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How to get life insurance with multiple sclerosis

Many people with multiple sclerosis can still get traditional life insurance. We recommend Prudential as the best overall life insurance company for people with MS.

Headshot of Logan Sachon

By

Logan SachonLogan SachonSenior Managing Editor, Life Insurance & ResearchLogan Sachon is the senior managing editor of life insurance and research at Policygenius, where she edits life insurance content and leads life insurance surveys and data studies. As a journalist, her work has appeared in The Guardian, Business Insider, CNN Money, BuzzFeed, Money Under 30, VICE, New York Magazine, and elsewhere.

Edited by

Adam MorganAdam MorganEditorial DirectorAdam Morgan is an editorial director at Policygenius who leads the life insurance team. Previously, he led editorial teams matrixed across multiple financial publications at Red Ventures — including Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Million Mile Secrets, and others.

Published|7 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

Can I buy life insurance if I have multiple sclerosis?

Yes, many people who have multiple sclerosis can buy life insurance, though the policies available depend on the progression of the disease, current age, age at diagnosis, and other factors. Because MS is such a variable disease with wide-ranging symptoms and treatments, there is a large spectrum of possible life insurance rates. 

For people with MS applying for life insurance, it is important to shop the market to find the best insurance company — and the best rates — for you. A Policygenius agent experienced with finding coverage for people with MS can help you find the right policy for you. 

Best life insurance companies for multiple sclerosis

Each life insurance company evaluates risk differently, and some companies are more likely to cover people diagnosed with MS than others. The best life insurance company for you will be the one that offers you the best rates. 

We chose the companies that, in our experience, generally offer the best rates for life insurance coverage to people with MS. However, your unique health history may mean that your best company isn’t listed here. A Policygenius agent can help you choose the best life insurance company for you. 

Methodology: How we chose the best life insurance companies for people with multiple sclerosis

We don't get paid for our company reviews and use an extensive rubric of criteria covering policy details, price, financial confidence, third-party ratings, and customer experience to assign unbiased ratings out of five stars. Any recommendations we make are based on internal and external expert opinions and data from our Policygenius Price Index, which uses real-time rate data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. Our ratings and reviews can help point you to an insurer you can rely on for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you is dependent on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can work with you through the application process so you’re getting coverage from the best insurer for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

→ Read more about our reviews methodology here

Best overall for people with multiple sclerosis

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2023 Policygenius award winner

Prudential

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

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4.1

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

All 50 states

Why we chose it

With nearly four million policyholders and 150 years to its name, Prudential offers competitive coverage options for seniors, as well as people with some of the most common medical conditions, including asthma, depression, and fibromyalgia.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Good for people over 60

  • More flexible income requirements than some other insurers

  • Considers applicants with a variety of immigration statuses (visas and green cards)

Cons

  • Younger applicants will likely find better prices elsewhere

  • No-med option can end up requiring a medical exam most of the time

Prudential is the overall best life insurance company for people with MS, based on our work with over a dozen of the country’s top insurers. While Prudential’s rates can be higher than some competitors, it offers policies to people with certain health histories — including MS — that other insurers decline. Prudential has high financial ratings, including an AM Best Rating of A+, making them a solid choice for any life insurance applicant. 

Cheapest for people with multiple sclerosis

Transamerica

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.6

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Transamerica is one of the oldest and largest life insurance companies, with over 12 million active accounts today. It offers affordable rates for almost every age, and you can even skip the medical exam if you fall under a certain age or coverage amount.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive rates for term life insurance

  • No-medical-exam available for qualifying applicants, including smokers and people between 60 and 70, which is rare

  • One of the fastest turnaround times in the industry for traditionally underwritten term policies

Cons

  • Term life not available in New York

  • Not a good option for people with a history of cancer, alcohol abuse, or asthma

Transamerica is the cheapest life insurance company for people with MS, though any diagnosis of MS generally means you'll get a more expensive premium. Transamerica has low premiums for people of all ages. Plus, people who apply with Transamerica typically receive their offers faster than people who apply with other companies.

Best for relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)

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2023 Policygenius award winner

Lincoln Financial

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.8

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Lincoln Financial offers a diverse array of life insurance policies, including competitive no-med and high-net-worth options.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Affordable rates

  • Good for many existing health conditions, including depression, stroke, and heart conditions

  • Good for marijuana users, including daily users

Cons

  • Term life not available in New York

For some people with relapsing-remitting MS (RMMS), a type of MS with clearly defined attacks, Lincoln Financial offers lower life insurance risk classifications than many competitors. [1] This means you may qualify for lower rates with Lincoln Financial, which generally has lower premiums across age groups than many other companies. 

