By Kim Calder
It’s nearly impossible to qualify for disability or long-term care insurance after being diagnosed with MS.
But life insurance is another matter.
Comparison shopping is a must
The premium for a person with MS will be higher, but the policies are out there. Shopping for the best, most affordable policy can be a time-consuming and complex challenge. A good insurance broker will not only do the research and educate a buyer about appropriate products, but will help with the application process and negotiations.
Licensed independent insurance brokers are professional advisors with expertise in the insurance marketplace. Some focus exclusively on one insurance company’s products and act as sales agents, or “captive” brokers, negotiating, or “brokering,” sales for that company alone. Others develop expertise in specific types of policies, or “niche markets,” for certain types of clients, such as retirees, newlyweds or even people with chronic diseases.
An “impaired risk” broker?
An impaired risk specialist is particularly knowledgeable about what is available for people with health conditions or other risk factors. Some impaired risk brokers are even considered super-specialists, as they specialize in a few specific impairments, such as MS.
If you choose to work with a broker, select one with whom you feel comfortable and prepare to be very candid about your disease and circumstances. A good broker can help you determine if your expectations are realistic, your goals are clear and your timing is right.
Never hesitate to ask a broker for professional references, and check them out.
If someone refers you to one broker in particular, ask why. What did your referral source like about how this broker worked?
The bottom line
It is ultimately your responsibility to understand the terms of your insurance policy, and to make best use of it. Take advantage of the time when your broker is gathering your information and exploring your options to ask lots of questions.
It is not always possible to know what your final rate will be until you apply, but you do have the choice whether or not to accept or keep a life insurance policy during the “free look” period after it is issued.
Kim Calder is director of Insurance Initiatives for the Society.
Program Expands, Involves Local Residents
The B.Fit! Wellness Program, a joint effort of The Boston Home, in Dorchester, Massachusetts and the National MS Society, Greater New England Chapter has expanded by adding two days and tripling the number of participants. B.Fit! provides much-needed therapy and social interaction for individuals with multiple sclerosis living in the community who tend to be isolated at home.
While known for specialized, long-term care of residents, The Boston Home, with the support of the Chapter, has reached out to meet community needs through B.Fit! Coordinated by Glory Wideman-Hughes, B.Fit! offers participants a safe leisure experience in a socially enriching environment. Glory and the participants plan safe, structured, creative activities and identify topics to explore. They learn how to be their own best advocates, finding enrichment from each other as well as from speakers and staff. Participants also gain knowledge about best practices for MS care and often tap into the resources at both The Boston Home and the chapter.
Participants come from metro Boston and as far as Duxbury, Framingham, and Lynn. They travel by personal vans or the MBTA’s The Ride, often accompanied by their caregivers. Program elements include: Wellness( a physical exercise program, games for cognitive function, and nutritional information as well as relaxation techniques to maintain comfort ), Socialization (Relaxed conversation during activities and lunches and shared experiences in a comfortable environment), and Outings (Participants receive a monthly calendar of accessible events in the community. Events have included monthly boat cruises, Harbor Fest, and Night at the Pops), and Access to Resources at The Boston Home (accessible garden, Koi pond, and computer lab, wheelchair assessments and physical therapy programs)
New outpatients are welcome to B.Fit! on a space-available basis. The cost is on a sliding scale, and so far no one has been turned away due to financial limitations.
For more information, please contact Glory Wideman-Hughes at 617.326.4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over 50 professionals attended the day long Psychosocial Intervention in Multiple Sclerosis: Strategies for Mental Health Professionals continuing education conference this spring. Offered in Freeport, Maine, this program was open to social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and other mental health professionals who are then invited to join the Chapter’s wellness referral network. By participating in this program, mental health professionals are better able to help people affected by MS cope with and adapt to the intrusion of MS in their lives.
