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Purchasing life insurance requires time and research to ensure you are getting the best policy for your needs. But as a transgender individual, the process can be a bit more complex.
Do transgender people need special life insurance? And what is the best life insurance for transgender people? Below, we look at these questions and everything you need to know about transgender life insurance.
Does being transgender affect your ability to get life insurance?
Being transgender per se has no impact on life insurance underwriting, according to Ryan Pinney, president of Pinney Insurance Center. You shouldn’t be denied a policy or charged a different rate just because you’re transgender. However, some insurance companies still use the sex assigned at birth to determine the policy rate rather than the person’s sex.
The reason is that they base their risk assessment or underwriting on mortality, says Pinney, which is strongly gendered.
“For example, an individual assigned male at birth transitioning to female still has a prostate, which poses an increased risk of prostate cancer later in life, and individuals assigned female at birth still have an increased risk of osteoporosis,” he explains. Also, men generally have a lower life expectancy than women and generally pay higher life insurance premiums.
Today, however, many life insurance companies accept the gender the applicant identifies with, according to Jeremy Hallett, founder and CEO of Quotacy. The exact underwriting requirements vary by insurer. For example, a few life insurance companies surveyed by Quotacy will use sex at birth unless it has been at least three years since the completion of the sex reassignment operation, in which case they will consider the applicant’s current gender. Other companies interviewed said they would simply recognize the gender the candidate identifies with.
After: The best life insurance companies
Life insurance for transgender people who have already transitioned
Pinney says that being transgender generally poses no additional risk from a life insurance perspective, “but insurance companies will use your personal medical history to make additional decisions.”
Hallet adds that care is taken when assessing mental health and the effects of hormone therapies, which can affect insurance pricing. For example, transgender people are at higher risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and suicide than cisgender people. So, insurance companies will want to review your medical history in detail to determine how diagnoses and treatment history might affect the cost of your life insurance.
It is important to note that a diagnosis of gender dysmorphia is not considered a mental illness and should not affect life insurance rates. That said, each insurance company will assess this information on a case-by-case basis and may request further evaluation by medical professionals.
Life insurance for transgender people in transition
Purchasing life insurance can be a bit trickier if you’re in transition.
“Most, if not all, insurance companies will postpone offering coverage if gender-affirming surgeries are pending until surgery and recovery are complete,” Hallet says.
This is because there is an inherent risk associated with surgery of any kind. Since life insurance companies are responsible for assessing mortality risk, they will want to wait until you have recovered from surgery before issuing a policy to ensure there is no complications. So if you have gender-affirming surgery scheduled in the future, you probably won’t be approved for a policy until the surgery is complete.
In some cases, you may need to provide an attestation from the attending physician (APS). This is a letter from a physician that provides a professional assessment of your health and additional context or details about a medical condition. It is often necessary for life insurance applicants who are undergoing specialized medical treatment.
If you’re worried about a delay in coverage, the good news is that you may be able to purchase term life insurance to fill the gap. This covers you for the period between the policy application and its approval. In other cases, the insurance company may backdate your policy.
Facing discrimination when applying for life insurance
Although life insurance companies are expected to evaluate all applicants equally, discrimination can occur.
There are federal laws that specifically protect transgender people from discrimination in relation to health insurance, Hallet says. Life insurance, on the other hand, is less clear. And the protections in place vary by state. Some have clear anti-discrimination laws in place, while others institute protections that may or may not include life insurance. Fortunately, other laws are being introduced to ensure that transgender life insurance applicants are treated fairly.
For example, Hallet says the state of Delaware has current penalties to protect against unfair discrimination in the value of insurance policies and premiums based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. “Gender identity” is defined as “a person’s gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth”.
New Jersey has prepared a bill for the 2022 session to prohibit unfair discrimination in the issuance or pricing of life insurance policies based on transgender status or certain gender identity information. .
This means that choosing the right insurance company is key.
In a 2022 survey of over 500 members of the LGBTQ+ community by Bestow, it is clear that the LGBTQ+ community prioritizes end-of-life planning, with 63% of respondents having life insurance, a will or long-term care insurance.
“If you’re transgender, it’s important to work with an agent or broker who has access to many companies and can help trans people navigate the underwriting process in the most effective and efficient way,” says Pinney. . “The best advisors and brokers will understand the transgender community, be able to provide pricing from multiple companies, and advise which companies and products individuals should select.”
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