You have to love an optimist. I had a call a few years back from a man inquiring about life insurance. As we were going through health questions I asked about cardiac issues and he admitted that he had gone through a two vessel angioplasty after a minor heart attack. At this point I was the optimist, since, given some specific criteria having been met, he would be very insurable at competitive rates.
I then asked him when he had the angioplasty and his answer smashed my optimism and brought his to the forefront. He was still in the hospital and the heart procedure had been done the day before.
Well, there are criteria to meet if you want life insurance and life insurance quotes that are competitive. The day after the procedure doesn’t meet any of the criteria, but I went on the explain to him the thresholds he would need to meet in order to once again be in the life insurance market.
First, a little bit of time. For most companies that would be a year. For a few, as little as six months. During that time they will want to see compliance with any life style changes the cardiologist has recommended such as STOP SMOKING. All companies will insist on what most cardiologists regard as normal followup. Regular checkups with ekg’s and at least one stress test within the first year after the procedure.
So, if you have had an angioplasty, bypass surgery, with or without a heart attack and are thinking that little wake up call might be a good time to consider life insurance, do the following. If you are a smoker, STOP!!!!!!!! Can’t quite emphasize that enough. Life insurance companies don’t have a lot of sympathy for smokers with cardiac issues. Get regular checkups and comply with everything the doc says to do. When you get your stress test, get a copy of the narrative report. This gives the independent life insurance agent you are going to use the information to know what company to go to.
Just like a diabetic needs to know what their A1C level is, if you have had heart problems you need to know what your LVEF is. That stands for left ventricular ejection fraction and is a measure of how efficiently your heart is pumping, or how much damage your heart has sustained. An ejection fraction below 50% is a tough sell to an insurance underwriter.
Bottom line, take the wake up call seriously. Good news is you are still around to read this. Even better, if you do all the things you should do, life insurance will be affordable going forward.
This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.