Best for primary-progressive MS (PPMS)

Prudential 

In addition to being our top pick overall for people with MS, Prudential is also our top pick for people with primary-progressive MS (PPMS). The more progressive and disabling your diagnosis of MS is, the harder it is to get coverage for life insurance. We‘ve found that Prudential is the best option for some people with this form of MS to get traditional life insurance. 

How much does life insurance cost if you have multiple sclerosis?

Life insurance costs for people with MS can vary widely based on disease progression and other factors. When you buy life insurance, the company assesses your overall risk using your medical history, prognosis, and other diagnoses, assigning you a risk classification that correlates with premium rates. The tables below show average possible rates for a male who was diagnosed less than 10 years ago and has mild to moderate relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). 

20-year term life insurance rates for people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)

Age

$500,000 coverage amount 

25

$62.50

30

$65.33

35

$75.74

40

$107.01

45

$160.26

50

$244.55

55

$403.63

60

$689.64

65

$1,324.20

Collapse table

Methodology: Approximate estimated rates are calculated for a male non-smoker obtaining a $500,000, 20-year term policy. Rates for MS can vary widely based on health history and disease progression. Rates shown were calculated using a Substandard T3 table rating. Quotes are based on a composite of policies from AIG, Banner, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

20-year term life insurance rates for people with primary-progressive MS (PPMS)

Age

$500,000 coverage

25

$70.90

30

$74.15

35

$86.09

40

$121.95

45

$182.96

50

$279.65

55

$462.14

60

$790.46

65

$1,518.70

Collapse table

Methodology: Approximate estimated rates are calculated for a male non-smoker obtaining a $500,000, 20-year term policy. Rates for MS can vary widely based on health history and disease progression. Rates shown were calculated using a Substandard T4 table rating. Quotes are based on a composite of policies from AIG, Banner, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

How to buy life insurance if you have MS

Do you need to have a medical exam to get covered?

In order to get traditional life insurance with MS, you will need to take a medical exam — a normal part of nearly all traditional life insurance applications. A medical technician will come to your home and administer a verbal questionnaire during which you’ll go over your medical history again. Then you’ll have a physical exam with a weight check, blood draw, urine sample, and blood pressure draw.  

There are two types of final expense policies that do not require a medical exam, but these are more expensive and lower coverage options. (More on these below.)

Can MS show up on a blood test during a life insurance exam?

MS is a disease of the central nervous system and cannot be diagnosed through a blood test, so it will not show up during a life insurance exam blood test.

The life insurance blood test generally measures the following: 

  • Cholesterol 

  • HIV antibody

  • Hepatitis B antigen

  • Hepatitis C antibody 

  • Glucose 

  • Organ function

  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) (for men over 50) 

What will insurers ask about your multiple sclerosis?

Life insurance companies will want to know all about your MS diagnosis in order to understand your health history and evaluate your risk classification. You’ll need to share all diagnoses, treatments, surgeries, and medications that you’re on, for example. For people with MS, they will specifically want to know: 

  • Age of onset 

  • Initial symptoms 

  • Current symptoms 

  • Frequency of symptoms

  • Progression of the disease 

  • Current treatment(s) and how you’re responding to treatment 

  • Any medications you’re on 

  • Ability to perform the activities of daily living (ADL) 

Why it’s important to disclose your multiple sclerosis diagnosis when applying for life insurance

If you have MS or any other disease, you must disclose it to the life insurance company during your application. If you lie on your life insurance application, you could be denied coverage and could be prevented from applying again, even to a different company. 

How will having multiple sclerosis affect your life insurance application?

When you apply for life insurance, insurers look at your full health history in order to assign you a risk classification, set your rates, and offer you a policy. Each life insurance company evaluates risk differently, and an MS diagnosis will affect how they evaluate your application. 

You'll have to go through the full underwriting process and take a medical exam in order to get traditional term or whole life insurance. Although some companies offer instant-decision term life insurance, which allows qualified applicants to skip the medical exam and get a term life policy faster, having MS will disqualify you from this type of policy. You’ll have to go through the full underwriting process, which can take up to six weeks or more, and you’ll take a medical exam. 

How does underwriting work for term life insurance with multiple sclerosis?

After you complete your application and your medical exam, the insurance company’s underwriters will evaluate your materials. If you have MS, it’s very likely they will request more information directly from your doctor(s), called attending physician statement (APS), which can make the process take longer. Sometimes for people with complicated health histories, you may need to answer a few more questions. Once the underwriters have evaluated your application, they’ll let you know if they will offer you a policy, and what your risk classification and rate will be. 

Can underwriters obtain your medical information even with existing HIPAA privacy laws?

