With the news out this week that a recent study shows little or no added health benefit for a heart patient that has a stent put into a vein, stand by to see how life insurance underwriting will react.
Quoting an Associated Press article by Mark Jewell, “Drug-coated stents have been implanted in more than 6 million people worldwide — a modern record for fastest use of a new medical device.
But use has fallen since evidence emerged that drug-coated stents carry a slightly higher risk of triggering blood clots months or years later. Many doctors have returned to using the older bare-metal stents or doing bypass surgery instead of angioplasty until more is known.”
In the past life insurance underwriting has actually been more favorable for angioplasty with stents versus bypass surgery, seemingly less invasive and risky. Now, with potential risk from clots, that may switch. There is further revelation that, in spite of recommended guidelines, many patients receive stents prematurely.
In an article on the home page of www.angioplasty.org dated 3/28/07, they state “Have patients with stable angina been given stents unnecessarily? Under current practice guidelines, it is recommended that patients with stable angina first be given a trial of medical therapy, along with lifestyle changes and risk factor reduction.”
From years of working on life insurance for cardiac patients, the experience seems to be that often the angioplasty and stent precede any attempts at risk factor reduction.
One thing you can count on is that this information will be perceived differently by each life insurance company’s medical director who scrutinizes the report. That simply makes it more important for heart attack or coronary artery disease patients who are seeking life insurance to seek out the best independent life insurance agent you can find.
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.