View Full Version : Insurance for Inmates Need your input


chi-fil
02-12-2009, 01:07 PM
I work for an insurance company and have for almost 20 years. My husband is incarcerated and has been for 21 years. I am currently working with the development of new products and am seeking ideas. I am always reading questions from people online asking about insurance for inmates and wondered if you would be willing to send me your thoughts, ideas, suggestions.
I would really like to see the company I work for develop a product that would be beneficial for inmates and their families. The company I work for has been an established and reputable insurance company since the early 1940s. It began as a family-owned business and we truly care about our customers. I would never hesitate to recommend this company to a friend. I realize we have a lot on us in our daily lives, carrying a lot of burdens alone. I also think, for me, and others who have shared their thoughts, having the knowledge that you could deal with an honest company who cares, would be so wonderful. It would be a financial blessing to be able to carry insurance coverage on your loved one. I know that having to deal with the prison systems and all the frustrations that go along with our situations, anything can help. We need something positive to happen for us. I think it would be wonderful to have a quality product to offer to inmates, from a company that can be trusted...If you would like to send me your ideas, thoughts, needs, anything that would help me in my research and development it would be wonderful. No idea is too insignificant to share.

Thank you and God Bless.

Waiting4MyLuv
02-12-2009, 03:23 PM
I think this could be a good idea, providing that the cost isn't too much and they're able to be treated by outside doctors. Getting DOC to go along with this would be a headache, though.

merrysunshine
02-12-2009, 05:54 PM
i don't think doc would go for it. it would mean more work for them. and we all know with them it's all about doing as little as possible.:mad:

Mark2008
02-12-2009, 09:16 PM
Are you talking about health insurance, life insurance or something else?

My parents purchased a life insurance policy on me when I was an infant. Had I died in prison, it still would have been payable. I had no need for any other sort of insurance while inside.

I'm not sure how the health insurance would work. States (or the federal government for federal inmates) are responsible for all health care for inmates. There is a small co-pay for inmates who do have money, but if an inmate does not have money, they cannot be denied treatment. Heck, people sometimes commit crimes simply to get locked up so they can get some sort of surgery or major procedure done that they cannot afford in the outside world.

In no circumstance does one have the right to go to an outside doctor. Remember, while in custody you are the property of the state, just like a head of cattle.

Besides, setting up that sort of insurance plan would create a tier system between inmates who could afford it (very small percentage) and inmates who cannot (majority). Not at all sure how that could work. But maybe I'm not understanding your question/topic.

chi-fil
02-13-2009, 05:16 AM
I am sorry, I didn't make myself clean. I am NOT talking about medical/health insurance. Believe me, after 21 years of dealing with the DOC there is nothing you can tell me that I don't know. Also, after working for an insurance company for 20 years, I know the insurance industry. I know trends, product development and what has and has not changed.
I also know I've seen and read where many families seek ways to have life insurance on their incarcerated loved one, myself included. What the insurance industry is currently researching, the company I work for included, is how to offer a wife, mother, loved one, the security of having an insurance policy on their family member. Yes, there are insurance products that are underwritten and require medical exams for proof of eligibility, but, there are some level term products that are not underwritten. I wasn't really looking for what this would do or cause the DOC, though I do appreciate your comments, I am looking for comments, reasons, needs from people who want to provide life insurance for their loved one and are seeking ways, means to do that.
So, back to my original question: If you have searched, looked or would be interested in having life insurance coverage for your inmate, could you just express that for me. I'm not looking for personal information, or contact information. This is just in the ideation stage for us and research is just now beginning.

Thanks for all your responses. They will be recorded. I appreciate your interest.

Mark2008
02-13-2009, 05:55 AM
Sorry, still not following you exactly.

Are you suggesting life insurance policies that pay out in the event the person dies while inside? If so, how would this differ from any other life insurance policy?