Yes, underwriters can legally access your medical information because, in order to apply for insurance, you’ll need to sign a HIPAA life insurance waiver. This waiver allows them to ask your providers for your health and medical history in order to evaluate you for a life insurance policy. They cannot use the information for anything else.

Best life insurance policy types if you have multiple sclerosis

Term life

Term life is one of the most affordable life insurance coverage options on the market, only lasts for a set term, and comes with few rules and tax restrictions. Term life is the best option for most people looking to protect their income and provide their family with a financial safety net to cover any debts — including a mortgage or any other type of personal loans.

→ Learn more about term life insurance

Whole life

Whole life and other types of permanent life insurance are good options for people looking to use life insurance to diversify their investment portfolio or those with long-term financial obligations or coverage needs, like dependents who require lifelong care. Whole life never expires and comes with a cash value that earns interest in addition to the death benefit payout. Because of that, it’s usually five to 15 times more expensive than traditional term policies. If you’re already maximizing your contributions to tax-advantaged accounts like a Roth IRA or a 401(k) and are seeking another investment option, whole life might work for you.

→ Learn more about whole life insurance

Living benefit riders

Living benefit riders on life insurance are add-ons to your policy that ensure some of your life insurance death benefit is accessible while you’re alive if you meet certain criteria. Most companies offer an accelerated death benefit rider for terminal illness, which allows you to access a portion of your death benefit while still alive if diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness, for free, though each company has its own criteria for when the rider is activated. Most are activated when you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and expected to have six to 24 months to live, depending on the company. Other living benefits riders, including long-term care riders, may not be available to people with MS. 

→ Learn more about life insurance riders 

Life insurance options if you’re denied coverage

Some people with MS will not be able to purchase traditional life insurance due to the progression of the disease. They still may have options for life insurance coverage, however. 

Final expense insurance 

Final expense insurance, also known as burial insurance, is a type of life insurance intended to cover your end-of-life expenses like a funeral or outstanding medical debts. Coverage limits are low, usually maxing out at $25,000. Final expense policies are easier to qualify for than traditional policies if you have MS. There are two types. 

  • Simplified issue life insurance: A type of whole life insurance that doesn’t require a medical exam and instead relies on a medical questionnaire. Simplified issue is more expensive than traditional life. Not everyone with MS will qualify, but some people may be able to get coverage. 

  • Guaranteed issue life insurance: A type of whole life insurance that offers almost-certain approval, as it doesn’t ask medical questions. Premiums are higher than traditional life insurance or simplified issue life insurance. Only people over 45 or 50, depending on the company, can apply for guaranteed issue life insurance. 

Group life insurance

People with MS who do not qualify for traditional term or whole life insurance may still be able to get covered through group life insurance, which is a policy that covers you through work or a trade organization. These policies generally do not have medical requirements, though coverage is usually maxed out at one or two times your salary. 

Other health concerns that can affect your life insurance

Certain pre-existing conditions and other health-related concerns can affect your life insurance options or costs. A Policygenius expert can help you find the right policy for your needs.

Frequently asked questions

Does life insurance pay out for MS?

Yes, if a person dies from complications from MS and they have a life insurance policy, that policy will pay the death benefit to their beneficiary.

Is it possible to get term life insurance with multiple sclerosis?

Yes, a person with MS can get term life insurance, depending on their age of onset, disease progression, current symptoms, and more.

Can I get long-term care insurance if I have MS?

No, people with MS cannot generally qualify for long-term care insurance or for a long-term care rider, which is an add-on to a traditional life insurance policy.

Is MS covered under life insurance?

If a person dies from complications from MS, their life insurance policy will pay their beneficiaries the death benefit.

Is multiple sclerosis considered a critical illness?

Yes, many insurance companies consider MS a critical illness for the purpose of critical illness insurance, which is an optional add-on to a life insurance policy that will pay out in the event of a diagnosis of a critical illness named in the policy. But you would need to have the insurance in place pre-diagnosis in order to file a claim.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

editorial standards.
  1. National MS Society

    . "

    Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)

    ." Accessed January 11, 2023.

Corrections

No corrections since publication.

Author

Logan Sachon is the senior managing editor of life insurance and research at Policygenius, where she edits life insurance content and leads life insurance surveys and data studies. As a journalist, her work has appeared in The Guardian, Business Insider, CNN Money, BuzzFeed, Money Under 30, VICE, New York Magazine, and elsewhere.

Editor

Adam Morgan is an editorial director at Policygenius who leads the life insurance team. Previously, he led editorial teams matrixed across multiple financial publications at Red Ventures — including Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Million Mile Secrets, and others.

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