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Choosing Life Insurance

How to Get Life Insurance as a Veteran with PTSD


There are an estimated 12 million people living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the United States — and our military brothers and sisters are more likely to develop PTSD than the general population. In fact, an estimated seven out of every 100 Veterans (7%) will develop PTSD at some time in their lives. The percentage is even higher for women (13%) and for those who use VA medical care (27%). Those who are diagnosed with this condition, or their loved ones, may wonder if life insurance coverage is available for them? The resounding answer is yes — no matter if they are a Veteran or still serving.

AAFMAA strives to understand the complexities of this condition and how it affects each individual differently. We realize that no two cases are the same, and we do our best to assess and underwrite the individual and not the diagnosis.

Items that we consider during case evaluation include the date of diagnosis, the severity of the individual’s PTSD (mild, moderate, or severe), and if there are any co-occurring conditions such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. Ultimately, we look for an individual’s stability, adherence to a treatment plan, and if there is overall improvement if the person needs medication and therapy. Although we may not be able to issue every policy, most mild and moderate cases can be approved. If we are unable to place an underwritten policy, we will always provide the requirements that need to be met and a timeframe for reconsideration. Additionally, for some, our guaranteed acceptance coverage may be a better solution as it does not require any medical underwriting.

To clarify what goes into the life insurance underwriting process, Sarah Bumgardner, AAFMAA Director Partnership and Member Engagement, spoke with Clifton Brown, AAFMAA Vice President of Life Insurance, and Jessica Nadrchal, AAFMAA Underwriting Team Lead. Brown has been in the insurance industry for 33 years and helps servicemembers and their families understand life insurance. Nadrchal has 20 years experience in life insurance underwriting, and is focused on behavioral health as her underwriting strength.

During the discussion, Bumgardner, Brown and Nadrchal tackle the stigma surrounding PTSD. The conversation also explains how life insurance underwriting considers medical information regarding PTSD from servicemembers and whether a PTSD diagnosis could impact those who might already have a life insurance policy and decide they need more coverage. Watch the video for the full discussion and for resources available to those with PTSD seeking life insurance coverage.

At AAFMAA, our goal is to help every Member live their best life. Living with past trauma can be difficult, daunting, and stigmatizing, but applying for a life insurance policy should be none of these things. We provide upfront answers and transparency, and we will work with you to understand your story and to provide an honest and balanced assessment. Each application is assessed on its own merits and confidentiality is key.

We are honored to serve those who have served us. PTSD can be managed, treatment can be successful, and one can truly have a better quality of life. If you or a loved one is living with and managing PTSD under the care of a medical professional and have had difficulty getting life insurance coverage, contact us at 866-631-1319 to discuss what options might be available to you from AAFMAA.

Need help managing your or a loved one’s PTSD? Please call the VA Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. Or dial 988 and press #1. Enrollment in VA benefits or healthcare is not required to receive assistance.

This article was originally published June 6, 2023.