Inurance and Mental Disability

Can a person with a mental disability buy insurance? Well, that depends on what kind of insurance they are seeking. I live in Canada and I can’t purchase life insurance because I am bipolar. The nice lady at the insurance company told me that I have a 30 percent higher risk of committing suicide than people without my particular illness. Never mind that no life insurance policy pays out when a person commits suicide. My best friend is bipolar and she has life insurance. She lied. She told me that she has no plans on committing suicide. I don’t either but, statistically, I’m in a high risk category. Health and disability insurance, mortgage insurance or any kind of insurance that involves a physical can become a reason for an insurance company to refuse coverage.

All insurance, whether it be mortgage insurance, car insurance or life insurance, is based on statistics. I may not agree with it but I do understand it. I do have a small life insurance policy that was transferred to me through my company’s group policy when I left my job. It was the only part of my comprehensive insurance policy that I was eligible to take with me because of my illness, which was why I was leaving my job. I pay an extremely high premium every month for a $40,000.00 policy. If I had left under the same terms (company buyout) but for different reasons (not illness) I would have been able to transfer a $250,000.00 policy at a lower premium per month than what I pay now for a much smaller policy. That’s life. I can accept it. Do I think it’s fair? No, but many things in life aren’t fair.

Insurance companies have the right to refuse people based on certain factors. I do have a problem, however, with denying a person with a mental disability life insurance for the reason I stated above. If you are going to deny someone insurance based on their suicide risk, what is the risk to the insurance company? They don’t pay out when the cause of death is suicide. Now if the insurance companies want to deny people with a mental disability health insurance, or disability insurance the issue becomes far more complicated especially with health insurance. People need health insurance, especially people with any kind of mental illness. It benefits both the person with the illness and the society that they live in. Disability insurance usually can’t be purchased with a pre-existing health or mental health condition and if you are employed many companies have some sort of disability coverage in place. Health insurance in the U.S.A. is a much different issue than it is here in Canada. I live in the province of Ontario and I am covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, as are all the people in my province. When I was working I was covered by my employer’s disability plan. The Federal Government of Canada also has a disability plan under its Canada Pension Plan disability branch.

Insurance coverage for prescriptions, dental benefits and a higher level of hospital care are not usually denied to anyone, people with mental disabilities included. This is because the premiums are so high. I pay almost $400 a month for prescription and dental coverage. Things such as mortgage insurance are routinely denied to people who have health issues such as hypertension. Car insurance premiums are through the roof for new drivers and anyone convicted of an impaired charge. A mental disability is just another benchmark that the insurance companies use when assessing risk. As a person who lives with a mental disability I don’t like being denied certain forms of insurance based on something I don’t have any control over but I live in the real world. Insurance companies are businesses and businesses exist to make money. Insurance companies base their rates on statistics and in today’s world that’s what we all are: a statistic.