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Assisted Death and Life Insurance: What You Need to Know

Author: Stevie Rufer
by Stevie Rufer
Posted: Jul 19, 2019

Mortality is a difficult subject for most people to grapple with; no one wants to think about their own death. Occasionally, however, a medically assisted death can be a mercy. In June 2016, the Canadian Parliament passed federal legislation that allows eligible Canadian adults to request medical assistance in dying. This allows for the terminally ill and the suffering to have a choice – a choice for a death with dignity – and thanks to updated life insurance policies, medically assisted deaths will not be ruled as suicides, resulting in life-insurance policy payouts for those who end their lives through medical assistance. Everyone deserves the right to their own body autonomy, and sometimes, this includes the choice to end their own life. If you are struggling with the decision to request medical assistance in dying, know that you are not alone. However, there are stringent eligibility requirements to meet the criteria for assisted death.

Who is Eligible for Medically Assisted Death?

There are certain criteria that must be completely met in order to qualify for doctor-assisted death:

  • You must be eligible for health services funded by the federal government or a province (typically, Canadian visitors are not eligible for doctor-assisted death).
  • You must be at least 18 years old and in possession of your mental faculties. This means having the capability to make your own health care decisions.
  • You must have a grievous and irremediable medical condition (this means that you are in an advanced state of decline that cannot be reversed, you experience unbearable mental or physical suffering that cannot be relieved to a state you consider acceptable, and that your natural death has become reasonable foreseeable).
  • You must make a completely voluntary request for doctor assisted death with no outside influences or pressure.
  • You must give informed consent.

In regards to life insurance, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) stated to provincial officials that, so long as people follow the legislated process in seeking medical assistance in dying (MAID), the CLHIA anticipates that in most instances it would be treated as a normal death for insurance purposes. Thus, doctor-assisted death will usually result in a typical life insurance policy payout.

What Options are There for Assisted Death?

There are two types of medically assisted death in Canada, both of which must include a nurse practitioner or a physician who will:

  1. Directly administer a substance that results in death, like an injection of a drug. This is known as clinician-administered medical assistance in dying and was previously known as voluntary euthanasia.
  2. Prescribes or provides a drug that the eligible person takes themselves. This is now known as self-administered medical assistance in dying and was previously known as medically assisted suicide.

There is no need to be concerned about life insurance policies in regards to assisted death, for although the policies regarding life insurance can be confusing in relation to a medically assisted deaths, they will not be treated as suicides by life insurance providers. Typically, life insurance providers implement a standard two-year exemption for suicides, but since doctor assisted deaths are not classified as suicides by life insurance providers, they will pay out policies for people who end their lives through medically assisted death with no complications.

Is Medically Assisted Death the Right Choice?

There is a lot of context that goes into the decision for medically assisted deaths, and there is no right or wrong answer. What is the correct choice for you may be different for someone else, and vice versa; but to come to a decision with no regrets, it is important that you consider all of the options and learn as much about the process as you can. Medically assisted death is a vital choice for those who are enduring unimaginable suffering and for those who are terminally ill. Life insurance providers see this as well. They know medically assisted death is something that the people want, and so they have tweaked their policies to incorporate this type of death under its own classification. Many people may decide not to have a medically assisted death, but having the option available to them makes all the difference in the world.

To learn more about this and other issues that impact life insurance, visit LSM Insurance.
About the Author

Hi! I'm Stevie, and I'm interested in everything that surrounds the topic of personal finance. I hope my articles will be of some use to my readers!

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Author: Stevie Rufer

Stevie Rufer

Member since: Apr 18, 2019
Published articles: 22

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