If you have family members with autism, you may wonder if it’s possible to get life insurance on them.
I am here to say it is possible, and we have helped many people with autism obtain life insurance. Children and adults alike.
Here is what we will discuss:
- The Underwriting Process
- Life Insurance For Children
- Life Insurance For Adults
- Watch Out For Medicaid
- Final Thoughts
Let’s discuss underwriting for people with autism. You will see that underwriting is the foundation of the types of life insurance that are available to you.
Life Insurance Underwriting For Someone With Autism
Many people blindly apply for life insurance, thinking they can apply anywhere.
You really don’t want to do that. It’s best to do your research beforehand and understand how carriers underwrite your application.
Once the carrier receives your application, it starts a process called “underwriting”.
During the underwriting process, the carrier basically assesses if you are an insurable risk.
If you are healthy, with no or minor health conditions, then likely the carrier easily approves you.
However, if you have moderate to severe health conditions, carriers will place a table rating or even decline your application.
The same can be said about people with autism.
It’s important you know your chances of getting approved for life insurance BEFORE you apply. The reason? Not all carriers will insure someone with autism.
I am happy to say we have helped many individuals with autism obtain life insurance. However, the chances of approval really depend on your situation and certain characteristics. We discuss these characteristics next.
How Carriers View People With Autism
Below is a general idea of how life insurance carriers underwrite an individual with autism. If you have specific questions, please contact us.
Can You Perform Activities of Daily Living Independently?
Activities of daily living are important, everyday functional areas like eating, going to the bathroom, and dressing.
If you can’t perform ADLs or need assistance for 1 or 2 of them, that will hinder your ability to obtain a policy.
Why, John, you ask? I am healthy every other way.
True, you might be. However, performing ADLs is an important, foundational aspect of everyday life. Carriers say that the inability to perform ADLs independently can lower one’s lifespan.
If you or your relative can’t perform ADLs independently, then there are fewer life insurance options. In fact, most carriers will likely outright decline the application.
However, life insurance options still exist. We discuss that further in the article.
Do You Work?
I say this all the time, but carriers like to see people working. It shows that the person can carry on meaningful relationships and conversations. Similar to performing ADLs, working is foundational for everyday life. Carriers do expect you to work in gainful employment (unless you are a stay-at-home parent).
If you don’t work, then the life insurance options are limited. For an adult with autism, then that might lead to a decline.
As we mentioned earlier, there are still life insurance options available.
Do You Have Any Other Health Conditions?
Carriers look at your overall situation, too, specifically at other health conditions or comorbidities.
So, if you are overweight or have a high BMI, that plays a role in the underwriting.
Same with medication like metformin for type 2 diabetes.
Carriers look at everything. They then assess your risk and make an offer.
Honestly, however, in our experience, if you can’t perform ADLs independently or don’t work, then carriers will likely decline your application.
Nevertheless, there are life insurance options. We discuss them next. First, we discuss life insurance options for autistic children. Then we discuss options for adults.
Life Insurance Options For Children With Autism
First, let me say that children with autism can obtain life insurance.
The availability really depends on the severity of the condition (i.e. underwriting, as we discussed).
Generally speaking, most carriers will decline any application for children diagnosed with autism until age 8.
In other words, if your child is age 5, for example, diagnosed with autism, the life insurance carrier will decline the application. They will tell you to reapply at age 8.
The reason is carriers underwrite the autism condition much better starting at age 8.
At age 8, there is generally a better understanding of your child’s condition and potential future.
Here, in general, are some key aspects underwriters will look at for life insurance on children with autism:
- Is the child in a mainstream classroom – if yes, that is better
- Can the child perform ADLs without assistance – if yes, that is better
- Does the child need any assistive devices like an iPad – if no, that is better
- Can the child speak and hear – if yes, that is better
- Can the child carry on a conversation – if yes, that is better
Additionally, the underwriters may want:
- Any neuropsychological reports
- A copy of an IEP
- Other medical records
Available Life Insurance For Children With Autism
Generally speaking, if your son or daughter is in a mainstream classroom, communicates as a typical child, and has no other health conditions, you can expect the typical standard rate.
Sometimes, carriers will apply a table 2 rating. So, expect a standard to table 2 for a health classification.
Your son or daughter could obtain any type of whole life insurance, universal life, and other types of permanent insurance. Because of your child’s age, whole life insurance is usually a good option. Term life insurance on children is also an option.
