Stroke is such a terrible medical emergency, but it’s also a common one. Stroke survivors are still eligible for getting insurance, though they may have fewer advantages.
F.Y.I. – Stroke in Canada
Stroke is a syndrome that occurs when blood ceases to flow to parts of your brain. A stroke takes glucose and oxygen away from the neurons and other brain cells, resulting in cell death. To determine the impact of a stroke, we need to investigate which part of the brain was damaged and how much damage was done. If the brain lacks oxygen and nutrients for a long time, permanent damage is likely to persist in the brain.
Suffering stroke causes lasting harm to the victim. It is also accountable for disability-adjusted life years, i.e., the number of years lost due to bad health conditions. These disabilities are the consequences of pre-existing health conditions as well as severe and prolonged stroke.
Anyone can experience a stroke. Statistics Canada reports that stroke is one of the top three significant causes of death in Canada. Studies have shown that every 30 minutes, there is one new stroke victim in Ontario. The financial burden of those living with stroke is almost $1 billion every year.
Types of strokes
There are two main types of strokes: Ischemic Stroke and Hemorrhagic Stroke.
Ischemic Stroke occurs when blood flow through the artery that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked due to a substance called plaque.
Hemorrhagic Stroke happens when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. The interrupted blood flow leads to the damage of the brain. Two types of hemorrhagic strokes include an intracerebral stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage.
It is essential to pay attention to Transient Ischemic Attack or T.I.A. It is also called a mini stroke, where the brain temporarily loses blood within 2-5 minutes. The damage of T.I.A to the brain is less severe, and those suffer T.I.A may stand a higher chance of getting insurance at a more affordable price.
Challenges that stroke survivors must face with to get life insurance
As we’ve mentioned at the beginning, those diagnosed with a stroke can indeed apply for life insurance. However, the process is much more complicated. Stroke victims are presented with more disadvantages than healthy people.
First, stroke victims may have limited insurance options. Stroke is listed as a severe pre-existing condition. There are also cases when companies decline your application due to your prior diagnosis of the disease. Thus, stroke patients may not be able to apply for standard life insurance but must purchase No Medical Life Insurance.
You can look through this article to understand more about No Medical Life Insurance. No Medical Life Insurance includes two options: simplified issue insurance or guaranteed issue insurance. Simplified issue insurance is cheaper and has more coverage. However, the underwriting process may be a little bit stricter. Meanwhile, guaranteed life insurance doesn’t require you to undergo the underwriting process, and in case you are not qualified for standard life insurance, you can purchase this option instead.
|Simplified Issue Insurance||Guaranteed Issue Insurance|
|Waiting Period||Fast||Very Fast|
Second, since stroke causes lifelong damage to victims, stroke survivors have many more health risks to be covered than ordinary people. Because of this, insurance companies will charge stroke survivors at a much higher rate.
The specific premium will depend on whether you suffer from a full stroke or a mini-stroke – T.I.A. As mentioned earlier, T.I.A. causes less harm to patients; thus, T.I.A. victims have less health risk than those experiencing a full stroke. Based on the seriousness of your stroke, the insurer will decide on your rates. The table below will give you some information about which rates that you may be qualified for.
|Ratings||Mini stroke (TIA)||Full stroke|
|Preferred||Qualified in a few cases (the patient is in very good shape)||Unqualified|
Qualified, provided that the diagnosis is at least 6 years ago, and the survivor is in good shape.
|Rated/Substandard||Qualified, provided that the diagnosis is at least 6 months ago||Qualified, provided that the diagnosis is at least 1 year ago|
Questions that stroke survivors may be asked when applying for insurance
When applying for insurance, the insurers will ask you many questions that relate to your health. The set of questions varies, though you usually can expect to be asked about:
- When did you experience your stroke or strokes?
- Did you have an actual stroke, or was it a Transient Ischemic Attack (T.I.A.)?
- What tests did you undergo following your stroke?
- What symptoms did you experience when you had your stroke?
- Are you currently experiencing any other health issues that may result in another stroke (high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, etc.)
- What medications are you currently taking?
The purpose of these questions is to give the insurer graphic details about your health condition. Based on this, they will decide whether you are qualified for a policy and the rate that you have to pay. Of course, we’d advise you to tell the truth to the insurance companies. Or else, your application will get declined. If the insurer later finds out that you made a lie, they may stop providing you the service.
In conclusion, stroke is a severe health issue that exerts a life-long effect on your body. It also puts a lot of strain on your finances regarding treatment or buying an insurance policy. For stroke survivors, two standard options are Simplified Issue Insurance and Guaranteed Issue Insurance. Those suffer from T.I.A may stand a higher chance of getting a policy at a much better rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is stroke a critical illness? If yes, should I buy critical illness insurance for preparation?
Stroke is considered a critical illness if it results in symptoms lasting at least 24 hours, resulting in neurologic impairment. Mini-strokes or T.I.A will not be covered in critical illness insurance.
Since stroke can happen to anyone, we’d recommend you prepare insurance for this. You may buy life insurance or critical illness insurance, depending on your own cases.
Is stroke considered a disability? I haven’t suffered from a stroke. But if I buy life insurance with the waiver of premium rider, will it help me if I experience a stroke in the future?
Waiver of premium rider is a rider of life insurance that waives your premium when you become disabled and unable to earn a living. Although full strokes affect victims in the long term, it is unfortunately not considered a disability.
What if I have a stroke after buying life insurance?
Once you have bought your policy, you are protected by your policy. Your insurer cannot adjust your premium or cancel your policy upon your diagnosis of stroke. If you buy critical illness insurance that entails stroke, you will receive a lump sum and can use the payout in whatever way you like.
That being said, there are several cases when a stroke may bother you:
– Your insurance is term life insurance: If you want to buy a new term policy as your old one ends, you must undergo the underwriting process. The insurer will reject your application or charge you a higher price for coverage if you are diagnosed with a stroke. A solution is to convert your term life insurance to whole life insurance when your term insurance is still in effect. In this way, you will no longer need to worry about the underwriting.
– You have group life insurance coverage through an employer; however, you may leave your job one day: As your contract ends, your insurance lapses as a result. Of course, you may convert that group life insurance policy or port your coverage to another insurer, which does not require you to undergo any further medical underwriting. However, this can be very costly at the same time.
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What if I get declined when applying for insurance after a stroke?
Usually, stroke survivors may be declined when they apply for standard life insurance or simplified issue insurance. The reason is to be concerned with their health. Those who have just experienced the stroke will be declined. Specifically, the chances are low if they apply for insurance 6 months after a mini-stroke or 1 year after a full stroke. People with additional health problems may also be refused. This is because stroke is a severe condition, and the insurance companies find it too risky to cover you in their policy.
In this case, if you still wish to purchase insurance, you can apply for guaranteed life insurance. This kind of insurance doesn’t require any medical underwriting process, and most people can get approved for this one.
Is there any way to save money on buying insurance for stroke survivors?
The only way here is to improve your health. Those who have survived the sickness after a specific number of years, for example, 6 years, and have no additional pre-existing conditions, are likely to get insurance at a more affordable rate.