In the summer of 2014, social media was ablaze with the ALS ice bucket challenge which raised upwards of $41 million for ALS research.
There are google pictures of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, (and yours truly to top the list), dumping a bucket of ice and water atop their heads to help raise money and awareness for the most worthy ALS charity.
It is now an annual event.
But most people who competed in the ALS ice bucket challenge, just thought it was fun—they didn’t really know much about ALS and still don’t.
Therefore, the purpose of this life insurance article on ALS is the following:
- to give a summary of ALS, types of ALS, and ALS symptoms, and
- to discuss how ALS impacts life insurance.
If you would like to proceed with getting life insurance quotes instead of reading the remainder of this article on ALS and life insurance, you can generate your own life insurance quotes from up to 20 A-rated companies right here.
So, what is ALS?
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease because of the famous Yankee baseball player who was stricken with the ailment, “is a specific disease which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles. ALS is characterized by stiff muscles, muscle twitching, and gradually worsening weakness due to muscles decreasing in size. This results in difficulty speaking, swallowing, and eventually breathing.” (credits here).
Most people develop ALS between the ages of 40 and 55 which is the age group I write about, Generation X.
The average life expectancy for someone stricken with ALS is 2 to 5 years.
It is estimated that only around 30,000 Americans currently have ALS.
There is no known cure for ALS—there are treatments that slow down the progression of the disease, albeit slightly, however.
Famous people who died from or currently have ALS include Lou Gehrig (Yankee baseball great), theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and former NFL professional football players Steve Gleason and Tim Shaw.
It is a ghastly disease, and you can make donations to the ALS Association to further research and to find a cure for ALS right here.
According to this source, there are primarily two types of ALS:
- “Sporadic ALS is the most common form. It affects up to 95% of people with the disease. Sporadic means it happens sometimes without a clear cause.
- Familial ALS (FALS) runs in families. About 5% to 10% of people with ALS have this type. FALS is caused by changes to a gene. Parents pass the faulty gene to their children. If one parent has the gene for ALS, each of their children will have a 50% chance of getting the gene and having the disease.”
It is still unknown what exactly causes ALS—that’s why donations to further ALS research are so important.
The early symptoms of ALS include the following:
- “Difficulty walking or doing your normal daily activities
- Tripping and falling
- Weakness in your leg, feet or ankles
- Hand weakness or clumsiness
- Slurred speech or trouble swallowing
- Muscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulders and tongue
- Difficulty holding your head up or keeping good posture” (credits here).
As the disease progresses, ALS sufferers will experience the following:
- “Breathing problems—Over time, ALS paralyzes the muscles you use to breathe. Some people with advanced ALS choose to have a tracheostomy — a surgically created hole at the front of the neck leading to the windpipe (trachea) — for full-time use of a respirator that inflates and deflates their lungs.
- Eating problems—People with ALS can develop malnutrition and dehydration from damage to the muscles that control swallowing. They are also at higher risk of getting food, liquids or saliva into the lungs, which can cause pneumonia. A feeding tube can reduce these risks and ensure proper hydration and nutrition.
- Dementia—Some people with ALS experience problems with memory and making decisions, and some are eventually diagnosed with a form of dementia called frontotemporal dementia.” (credits here).
The fatality rate for ALS is 100% as a result of the disease itself or a condition caused by the disease.
So, what about ALS and Life Insurance?
Because the life expectancy of someone with ALS is just two to five years, a traditional life insurance policy is not possible.
The only option available for life insurance for someone diagnosed with ALS is a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
With guaranteed issue life insurance, you are guaranteed to get the life insurance policy as long as you submit the application and make the life insurance premium payments. There are no health questions in guaranteed issue life insurance applications.
Guaranteed issue life insurance policies max out typically at about $25,000 so they are small life insurance policies designed to pay for burial and final expenses.
You can learn more specifically about guaranteed issue life insurance at the article here.
The three companies that I believe do a good job with guaranteed issue life insurance are the following:
- United Home Life
- Gerber Life
- Mutual of Omaha.
If you have ALS and need life insurance, I suggest that you start and end your search for life insurance with the three companies listed above.
I hope this has been a helpful article on what ALS is, and how ALS impacts life insurance.
As discussed above, the only option for life insurance for ALS sufferers currently is guaranteed issue life insurance.
If you have ALS and would like quotes for guaranteed issue life insurance, call me at (615) 525-6165, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me through linkedin.com.
If you would like to help find a cure for ALS, please make a donation to the ALS Association here.
Until next time and until next life insurance article,
Life Insurance Agent for Generation X
Weigel Insurance Agency