If they don’t qualify, guaranteed issue whole life insurance exists. Depending on the state where you live, it is available.
John, I’ve checked, you say. Guaranteed-issued life insurance is only available for people age 50 and older.
No, we do work with a carrier that provides guaranteed-issue whole life insurance for people less than age 40. We even have helped children as young as 1 month get life insurance on a guaranteed-issue policy.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Life Insurance For Adults With Autism
Life insurance options for adults with autism really depends on what we discussed in our underwriting section.
If you or your family member needs assistance for every day activities, then the only option likely is a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
Feel free to check out the rates here in our quote. Just select “Poor Health” in the dropdown for the health class. (We reserve the right to call, email, or text you, but we don’t contact you 1,000 times per day as other agencies do.)
However, if you are high-functioning, with a normal, typical life, have gainful employment, and have a family then really any life insurance options are available to you. Honestly, if your condition no longer poses an issue in your life, and you no longer see a neuropsychologist or require testing, a standard rate or better should be available.
Feel free to search for rates. I would assume a “standard” rate for an estimate. (Of course, we may reach out to you via phone, text, or email to say hello and thank you for visiting.)
Watch Out For The Impact On Medicaid
Many adults with moderate to severe autism utilize government assistance like Medicaid and other resource programs.
In order to qualify for these programs, the beneficiary (i.e. the child or adult with autism) must have limited assets and income. Generally speaking, a state’s asset test is $2,000. In other words, the adult with autism must have fewer than $2,000 of assets to qualify for Medicaid and other programs.
A big problem comes into play when family members purchase a whole life insurance policy on this person. Maybe the family purchased the policy when the person was a child or now as an adult.
Regardless, if the autistic family member is the owner of the policy, then the policy will negatively impact your family member’s aid. In fact, it may even disqualify them.
The reason is whole life insurance has cash value. (Even guaranteed-issue whole life policies.) The cash value is like a savings account (but, it is not). It accumulates value. At some point, the cash value will be great enough that it will disqualify your family member from his or her Medicaid and other services.
You don’t want that to happen, right?
Many agents and other agencies aren’t aware of this. If they are, they will say that the cash value doesn’t grow fast. That is incorrect. See the snapshot here of a 40-year-old male with a $25,000 guaranteed-issue whole life policy. This person will likely live a long time. However, he potentially loses his Medicaid at age 48-49.
How To Purchase A Life Insurance Policy Someone On Medicaid The Right Way
It is possible for someone on Medicaid to have a life insurance policy. You just need to go about it the right way.
It is all about ownership.
Note: we are not estate planning or elder care lawyers. Please speak to a lawyer in your state about the specifics.
Every state has some nuances about Medicaid and life insurance ownership. However, here are some general options:
- A non-Medicaid family member can own the policy
- A trust can own the policy – even better
Someone else can own the policy. I generally recommend a family member like a brother or sister to own the policy. However, this person can’t be on Medicaid, either. If he or she is, the cash value in the policy will affect their Medicaid, too.
You will also need a power of attorney or guardianship to sign on your family member’s behalf. Generally speaking, you want the powers of estate and property, which allow you to enter into contracts (including insurance contracts). If you have the more common powers of medical care and needs, these powers do not allow you to enter into contracts. As I said before, it is very important you speak to a qualified attorney as every state is different.
A trust usually is a better option. A trust creates a separate entity. You will still need the correct power of attorney or guardianship authority to transfer the policy into the trust and sign on behalf of your loved one.
Again, speak to a qualified attorney as there are several different types of trusts.
Now You Know How People With Autism Can Obtain Life Insurance
We hope you now understand how people with autism can obtain life insurance. As we discussed, the severity of the autism is the main factor during the underwriting process. Additionally, underwriters review other health conditions and comorbidities.
If the autism is severe, the only life insurance option is a guaranteed-issue whole life insurance policy. As we mentioned, we can get you a guaranteed life insurance policy for children with autism. (Essentially, age 0 newborn to age 85 is available).
We also briefly discussed the impact a life insurance policy has on Medicaid.
Do you have any questions or need assistance? We are happy to help in any way we can. Feel free to contact us or use the form below.
There is no risk of contacting us. Unlike other agencies, we only work for you and your situation. If we can’t help you, we will point you in the right direction, and we will part as friends. Seriously. You can always contact us again if your situation changes. This is the only way we know how to work with our clients.