Does Cerebral Palsy Affect Life Insurance?

cerebral paralysis cover photoMost individuals with cerebral palsy are indeed able to qualify for traditional life insurance, which is a type of insurance that requires a medical exam. Life insurance companies, however, can only offer these types of approvals when they are customized to handle high risk insurance cases.

How Much will it Cost?

In the best case scenario, the best possible rating of “mild substandard” may only apply to cerebral palsy cases with mild to moderate cognitive or perceptual involvement.

Symptoms of motor disorder including muscle spasms, cognitive disabilities, and skills impairment should be under control and manageable.

In more severe cases, individuals with extensive motor dysfunction or bone deformities resulting in the inability to care for themselves may only receive a “severe substandard” rating; the worst of cases showing mental or behavioural conditions may automatically receive a decline.

Common Questions Used to Assess Rating

If you are unsure which health class you should quote yourself in (mild or severe substandard), please consider the following questions:

How long has it been since you received your diagnosis for cerebral palsy?

When diagnosed with cerebral palsy in childhood, you will have a well-documented history to provide the most accurate medical evaluation. You will likely have to submit your medical records to the insurance company to decide the applicable rating. Good muscle control with no other health conditions–epilepsy, for example–may give you the best possible rating.

Have you experienced any flare-up symptoms within the last six months?

If so, then flare-up symptoms could point to deteriorating coordination and motor skills or increasing limitation in movement or positioning in the last six months. At this point, the best rating you may likely receive is “severe substandard” or even “decline” in more severe cases.

Are you taking or receiving any medications?

If you are receiving Botulinum toxin injections to decrease muscle spasms, this will likely indicate that you have a serious motor disability, and you may receive a “severe substandard” rating.

Have you had one or multiple surgeries due to your condition?     

If you have a history of surgery to help improve your motor skills or decrease muscle spasms, then that may indicate a severe case, and you will most likely get a “severe substandard” rating. If your condition is worsening, then you may receive a rating of “decline.”

Do you have any other medical conditions?

If you have any other conditions, such as seizures, learning disabilities, or behavioural conditions, associated with cerebral palsy, then you will qualify as having a serious illness and may likely give you an “automatic decline.”

If you still do not know which rating you belong to, we advise that you get an insurance quote at multiple substandard ratings so that you may familiarize yourself with the range of substandard premiums.

Overview of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a non-contagious, non-progressive, and most importantly non-life threatening brain condition that impairs motor function and the body’s development. The cases of this conditions are understood to be mostly congenital in nature and is often diagnosed in childhood.

“Cerebral” in cerebral palsy comes from the cerebrum in the brain, which controls motor function and is where the disorder originates. “Palsy” refers to paralysis, though most cases of cerebral palsy more commonly involve movement or position disorder.

Brain damage from CP can happen at any time during pregnancy, childbirth, or other periods of childhood before the age of three.

In addition to movement or position problems, other symptoms include alterations in sensation, perception, communication, cognition, and sight-based awareness.

Other symptoms seen in CP patients include abnormal muscle tone, control and slouching, impaired reflexes, and uncoordinated motor skills. Bone or joint deformities and contractures are also seen in CP patients, as well as muscle spasms, unsteady gait, involuntary muscle movements, balance issues, and occasionally a noticeable loss in muscle mass.

Secondary conditions associated with CP include epilepsy, apraxia (inability to perform already learned activities), mental retardation, non-epileptic seizures, dysarthria (motor speech impairment), eating problems, learning disabilities, urinary and stool noncompliance, behavioural disorders, and sensory and communication impairments.