Is there a 5 year waiting period for life insurance approval?
The answer to that question may have been yes at some point in life insurance history with some companies but not in the last 20 years and not with the companies I represent. It is more likely that this 5 year waiting period for life insurance approval urban myth came from the experience of people who didn’t use life insurance agents or companies that have experience in underwriting more severe health issues.
If not 5 years, then is there a waiting period?
After a heart attack, myocardial infarction, there is usually going to be some kind of surgical intervention. This intervention can be with a coronary bypass that diverts blood flow around the blocked artery. The intervention can also be by angioplasty and the placing of a stent or stents to open up the effected artery(s). With either procedure life insurance underwriters will be looking for three things before they are ready to approve a policy. 1. Recovery from the procedure. This can be as little as a month or two with angioplasty and up to six months with a bypass. The length of time to full recovery can be longer depending on the number of arteries that were affected. 2. Active participation in reducing risk factors for heart disease. This may not be required for approval, but will absolutely help your cause. 3. Most importantly the underwriter will want to see that you have completed an imaged stress test. The reason this is so important is to show both the health of your heart and the amount of damage, if any. While all of the results on this follow up test are important the underwriter will be looking at the LVEF, left ventricular ejection fraction, as the definitive measure of health and/or damage.
All of that said, the waiting period is really about when you have a followup stress test. Each cardiologist will have their own guidelines, but in general the stress test will happen about six months out from the procedure. Like the underwriter, your cardiologist will want to know that your recovery is complete before intentionally putting your heart under stress.
The good news!
Once you have completed the stress test, with an ejection fraction or more than 50, you are ready to apply for life insurance. The rates you will be approved at will vary depending on 1. How many arteries were affected. 2. Your age. 3. Your ejection fraction. 4. Other risk factors that could continue to contribute to the heart problems you just experienced. 5. If you have had previous heart attacks. In the best case if there was one vessel affected, you are over 50, your ejection fraction is over 55 (normal, meaning no damage), and there are no other risk factors or previous heart attacks, standard rates could be approved. Younger ages and more vessels will lead to higher rates, but still approvals. The biggest challenge will be if you, because of previous events, are considered to have chronic CAD.
If you have questions or would like me to shop your specific situation, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.