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Bipolar Disorder and Income Protection Insurance

Last modified: 4 Feb 2014

Exactly what is Bipolar Disorder?

Previously referred to as manic depression, bipolar disorder brings mood swings of the extreme kind. Suffers experience cycles of mood swings that range from depression to manic. It affects the normal brain functioning as a result of a brain chemical imbalance. There are two main types of bipolar disorder.

Sufferers of Bipolar I kind of disorder experience more of extreme highs lasting longer, plus some depression episodes. Bipolar II has episodes of depression with highs that are less extreme lasting a few days or hours. Cyclothymic disorder is milder form of bipolar disorder, moods less severe and short. Of course there are other bipolar disorders that cannot be specified as they don’t fit into the main categories, but they remain classified under bipolar disorders.

Which are the common symptoms of bipolar disorders?

Can bipolar disorder be treated?

Bipolar disorder can be managed and treated. Methods of treatment include a combination and mix of medicines that will help the brain to restore its normal chemical balance and therefore control the mood swings. The other method is support programs in and through the community.

1 in 100 persons will at one stage of their life experience bipolar disorder. About 1% of females and 0.7% of males aged between 18 and 24 have experienced bipolar disorder during the last 12 months in Australia. In Australia, bipolar disorder is ranked as the 9th leading contributing factor to the overall burden of injury and disease in females between 15 and 24, and 10th leading contributor among males of same age bracket.

It is therefore important for all Australians and bipolar sufferers in particular to take out protective insurance cover in the event of temporary, permanent disability or death arising from bipolar disorder.

Is it possible to take income protection when I have bipolar disorder?

Traditionally, mental illness sufferers were considered too risky by many insurance providers. Since 2001, however, all stakeholders have come together to improve on this leading to the development of guidelines to guide the whole industry. Nevertheless, for persons with bipolar disorder it still does have its own special factors and conditions to be taken into consideration. This is because you are seen as an increased risk of making claims in the future. This means that though you won’t necessarily be denied access to insurance cover, but that providers will attach different conditions and terms.

Should I inform the insurer about my disorder?

If you suffer from bipolar disorder and you apply for life insurance or income protection insurance cover, it is vital that when you apply, you disclose the condition. The duty of disclosure demands that you disclose all to enable the provider to make the correct assessment and also provide you with better services and packages for your condition like therapy. Non disclosure may impact negatively on claims or make the policy void. Be upfront from the beginning,

What happens when my application is declined due to my condition?

If you ever believe that an insurance provider has not handled or treated you well and fairly as a result of your illness, you or your representative can request for a review of the decision. Other channels include appealing against the decision, getting a different service provider, contacting the Mental Health Council of Australia, complaint submission under Disability Act of 1992, and going before the Australian Human Rights Commission.

For one who is suffering from bipolar disorder and wanting to buy income protection or life insurance cover, the best approach would be to consult an insurance adviser. These advisers know the market and industry very well and all the available range of products. They will know providers who will be likely to offer the level of cover their specific needs require. They will guide one to the most appropriate and suitable option for their specific situation



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