Or are you suggesting some sort of prison insurance, that would pay the family a certain benefit amount if the primary wage-earner becomes incarcerated and unable to support his/her family? I can't fathom anyone purchasing such a policy, because no one ever thinks it will happen to them..... until it does.

chi-fil
02-13-2009, 06:32 AM
How this would differ is, if you have a person who is currently incarcerated and he/she does not have life insurance, you cannot purchase life insurance. There are numerous families (especially wives with children to feed, educate, provide for) who would like to have a life insurance policy on their incarcerated loved one, but simply cannot buy it, because currently, insurance companies will not cover a person who is in prison. The individual has to be out of prison for at least five years. The trick is, if the inmate dies while in prison, what would/would not be coverable. That is why I say there is tremendous research to be done, but before insurance companies will even begin to pay for the Actuarial depts to do research to try and develop a product, there must be a need. I know there is a need and I know I'm not alone. I have a husband who has been incarcerated for 21 years, he takes extremely could care of himself, his health. While inside, he has never had any trouble, been in any problems, has a clean record, but I have no life insurance coverage on him. If he were to die, I will be left with nothing. I have to fund his funeral, everything. I don't mean to sound morbid, I pray that won't happen, I pray he makes parole soon, but, even if he does, in today's world, no insurance company will touch him for five more years. Hope this helps you understand the need.

Mark2008
02-13-2009, 11:25 AM
OK, so you would offer the policy to families covering an inmate AFTER he is incarcerated? Interesting idea. Might get some takers, depending on the price. By the time some of these families get done paying lawyers and trying to make ends meet on one less income, sometimes there isn't much money left over for anything. Worth investigating.

chi-fil
02-13-2009, 12:41 PM
As I said, we have been involved with the DOC for more than 20 years, I'm very much aware of the expenses families have to fight. But, I also know there is a temendous need for any means of financial security. I don't know if anything will happen with this idea, but the need is tremendous. Thankfully, I've always been able to support myself comfortably, lived close to where my husband is incarcerated, so there are no travel expenses as many others have, but, I know there are many hardships related to this horrible life and anything that can be done to provide assistance would be wonderful. You know some people are looking at 3-4 years, 5-10 years, but when you are looking at life, it is a horrible tragedy for everyone concerned. There are many programs for victims, as there should be, there just aren't many at all for the family of the offender, even though they are victims too. So, hopefully, even if the company I work for doesn't get anything going, someone somewhere will...

krainium
02-13-2009, 01:59 PM
I would love to have my husband covered under my insurance, he has medical problems that aren't being addressed while in prison. I too think the DOC would never go for it because it's part of their punishment, most things are denied sometimes even proper medical care. My husband had a sinus infection for over a year, something that could have been cleared up with simple anti biotics- but the medics kept dismissing it until it was severe. The public (those who aren't personally touched by having a loved one in prison) will also not go for it because most feel like if your in prison you should suffer- but it's still an idea I would welcome.

Maya2007
02-13-2009, 02:33 PM
This is what I don't understand about DOC and their punishment for people who do the crime. yes I do beleive you do the crime you do the time to a certain extent.... BUT.... BUT ... If someone does a crime that is nonviolent an ends up in prison .. .while he/she is in prison and they denied the proper health care because DOC is punishing them. Is it a right for DOC to punish someone by denying a proper healthcare especially someone who did nonviolent crime and this punishment leads to complication and/or death? I know they need to be punish but to punish them enough to cause complication or death? Eventhough most of the offender did not commit a violent crime? It makes me wonder.... Why do they think its ok to play with someone's health in that manner? Are they God?

They have blood on their hands and I know they will have to answer to this and much more in the future. I strongly think they will be punished either during their lifetime or after... God will not let the wicked go unpunished.

Miss Superwoman
02-13-2009, 03:12 PM
I think this is a wonderful idea and is something that is needed.

Maya2007
02-13-2009, 09:17 PM
Sorry for the previous post. I had to ramble on....

Good luck on the insurance thing. Sounds good to me.

chi-fil
02-14-2009, 05:31 AM
Maya2007, not a problem, that is one reason we are here, to listen to each other ramble, scream, cry, yell, talk trash, whatever we have to do to vent our frustrations, anger, hurt, anything. I do understand your pain. My husband has asthma and many years ago he was placed in a smoking dorm. He was there for many months and his asthma worsened to the point he had to be hospitalized and almost died. It was so severe the hospital called the family in, my husband was in a coma for days. Thankfully, when he was returned to the facility, he was placed in a non-smoking dorm.
I think one thing we experience, to your point, is the prison systems in the US are so antiquated, some of their punishments, some of their ways of handling things date back hundreds of years. The medical piece is certainly one. Thank God my husband has very good teeth, because the dental care is "pull it out". There is no maintenance on their teeth. To me, if a family could afford to have him/her on their dental ins why not have a dentist who cares and knows what he/she is doing and allow them to have proper dental care. One time, the prior dentist at the facility where my husband is sewed a person's tongue to their jaw...now how great is that? Nightmares, the things horror stories are made of....

