Mental illness is considered the most widespread health complication among adults in the United States. Unfortunately, mental illness prevention and treatment is not given the attention it deserves or the degree of attention as given to cardiovascular disease and other associated progressive illnesses.
The lack of attention on mental illness may be due to the fact that mental illness rarely results in death whereas other conditions, such as cardiovascular complications, can result in increased mortality rates. However, with over $400 billion spent each year on mental health treatments, this health complication leads to decreased quality of life and decreased independence with age.
If you are have been diagnosed with a mental illness, and you are applying for insurance, such as health or life insurance, it is important to include your pre-existing mental illness in the scope of your application. Because premiums and costs for health insurance and life insurance are often based, in part, on your life expectancy, your mental illness may have an impact on those premiums.
Using a calculation of modified life expectancy, known as Disability Adjusted Life Year, DALY, the insurance underwriting department may want to adjust your normal life expectancy to the reduced number of years expected when suffering from a mental illness. Because mental illness often leads to disability earlier in life, the age of disability often correlates with an early death and shortened life span. Of the many mental illnesses that must be considered, schizophrenia or spectrum disorders associated with schizophrenia, are believed to create the greatest complication among those with mental illness disorders.
With the involvement of the World Health Organization, World Bank and professionals at Harvard School of Public Health, the use of the DALY life expectancy calculation has become increasingly more common with many financial organizations also considering the reduced life expectancy calculation. However, with HIPAA regulations, your medical history must be approved for release to financial organizations. As a result, it is important to consider the release of information carefully.
In the varying aspects of mental health, it is expected that nearly 30 percent of the adult population will suffer from one disorder or another. As the most widespread illness among adults in the United States, the implications in terms of healthcare are quite significant. When considering your financial and insurance options, it may be important to use the DALY life expectancy calculation if you suffer from a mental illness that may be debilitating in the future.