UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Humans have been creating and mixing chemical and herbal concoctions known as drugs for thousands of years. Currently, the United States has a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. Sometimes it seems as if our doctors have turned into walking prescription pads, as one drug or another is seen as the only option for treating the diseases that plague humanity.
So how do life insurance companies feel about their policyholders being pumped full of panaceas? Here are the most common conflicts that arise as life insurance underwriters consider term life insurance applicants and their prescription drugs.
Too Many Drugs
Do you have a prescription-happy doctor? Does your doctor seem to dismiss your concerns about your symptoms and instead of offering up lifestyle advice, whips out the old prescription pad instead? While some medical conditions are only treatable with medicine, there are plenty of ailments that could be improved with simple lifestyle changes.
The more drugs you are on, the more chances there are for harmful drug interactions. Life insurance companies see it as a big red flag when an applicant has an extensive list of medications. Before you apply for a term life insurance policy, we suggest you visit another physician for a second opinion regarding your medications. All the better if you can safely reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals in your body.
Not Enough Physician Monitoring
Now I know we usually blame doctors, but this problem often lies with the patients. Your busy schedule and hectic life often prevent you from getting into the doctor when you are supposed to. If you are on medications, regular checkups are a necessity! Your body is constantly changing, and whatever dosage of drugs you are on today may be too much, or too little for you in a few months. Life insurance underwriters do check to see when the last time your medication and dosage were reviewed, so make sure to stay up to date. Even if your dose has been stable for years, life insurance companies still want proof that a doctor is monitoring your medications.
Using for Different Purposes
Sometimes drugs have side-effects that are considered to be a positive for some people. We have seen many applicants who were taking drug XYZ for its reported side effect of weight loss, increased libido, decreased hot flashes, or any other real or imagined result it produced in their bodies.
Life Insurance underwriters aren’t necessarily going to cut you a break if you are one of the patients who uses a medication for a reason which it is not intended. For example, if you are using an antidepressant, and claim that you are not suffering from clinical depression but rather using the medication to treat some unrelated malady, the life insurance underwriter is likely going to give you a rating class consistent with the medication you are taking.
It is entirely up to you and your doctor what medications you take and for what reason. Just be warned that life insurance underwriters will scrutinize the medications you are on just as much as your diagnosis.
Adverse Side Effects
We have all heard the drug commercials that promise to give you your life back after being diagnosed with this disease or that disease. The unfortunate side effects are not mentioned until the end, read off at warp speed in hopes that you will not focus on them.
Are the side effects sometimes worse than the condition for which is being treated? It is entirely possible, especially with newer drugs that haven’t been thoroughly used yet. Stories of human harm and even fatalities have received media coverage for as long as medications have been around. This is yet another concern life insurance companies must take into consideration when reviewing applicants for term life insurance coverage. Just because a drug receives FDA approval does not necessarily mean it can’t cause serious harm to people.
We hope to see a society shortly that doesn’t rely on unnecessary medications to cure maladies that can be remedied in other, more natural ways. Take control of your health and reduce your reliance on medications if you can, under a willing doctor’s supervision of course. We know your pocketbook will thank you when your term life insurance premiums go down!