Parkinson’s Disease and Life Insurance

Parkinson’s Disease and Life Insurance

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, primarily affecting voluntary, controlled movement. It results from the loss of cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. These cells are responsible for producing the neurotransmitter chemical, dopamine, which acts as a messenger between the cells of the brain that control the body’s movements.

Nearly 100,000 Canadians have Parkinson’s. The estimated prevalence rate (the number of people living with Parkinson’s at any one time) is 100 to 200/100,000 population, with an incidence rate (number of people newly diagnosed each year) of 10 to 20/100,000.Eighty-five percent of those diagnosed are over the age of 65 and that age group is predicted to rise dramatically over the next 30 years from 11.6% to 23.6% of the population, increasing the expected incidence of Parkinson’s disease significantly.

Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed through clinical assessment based on the symptoms described by the patient and a complete neurologic examination by the physician. There are no blood tests or diagnostic imaging currently available to definitively confirm its presence. In some people, diagnosis is made easier by the presentation of the classic signs of a tremor at rest on one side of the body, slowed movements (bradykinesia) and stiffness or rigidity. Two of the three must be present to make the diagnosis. Postural instability, a later sign of Parkinson’s, is a balance disorder, which can result in frequent falls. Other symptoms can include depression and anxiety, masked facial features, handwriting difficulties, diminished voice volume and monotone voice, constipation,increase in urinary problems, orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon rising from a seated position), fatigue and sleep disorders, and non-specific sensory symptoms such as numbness, pain, burning sensation and restlessness.

There have been cases where certain applicants with PD have received standard rates (i.e the same rate a person without PD would receive).

In the more advanced PD cases the insured would likely be better off going with a Guaranteed Issue policy. These policies only ask a selected number of health questions and there are no medical requirements. Most of the plans do not have a question related to PD. The one big caveat is the death benefit might be only limited to a return of premium plus interest in the first two policy years.

Assumption Life has unique program called Golden Protection which provides up to $50,000 of coverage on a guaranteed issue basis with no questions related to PD. It should be noted the application does ask if the insured has been declined for insurance in the last 2 years.

A smart solution option: A strategy we have used with several of our clients is to apply for the Assumption Life plan first and put it in your back pocket with a consolation that you have some insurance. If the insured gets a better rate elsewhere great but if he/she is declined the Assumption Life plan is already in force.

Non-Medical Life Insurance: Buying a life insurance policy often comes with quite a bit of paperwork, and one of those forms asks questions about your medical history. You have to fill out these forms if you want to qualify for the life insurance policy. However, some people aren’t going to qualify for these policies because of their medical history or condition, and this can jeopardize their family’s financial security in the event of their death. It might seem like all hope is lost, but it’s not! You have the option of non medical life insurance that don’t require a medical exam.
Guaranteed Issue Policies: Many different types of life insurance are available throughout Canada and through a variety of different companies. Some people may not be able to qualify for traditional life insurance, so they need to find a policy that they can get. Guaranteed issue life insurance can be a great option for many people. However, it’s not always the right fit for all people. To know if this type of insurance is the best choice for you, it helps to learn more about it so you can see the pros and cons.

Please feel free to contact Aman Kapur at or by phone 1-416-509-2540 to assist with the plan of your choice. Or simply click here to request a quote.

Related Articles:

Parkinson’s Disease : social and Economic Impact ( from Health Canada/ Parkinson’s Society of Canada- June 2003)


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