After having my daughter, I immediately began to plan for her future and saving for her education. Being the planner that I am, I also created a will and starting searching for good life insurance companies so that if anything ever happened to me, she would be taken care. That’s all we want for our children isn’t it? To be taken care of? After spending time of the interest requesting quotes and talking to representatives who assured me that the process would be easy, I felt confident that as a healthy person, I would be able to obtain life insurance for my daughter. But I was wrong, and the result has let me to fight even harder for insurance coverage for those who suffer and have suffered for eating disorders. After hours spent on the phone with the insurance company, going over my health history, being as honest as I could be (as an attorney’s daughter, I’m well aware of the implications of lying to the insurance company about your health history), I was ready for the physical exam. When the nurse stopped by my house, after cooing at my young daughter she let me know that she would submit the information to the insurance company and added that I seemed like a healthy individual and wished me the best.
After a follow-up call from the insurance company letting me know that my application was being processed, I played the waiting game only to walk out to my mail box a few weeks later to find a letter from the company denying my request. Their reasoning? To quote the letter exactly “Your history of depression, anxiety and an eating disorder.” Even after the denial the insurance company kept calling me to follow-up with me. I “kindly reminded” them that they had denied me and on what basis. Thier response? “That doesn’t seem like something we would deny coverage on.” My response. “Well apparently you do.”
As devastated as I was I surely thought that if I called another company I would get different results…again a few weeks after the physical exam I received a denial letter stating “We are denying your request for life insurance based on your history with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder.”
At this point I’m beyond frustrated but after talking with my dad and venting my frustrations that I only wanted my daughter to be taken care of, he suggested I approach an insurance agent. I did and after meeting with him and disclosing everything regarding what has transpired with previous life insurance companies. He told me that he would call around, make the companies aware of my history and see if he could find someone to provide coverage. Needless to say I was hopeful when he told me that he had a company who said despite my past history of “depression, anxiety and an eating disorder,” they would review my information. After a 2 hour phone conversation with the representative, I awaited to schedule my physical exam. But the physical exam never happened. As I took my daughter for a walk one afternoon, I checked my mail box; in it was a letter from the insurance company denying my request for life insurance–wait for it–“based on your disclosed history of depression, anxiety and an eating disorder.”
Really? Do all of these companies have the same person writing their denial letters? After talking to my insurance agent he informed me that this particular company told him that I should contact them in another five years. Short answer. No.
After all I have accomplished in my recovery, after all I have worked for and all of the hope that I have seen this was like taking a dagger to the heart. Because the coverage is not for me, it is not for my benefit, it is to assure that my daughter will be taken care of is something ever happens to me.
The reality is I know I am not the only one who has received denial after denial from life insurance companies, my story is not unique. As advocates we need to remind our leaders that denial is not just happening when you struggle with an eating disorder or any other mental health issue, it’s happening after you recover.
I’m still hopeful that I will be able to obtain life insurance for my daughter. And I will continue to fight for better insurance coverage for those who suffer with eating disorders. Again, my story is not unique, it’s just one of many.