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In today’s modern world, luckily there is increased awareness about mental health. Raising awareness has not only helped to reduce social stigma around mental health, it has also helped to boost tech-based innovation that can help those struggling with certain illnesses.
Despite this, mental illness can take a huge toll on a person’s life, as well as on their loved ones. Mental health issues can prevent people from living a positive, fulfilling life, and even lead to increased physical health risks or suicide.
So what does it mean for your insurance if you’re going through mental health challenges or struggles? This guide on how mental health can affect insurance cover will look at the different challenges faced when seeking insurance, your rights, and how to choose the right coverage.
Mental Health: What Is It?
A mental health condition is best described as any health problem that is likely to affect your overall well being, including your emotions and thinking behaviors. Symptoms may include stress, anxiety, mood changes, fear, anger, and depression.
Examples of mental health conditions include:
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
It is recommended that you get diagnosed by a professional if you’re suffering from a mental health condition. Information obtained from a practitioner is essential in figuring out how best to overcome and manage the mental health issue, as well as when looking into the process of applying for life insurance.
Challenges mental health patients are likely to face when looking for insurance coverage
Unfortunately, as a mental health patient, it is not always straightforward, and you’re likely to face some hurdles when looking for the appropriate insurance coverage:
Being classified as high-risk or low-risk customers
Underwriters can approve or reject your application and classify you as a high or low-risk customer. If you’re currently on multiple medications or are suffering from health conditions related to mental health, or have been hospitalized following a mental illness, or have a stained history of suicide, you might be categorized in the high-risk class. That way, your life insurance or health insurance quote will be much higher.
Being charged higher premiums
The chances of getting charged more if your mental condition renders you unable to work are higher. During the application process, underwriters may give you two options of selecting either employed or unemployed. Premium rates for unemployed insurance seekers are usually higher.
Other probable mental health insurance coverage challenges
- There is no guarantee you’ll get the coverage you’re looking for. At the moment, not many insurers cover pre-existing medical conditions (mental health included). If they do, they include so many restrictions about what they may or may not cover in terms of mental health.
- The insurance company will, in most cases, fail to disclose its decision-making process. When you are charged a high premium or denied insurance coverage, the insurance provider does not give the reasons.
- The application process can be tedious, especially if it exposes your mental health condition. You may find it challenging to pay attention to every detail in the fill-out forms.
How to find the right insurance cover?
The journey to finding the appropriate coverage can be frustrating, but there are many avenues to take. When you decide to pursue insurance cover, it should be a thought-out plan and not a rush decision. The following steps could help find just what you’re looking for:
#1. Learn about different insurance providers
Different insurance providers offer unique packages and may have some reservations dealing with persons with mental health issues. You can find out whether a company covers your specific problem by contacting them directly or requesting a quote from their website.
Look at what different companies are offering, and make a comparison to check the one offering what you’re looking for. Many health insurance companies now cover therapy, so it’s worth checking the insurance policy you’re on to see what it covers. The best insurance companies are listed online, and you can get as much information about them from the insurers’ directory.
#2. Look for a specialist provider
Despite the mental health insurance coverage challenges you may be facing, some companies specialize in providing cover for persons with pre-existing medical conditions. When finding a suitable insurer for mental health proves difficult or unaffordable, you can try getting insurance coverage from a specialist provider.
#3. Check details of the small print
Go through your policy to the last detail, and make sure you fully comprehend what it covers. Find out if it covers pre-existing conditions, how much you’ll be expected to pay as the excess fee, and contact the insurer with questions about what you do not understand.
#4. Inquire about reasonable adjustments
Insurers are required under the Equality Act of 1982 to make the necessary adjustments to their policies to accommodate all citizens. If you cannot easily find insurance due to your mental condition, ask different providers to make reasonable adjustments for your situation.
Reasonable adjustments may include; allowing you to apply via written documents instead of doing it online, allowing a third party (spouse, close friend, or a lawyer) to be involved in the application process, or extending deadlines for filling out forms if your mental condition does not allow you to do it within the stipulated period.
#5. Avail your doctor’s report
To make the process of applying for insurance coverage easier in your condition, ask your psychiatrist or doctor to provide a detailed report explaining your condition. Providing this report means the insurance company will have the most up-to-date information about your condition.
#6. Contact a lawyer
When your mental health condition makes it hard for you to find a suitable insurance coverage, you may seek assistance from an advocate. They can help you through the application process and ensure your views are considered comprehensively. They will be handy in case of a legal claim.
We hope the above tips will go a long way in helping you land an insurance coverage that fully caters to your needs. While mental health awareness is growing, we can all do more to educate ourselves and others. With proper education, we can help ourselves or loved ones find coping mechanisms to help lead a healthy, happy life.