Cognition, Mood & Fatigue:
A popular symptom management program offered in both Bangor & Brunswick, ME. Over 100 members learned about the sources of cognitive impairment in MS and ways of managing and coping with them. Howard R. Kessler, Ph.D. is a neuropsychologist with over 20 years of clinical experience, practicing in Yarmouth, ME and is an enthusiastic speaker, whose particular interests include assessment and treatment of a variety of developmental, acquired, and progressive neurological diseases including MS. This program will be offered again in September at the Sunday River Resort and Conference Center in Newry, ME. Watch you mailbox for more details this summer.
This spring the chapter offered five Newly Diagnosed Socials for those diagnosed with MS within the last 3 years. On April 24 people attended a luncheon at PapaRazzi’s in Hanover. Along with people recently diagnosed with MS and their guests, were Patricia Messier, RN, MSN from the MS Center at Sturdy Memorial Hospital and Chapter staff. On April 27, 13 people gathered at the Cheesecake Factory in Boston. Jeanne Lewis, RN, MSCN of the MS Center at St. Elizabeth’s and Chapter staff mingled with guests.
Sonya Slifka Residence Dedication
May 13 was the official dedication of the Sonya Slifka Residence at the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, Mass., a unique urban Green House® model of long-term, skilled care.
Special guests were Fred & Gilda Slifka, Richie & Rosalyn Slifka, and other members of the Slifka Family, who contributed generously in honor of their mother Sonya Slifka who had MS, to help fund the extraordinary technology and services at the Residence. Additional funding was received from Black Rock Foundation and Donald C. McGraw Foundation, among others.
Also in attendance were Joyce Nelson, National MS Society President & CEO, Barry Berman of the Leonard Florence Center for Living, and Eli Lipcon, Greater New England Chapter Chairman; plus a large number of Chapter trustees and guests.
Bonnie Berthiaume and Jack Geilfuss, the first two MS occupants to move in, spoke movingly to the audience about their experience living in the Sonya Slifka Residence, and the difference it has made in their lives.
The Chapter made a long-term funding commitment to the Sonya Slifka Residence to offset operational costs, to ensure access to the state of the art technology necessary for maximal independence for each resident, and to work with Residence staff to help them understand the unique care needs of people with multiple sclerosis. The Chapter will also help develop programs and activities for the residents. And, we will continue to work closely with the Leonard Florence Center for Living to identify future occupants of the Sonya Slifka Residence.
MS Week in Jackson
Since May 2006, the inns, restaurants, shops and other businesses in the picturesque mountain village of Jackson, N.H., have been opening their doors and their hearts to welcome hundreds of people who are living with MS and their guests for a few days of rest, relaxation, workshops and social events. This annual week-long event, in collaboration with the Greater New England Chapter, is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to couple MS education with a mini-vacation. This year, the following Inns participated: Carter Notch Inn, Eagle Mountain House, The Inn at Jackson, The Inn at Thorn Hill, Snowflake Inn, The Wentworth, Whitney’s Inn, and Wildcat Inn & Tavern. The week was split into two weekday sessions: Monday through Wednesday and Wednesday through Friday. There were workshops in the morning and social events in the evenings.
MS Education Day
On May 8, more than 50 people affected by MS attended “MS Education Day,” offered in conjunction with the MS Center of Northern New England at Fletcher Allen Health Care. The workshops took place in South Burlington, Vermont, and included an MS research update with Dr. Hillel Panitch, and a presentation on MS and Cognition by Neuropsychologist, Dr. Janice Peyser. The afternoon’s roundtable discussions with area MS specialists were met with enthusiasm by the participants in attendance. This year’s program truly had something for everyone.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Four states, four locations!
- Hilton Garden Inn, Auburn, Maine
- Best Western Royal Plaza, Marlborough, Massachusetts
- Church Landing, Meredith, New Hampshire
- Killington Grand Resort, Killington, Vermont
Save the Date for this free luncheon event to learn more about current MS research directions and the promise of ongoing research! Each location will feature a keynote presentation with an MS researcher. Watch your mailbox for details.