adding 75%.
Case Study #2
Applicant is a 67 year old man who was diagnosed a little over 6 years ago. He recently retired from work due to increasing difficulty moving around. He requires no assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) other than some help buttoning his shirt, but now uses a cane and occasionally a walker. His physician recently increased doses of two medications as his prior doses no longer seemed to be effective.
This applicant is likely to be offered a Table E. For a $250,000 10-year term policy his premiums would be approximately $427.50 per month. We calculate this by taking the Standard price for a policy of a 67 year old male ($190) and added 125%.
Case Study #3
Applicant is a 72 year old woman who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 4 years ago. She has become less active in recent years and is now largely home-bound. She surrendered her driver’s license last year after having three minor accidents and getting lost a few times. She is complaining of abnormal movements caused by her medications that no longer seem to be working as well at higher doses. Her physician added an antidepressant medication during a recent hospitalization to treat pneumonia and skin breakdown on her thigh.
This applicant would be declined.
*The examples shown are for illustrative purposes only.
Each life insurance company has a different set of guidelines they follow when underwriting an applicant. Because of these different guidelines, when one company may deem an applicant a Table 5, another company may decide that applicant can qualify for Standard rates. A benefit to working with Quotacy is that we work with multiple A-rated life insurance companies. We have the ability to shop cases around to these different companies to try our best to get an applicant approved.
Our in-house underwriter has worked in many carrier home offices, knows how to navigate each individual’s health history, and knows which life insurance company would be the best option for your individual case. If you are ready to buy life insurance coverage, get a term life insurance quote now and let’s start the process.
If you are looking to get an idea on the cost of life insurance if you have Parkinson’s disease, it costs nothing to run a quote and apply online. You will have a dedicated Quotacy agent shop your case with our top-rated life insurance companies to ensure you receive the best possible price.
About the writer
Natasha Cornelius, CLU
Senior Editor and Licensed Life Insurance Expert
Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.