I wrote this post three and a half years ago and there have been several positive changes in the life insurance underwriting of heart disease and heart disorders. I hope the updated information below will give you the answers you need about how to acquire life insurance in your situation. All the best.

Do You Need Life Insurance And Have A Cardiac History?

I would like to be more thorough on the subject of cardiac history and include some underwriting takes on atrial fibrillation and mitral valve prolapse along with the “big one”, coronary artery disease that involves blocked arteries and, in many cases, intervention. There aren’t a lot of life insurance companies that are good at underwriting the complexities of these issues, so I’ll draw on those that want your business and help you understand how to get approved.

Five Points To Help Yourself and Your Agent

  1. There is an industry myth that claims the longer you wait after the CAD event, the better your chances of getting life insurance. The truth is that your best chance of getting life insurance is between 6 months and a year after and as soon as you have completed a post procedure (stent or bypass) imaged stress test. That post procedure cardiac workup is essential because it will show if there is any damage to the heart and if so, how much. The truth is that the information that comes from an echocardiogram (stress or not) is helpful for your agent and the underwriters they work with in analyzing how to get you to the best rate possible. I would be negligent not to mention that, if you have had one blockage event, you are at a higher risk of a second event. Getting life insurance in force sooner rather than later would preclude a second event from putting you into a chronic CAD category which is much harder to find good rates for. It would also make sure the life insurance is in force if a second event happened to be fatal.
  2. With multiple events we can still get business (not personal) life insurance through international underwriters but it will likely be offered with an exclusion for all cardiac related deaths. There are times that they may cover your cardiac condition for an increased premium  So the good news as a CEO or executive is that if you are up against an unequivocal need such as collateral for a loan or key man coverage that the board of directors insists on, it can be acquired even at the last minute even if you’ve been declined by other life insurance companies.
  3. Age makes a difference. Most life insurance underwriters agree that a cardiac event before age 50 isn’t a harbinger of a low risk future. There would be a preference for closer to 60 if there isn’t any damage as measured by the LVEF (ejection fraction) on your post event cardiac work up. There is also the swing factor of family history. If, in your immediate family, there has been a history of cardiac events and/or deaths it is given weight even if that or those family members abused themselves by smoking and being obese or being obese and having diabetes.
  4. Like CAD, an echocardiogram or 12 lead ekg is helpful to your agent and their underwriters in determining the extent the mitral valve is leaking. Your doctor almost always detects a leaking valve with a stethoscope, but further testing can help them define if the prolapse is accompanied by any changes in chamber size. It isn’t uncommon for someone with MVP to live for a long time unaffected by the condition, but on the flip side there are times that a valve replacement becomes necessary. Both levels of the condition can get life insurance, so arm your life insurance agent with all of the testing and procedure reports and let them shop it.
  5. To assist an agent in helping you find life insurance with atrial fibrillation (Afib) you need to be able to tell them what type of Afib you have, paroxysmal, persistent, long-term persistent, and permanent atrial fibrillation. Providing them with the results of a holter monitor test will go a long way in making sure they have the information to ferret out the best rate possible for you.

Bottom Line

Whatever heart condition you have, the more information you can provide your life insurance agent, the better our chance of finding a good offer. As with all impaired risk life insurance the factors of control of the disease and full compliance with medical treatment are a must. If you have questions or would like to discuss how to increase your chances of getting life insurance with a heart condition, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.

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