All: what do you think about an insurance product that could build a "trust-fund" for the children? An interest bearing account? Or, a product tied to the funeral, if a person dies, the funeral expenses are paid and the remainder goes to the family/wife/children/parents, however the inmate has it set up???
Just please keep the ideas coming and thank all of you for your excellent ideas. Even if they seem negative, they help me avoid going down a path that we don't think would work...
God bless everyone, have a safe and happy weekend.

PTO-97580
02-14-2009, 06:43 AM
It will never fly for several reasons. There is no insurable interest when someone is incarcerated and actuarilally there must be insurable interest at time of application. It would be considered "speculation". Insurable interest means there must be a financial loss due to the death of the insured at time of application, which in the case of an inmate, would not be there.

Next, it is forbidden for inmates to enter into legal contracts while incarcerated and as the insured they would have to sign the app which is the basis for and becomes a part of the legal contract (policy)

Most of all, even if you got a company to underwrite this type of policy, which in my opinion would be a bad business descision, State Insurance regulators would never approve this type of policy form for sale as there would be too much room for fraud and speculation.

As a former insurance executive, I just cany see this as being a viable idea.

chi-fil
02-15-2009, 11:44 AM
outraged, thank you for your opinions and view points. You expressed some interesting points, though I'm not at all convinced they are insurmountable. I don't quite understand your "insurable interest" point. The principle of insurable interest on life insurance is that a person can obtain an insurance policy on the life of another person if the person obtaining the insurance values the life of the insured more than the amount of the policy. Isn't this how insurance compensates for loss? Example: Doesn't a creditor have an insurable interest in the life of a debtor, up to the amount of the loan? A person who is financially dependent on a second person has an insurable interest in the life of that second person. I had a definite financial dependency on my husband. Doesn't a person have an insurable interest in their own life? Doesn't the spouse or child or parent have an insurable interest in the incarcerated individual?
While I do believe there are absolutes in this world, I'm not ready to give up and say that the family of an inmate being forever forbidden to insure that person is one.
We have seen things change in insurance over the years (Same sex marriages being one)...I guess it is all in where your passions lie.
So, while to some degree I do understand your point about insurable interest, I think it is time to reevaluate some of the "written in stone" rules. If my husband were to die, and I had an insurance policy on him that would pay for his burial, I would have the means to bury him without having to totally devastate my financial needs. That to me, is an insurable interest.
I'm not so sure there are not parameters that could be set that would keep this from being a "bad business decision". There are, after all, lots of honest people who did unfortunate wrongs and are now paying for those wrongs. My husband is much more honorable than some folks in the business world today, take a look at the news, any time, a business executive, a politician, a President of the United States does not always an honorable person make...I realize the risk of being incarcerated is huge, but, I also realize there are many institutions/facilities today that have changed and are much safer than ever before. My husband has never experienced any bodily harm, is extremely healthy and quite fascinating for a 50+ year old man. I would like to see a medical study done of those, like my husband, who have been incarcerated for many years, versus the men of the same age who have been on the streets all these years. I think it would be a very interesting study, and it would have some very surprising health results.
So, while I understand your views, I don't agree with them, and think this idea is worth pursuing. It may never happend, but at least I can say I tried. Better than saying "it will never happen!"

PTO-97580
02-15-2009, 12:28 PM
One always has an insurable interest in themselves but I just cant see how an insurance company will ever let an incarcerated individual enter in to a legal contract for life insurance. As far as you having an insurable interest in an incarcerated, individual, you may have a point for a very limited amount for burial expenses but anymore than that there would be no financial loss due to the death of the inmate as he/she is not currently earning an income. You have to remember that with life insurance, insurable interest is only measured at the time of the application. After the policy is issued there does not have to be an insurable interest.

