Wednesday, April 01, 2015

ADHD and Mortalit ... Hey look, a squirrel!

So, one of my favorite medbloggers, Dr Kevin Pho, has an interesting post up at his blog about ADHD and early death. Written by Dr Claudia Gold, it's about a recent study that purports to show that "diagnosis with ADHD doubles the risk of early death." Dr Gold then goes on to discuss the clinical issues involved (although not clinically - it's actually a very fascinating article, and well worth the read).

I had an immediate, visceral reaction though: as always when reading these kinds of articles linking Condition X to increased mortality risk, I tend to say "show me the money." That is, the folks who have the most to lose (or gain) from this type of information are those whose actual money is at risk: life insurance carriers.

I quickly checked a couple different life insurance apps; none of them mentioned ADHD by name or acronym. Of course, they all ask about meds, so if one was on Ritalin, for example, then that condition would likely show up.

So, I reached out to one of our esteemed underwriters to see what affect, if any, such information would play in determining insurability. After all, the insurance company stands to make (or lose) a lot of money if they misunderstand the underlying issues.

The good news is that, in and of itself, ADHD is not generally a disqualifying condition, although depending on severity, one's rate may be better or worse than someone without the condition. What was interesting, though, and echoed Dr Gold's take, is that there are often other conditions, such as anxiety or depression, that are often associated with an ADHD case, and that these could very easily affect an underwriters decision.

Folks whose ADHD is well controlled, and who are stable as a result, have little to worry about, especially as adult. Where it gets dicey is in children (and, one presumes, especially teens, although I didn't specifically ask about them).

The bottom line, then, is that the ADHD iteslf is unlikely to be much of a challenge, it's the associated conditions that could cause an underwriter to balk.

Something to consider next time you're shopping for life insurance.
blog comments powered by Disqus