Postpartum Depression and Life Insurance

No one likes to think about life insurance. Especially when they are young and planning a family.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Ron Lieber, columnist for The Wall Street Journal (and a very nice man!) who was interested in exploring the implications of PPD and life insurance. In today’s Wall Street Journal, his column was titled: “Life Insurance: How to Avoid a Rude Surprise.

His opening sentence presents the problem: “Lots of people buy their first life insurance policy when they have their first child.”

Women are discovering that sometimes they are paying higher premiums if they were treated for postpartum depression because they are considered to carry an elevated suicide risk.

He proposes a straight-forward, sensible solution: “Shop for life insurance before you attempt to conceive, and get a policy where the premium is guaranteed to stay the same.”

Some insurance companies, he notes, do consider a number of factors when evaluating the risk, including: how recent, severe and longlasting the condition was or is.” He emphasizes that every company is different so it’s important to shop around to familiarize yourself with specific policies. In addition, therapists may be able to assist this process if they can supply a letter stating when a woman’s treatment ended, emphasizing her recovery.

His final statement is our best lesson:

“Try to plan your pregnancy, and plan to get your life insurance ahead of time so that postpartum depression plays no role in the price you pay.”

Thanks, Ron, for the heads up!

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