A couple things that I didnt mention before that will be stumbling blocks is that actuarially insurance companies will either deny or highly rate anyone with a felony even if they arent incarcerated. Then when you take into consideration that statistically, the risk of death while incarcerated goes up exponentially as oposed to someoene not being incarcerated, it would be very hard for this type of policy to be financially viable.

Dont get me wrong. I applaud you for the effort and the thought and if you can get a company to find a way to make this viable, thats great. I am not an expert in actuary science so I may be wrong. I was just trying to point out some of the stumbling blocks

chi-fil
02-16-2009, 06:37 AM
And I know you are correct, I just feel it could be a great win-win situation. I know that state facilities (most now) are much safer than ever before and I know this is one of those areas that is never discussed, reviewed, researched, nothing. So, I think, in view of the changes in our world, now just might be the time.
I don't know if it will fly, but, we can always try. :)
I do appreciate your insights, and I must admit, the "legal contract" portion of this had not crossed my mind, though your other statements had.
If you have any ideas on "how" this might be presented so it would be at least a "plausible" idea and not one shot down without major research, that would be wonderful.
Thank you so much for your input. I appreciate all I can get, positive and negative. All are food for thought!

ladyshoes
05-06-2009, 10:03 PM
That would be great chi-fil!!! The main thing that I would like to see is for somebody to come up with an insurance policy that will give me the opertunity just to bury my husband if anything should happen. I don't want any money from DOC, I don't want to cause DOC any problems, all I want is to be able to bury my husband OFF prison grounds. I am a 46 year old woman and my husband is 53 and incarcerated at Straits Correctional Facility in Kincheloe Michigan, since I am out here struggling by myself I do not have the money to take care of any burial if anything should happen so what do I do?

baby_ bird
05-07-2009, 04:49 PM
I think it's a great idea and definitely something i'd look into purchasing. It would be wonderful if someone could make that happen!

Stangloverswife
05-07-2009, 05:39 PM
sorry I'm with outraged. I'm a licensed agent myself, and I can't imagine this ever being a win-win situation.
If the insurance company is willing to write a policy to someone who is currently incarcerated, the cost would be so high that most families wouldn't be albe to pay the premiums while they are out one income. They would be better off, in this case, just saving the money. Rememer insurance companies don't get in business to pay people, insurance companies are in business to make money, and in order to cover the expenses of a high risk person, the cost would be very high.

krisstine2u
01-11-2012, 02:15 PM
Hello,

I am not sure if you are still posting to this site but I came across your post while I was looking for insurance for myself and wondering if inmates are allowed to be beneficiaries of insurance policies. I continued reading your posts and other posts from other people. It appeared that it did not go over well for quite a few and then there are others that would rather have that option. I know I would............ I have a son down in Wallens Ridge Prison that has only begun his time. He was sentenced to 22 years but he has only been there for the last 5 years so we have awhile to wait. If you have been successful enough to make that work, please let me know. I would be interested in purchasing it.

Thank you.


I work for an insurance company and have for almost 20 years. My husband is incarcerated and has been for 21 years. I am currently working with the development of new products and am seeking ideas. I am always reading questions from people online asking about insurance for inmates and wondered if you would be willing to send me your thoughts, ideas, suggestions.
I would really like to see the company I work for develop a product that would be beneficial for inmates and their families. The company I work for has been an established and reputable insurance company since the early 1940s. It began as a family-owned business and we truly care about our customers. I would never hesitate to recommend this company to a friend. I realize we have a lot on us in our daily lives, carrying a lot of burdens alone. I also think, for me, and others who have shared their thoughts, having the knowledge that you could deal with an honest company who cares, would be so wonderful. It would be a financial blessing to be able to carry insurance coverage on your loved one. I know that having to deal with the prison systems and all the frustrations that go along with our situations, anything can help. We need something positive to happen for us. I think it would be wonderful to have a quality product to offer to inmates, from a company that can be trusted...If you would like to send me your ideas, thoughts, needs, anything that would help me in my research and development it would be wonderful. No idea is too insignificant to share.

Thank you and God Bless.

