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Life Insurance: How To Buy Despite A Health History

Obtaining Life Insurance Through An Employer

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If you are able to work, employers are a great source of life insurance with no questions asked. Generally group policies issued through an employer are issued without medical evidence of insurability. There are no questions and no physical exam.

Current Employer

Even if your employer offers insurance and you previously turned it down, look for an "open enrollment period". Open enrollment is a period during which any employee can re-examine his or her benefit decisions (including about life insurance). During an open enrollment period, you can generally either decide to obtain coverage that you previously declined or perhaps increase coverage you already have.

Open enrollment periods are set by the insurance company or employer and can occur as frequently as every year.

Don't hesitate to ask your employer if there is an open enrollment period coming up.

Note: If your employer is unaware of your illness, you may wish to ask about open enrollment anonymously or through your advisor.

A New Employer

The larger the employer, including many government agencies, the more likely life insurance will be offered as a benefit to employees - and the less likely there will be restrictions for pre-existing conditions.

Large employers require people who perform just about every type of job -- including those we usually think of as typically being performed independently rather than as employees (such as gardeners) or for small employers that don't have health insurance (such as bartending.)

As you will read in our discussion about the Americans With Disabilities Act, you do not have to disclose your health condition when looking for a new job. Also, if you have health insurance now through work, and don't have a lapse of more than 63 days until your new coverage starts, thanks to HIPAA, you will be able to credit the amount of time you had your old coverage against any pre-existing condition waiting period a new employer imposes.

For tips on how to handle obtaining information about a new employer's benefits without divulging your health status, see: Seeking A New Job.

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