LindiLLou
01-16-2012, 12:18 PM
Are you talking about health insurance, life insurance or something else?

My parents purchased a life insurance policy on me when I was an infant. Had I died in prison, it still would have been payable. I had no need for any other sort of insurance while inside.

I'm not sure how the health insurance would work. States (or the federal government for federal inmates) are responsible for all health care for inmates. There is a small co-pay for inmates who do have money, but if an inmate does not have money, they cannot be denied treatment. Heck, people sometimes commit crimes simply to get locked up so they can get some sort of surgery or major procedure done that they cannot afford in the outside world.

In no circumstance does one have the right to go to an outside doctor. Remember, while in custody you are the property of the state, just like a head of cattle.

Besides, setting up that sort of insurance plan would create a tier system between inmates who could afford it (very small percentage) and inmates who cannot (majority). Not at all sure how that could work. But maybe I'm not understanding your question/topic.

Let me share some information as well as a few thoughts about insurance. My husband is and will remain covered under our family plan while incarcerated. The state only has an obligation to provide medical services that constitute minimally adequate care per the US Supreme Court. True no inmate can be denied health care services if ill or injured. However, just as an example, my husband recently got a pneumonia vaccination he paid for it. He also broke his glasses and needed to get an eye exam. We paid for both the exam and we will pay for his new glasses. The state was under no obligation to provide either for him since it was not life threatening. Our private insurance carrier will be reimbursing us for the money he paid for the vaccination and because we carry vision, we will be reimbursed for the eye exam and the glasses.

While no inmate has the RIGHT to see an outside doctor, my husband needed to see a pulmonologist. He went to one a week before his incarceration and was undergoing tests. I was able to work with the ombudsperson to get him to a pulmonologist in private practice since that particular specialty is not a part of the department of corrections medical staff. Our insurance is footing the bill they also paid for complete copies of his medical records to be forward to the ombudsperson's office as well as to the institution.

I agree with you it would create a tier system between those who can afford it and those who cannot however that is how the real world is anyway. There is the potential that the lure of insurance could draw a higher caliber of physicians to the prison system. That would be an improvement.

I am maintaining every insurance we carried prior to his incarceration, for example, long term care insurance. It is intended to provide for our care when we get old and need to go to a senior citizen care facility. An extremely and I do mean extremely low cost affordable long term care insurance may be something guys facing long sentences may be interested in, especially if they are going to be in their golden years when released. Some of these guys do have a desire to plan for their release even if it decades away. Same concept with retirement income and so forth. While they may be making only a few dollars a week.. that does not mean they are not willing to invest a few sheckles to have something no matter how meager for their old age.

I think the concept of insurance products for the incarcerated is a great idea. Not sure what those products should be or can be but it is certainly a concept worth exploring.

vcmshort
01-25-2012, 12:09 AM
I would also love to know what progress has been made if any.

I think it would be an amazing opportunity to have a life insurance on an inmate that would carry through once he left DOC, and either continue or switch to a different policy later on. Correct me if I'm wrong - but are you not allowed to have a life insurance policy on someone without their signature?

My mother has one on me and I know I didn't sign any papers - that might get around the contractual issues to start (using a parent, spouse or power of att.)and then once they are released they could sign it over.

My husband has been incarcerated for 20 years and has 4 more to go. He is in fairly good health for 43yrs old without much help from TDCJ, but he does have a couple medical issues. Those combined with his felony, might prevent him from getting coverage for the 5 year limit after he comes home as someone mentioned, if ever.

We all know life happens and the peace of mind it would bring to know that at the very least - any funeral expenses on the inside or outside would be covered at anytime- would be amazing.

It would also be fairly neat if there was a children's fund that could be set up or a monatary benefit - 5k, 10k, 15k and up like a 'normal' life insurance policy - the more you sign up for - the more you pay as a premium like a regular policy.

So basically - anything that would make things 'normal' and not have us jumping through hoops because of current or post incarceration would be FANTASTIC!

And just maybe - if later on you could add a health/car insurance dept that would cover him too, would be great!

adamsrubberduck
01-26-2012, 12:24 PM
Great idea. I didn't know that you could not get a life insurance policy until the person had been out of prison for at least 5 years. I wonder why 5 years?