Term Life Insurance after a heart attack – Is it even possible?
YES! You can get approved for life insurance after a heart attack or heart disease, and still get great rates too!
After you think of the well-being of your family, many people will become discouraged, as many believe life insurance after a heart attack is not possible or too expensive. This is not the case.
A heart attack is a scary wake up call, an abrupt meeting with the concept of your own mortality. Laying in your hospital bed gives you a chance to face your eventual death.
What is really important to you? Take advantage of this newfound clarity.
When you die or how you die is largely outside of your control. However, you can be financially prepared to take care of your family with life insurance. That is entirely and 100% within your control.
Would you believe many life insurance companies even specialize in writing heart conditions? Do you know which ones? No?
You are not alone, because life insurance companies do not advertise whether they take clients with heart problems or not. Unless you are a seasoned professional in life insurance, you will not be able to find these companies on your own.
Good news! Our friendly underwriting experts know the best companies for life insurance after a heart attack, and they work with these companies every day. These specialists know the secrets to get your life insurance approved at the best rates and our services are free.
Fill out a quote request and let’s get started for you!
Here’s the Deal on Life Insurance After a Heart Attack
Knowledge and information will be the most important tools in your search for life insurance if you have heart conditions or have had a heart attack. Knowing what insurance companies will look for and what you can do to improve your chances is crucial to finding quality, affordable coverage.
Life insurance companies will seek medical information to determine the risk of insuring you after a heart attack, so it is important to gather and provide as much documentation on your condition as possible. The more you know about your heart condition, the better!
If you do not provide medical information, life insurance companies will assume the worst on their own and will charge you accordingly higher premiums.
That is why we developed this article to help you understand what you should know, what information to provide and what you can do to make sure you get the best life insurance at the best rates.
A Bit About Heart Attacks
Before we dive into the process of obtaining life insurance after a heart attack, it is important to first understand a little about heart disease and how it can affect your risk in the minds of insurers.
Heart attack is the number one cause of death in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention more than 730,000 heart attacks occur each year. Many of the victims can recover and go on to live healthy lives for many years afterwards.
In order to function properly, the heart requires a constant flow of oxygen-rich blood. This is provided by the coronary arteries through which the blood flows and nourishes the heart.
In coronary artery disease, these arteries become clogged with fatty deposits, cholesterol, calcium and other substances that form plaque. When this plaque build up reaches a certain point, a blood clot can form and completely block off the flow of blood to the heart, causing a heart attack.
This is by far the most common process by which a heart attack occurs, but there are other possible reasons the arteries can narrow. Whatever the initial cause, after the blood flow from the artery is blocked off it can permanently damage the heart muscle (ischemia).
Factors that increase your chances of a heart attack (or another heart attack)
- Age. Men aged over 45 and women aged over 55 are most prone to heart attack.
- High LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, hyperlipidemia, or persistent high triglycerides
- Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Chest pain or angina
As you may guess, these factors that increase your heart attack chances could also increase your life insurance rates.
Life Insurance and Heart Attack Victims
Life insurance is all about determining risk. This means that insurance companies will view those with heart disease as higher risk candidates, and they will be less willing to insure a person after a heart attack.
However, it is still possible to find affordable whole or term life insurance if we package your case correctly and present it to the right life insurance company.
Certain life insurance companies price these risks very well.
Gather as much documentation as possible on your heart attack and we will review the following information:
When did your heart attack occur?
In general, the older you were when the event occurred, the better. Those with heart attacks at a young age will be viewed as more likely to have health problems in the future.
How recent was your heart attack?
Insurers will want a minimum of six months to pass after the event to see how you will recover and how healthy you will be going forward.
How severe was the heart attack?
If the heart attack was due to only one blocked artery, you can still qualify for standard or even preferred ratings with some companies. Two or more damaged arteries will negatively impact your chances.
What was the % of blockage for your arteries? The lower that % is, the higher your chances are of receiving standard rates.
Are you following doctor instructions and living a healthy life now?
It is a common myth that taking blood thinners or other medications will hurt your chances of approval. You need to take all medications as they are prescribed by your doctor.
After a heart attack your doctor will advise follow up stress tests and echocardiograms, and life insurance underwriters will want to see these tests. Are you free of blockage? How often are you having a stress test?
BEST RATE TIP!
Annual or bi-annual stress tests can result in a “lifestyle credit” on your application, saving you 20% – 40% in your monthly premiums with certain insurers.
If you have not had a stress test in 24 months or more, ask your doctor to schedule it. Do not wait to apply for life insurance, however.
Lifestyle changes for lower life insurance rates
- Quit smoking already. Nicotine restricts your arteries, it’s like a garden hose turning into a swizzle straw right after you smoke. Quit, you can do this!
- Refrain from excessive alcohol consumption because it leads to long term high blood pressure.
- Regular cardio exercise
- Better stress and anger management
- Balanced diet, avoid the fatty foods
In short, do what your doctor and loved ones are telling you to do. Anything you can do to increase your life will decrease your life insurance rates.
What’s your ejection fraction?
Left ventricle ejection fraction measures how much blood your heart pumps out with each beat. It is one of the top indicators of heart health and life insurance companies take this ratio very seriously.
BEST RATE TIP!
An ejection fraction higher than 50% will help you qualify for life insurance after a heart attack with better rates.
You can expect fewer options, higher rates or you may be declined if your EF is 45% or less.
What else is going on in your physical picture?
Multiple health conditions can multiply your life insurance rates after a heart attack. If the heart attack is the only health issue, it is easier for an approval than if the heart attack is coupled with high blood pressure, Afib or diabetes.
Get the best rates on life insurance after a heart attack
Put your health front and center and change your lifestyle! Do what the American Heart Association recommends … stop smoking, watch your diet and be physically active. Also:
- Follow the treatment guidelines set up by your doctor. Prescription reports and physicians’statements will show life insurance companies how well you are following the doctor’s orders, so follow them to the letter.
- Lose some weight! 5 -10 pounds could mean 15% – 25% in life insurance savings.
- “Ace” your paramedical exam when you apply for life insurance. Cholesterol and triglyceride readings that are in the upper limits could trigger a decline.
- Change what you eat to limit your medications
- Stop smoking! Did we mention this one already?
- Once you are approved, use our “Review and Reduce” feature to get your policy reclassified at a better health class after changing your lifestyle.
Probable Health Class for Heart Attack Life Insurance Approvals
There are over twenty life insurance health classes at some insurers. To further make this confusing, these rating classes are called different things at different companies. Here, let’s keep it simple. There are standard rates and better, and substandard rates below or table rates for higher risk policies.
Standard rates and better are for your healthiest clients and these are standard, standard plus, preferred and preferred plus.
Substandard rates, table ratings or “high risk” are just below standard. Each table represents an additional costs above the standard rate to account for higher risk. Some life insurance companies have 8 tables, some have 10, and some even have 16 tables past standard.
Don’t get caught up in the “substandard” terminology
A name is just a name. Table rated, high risk, substandard life insurance, “a rated policy” just refers to a life insurance plan that will cost more than standard. This is all factored into your rate, and we account for it in your quotes. It doesn’t mean that you are a substandard person.
It just means that for a client who has your similar health profile, life insurance may cost a little bit more. The actuarial eggheads place you a little higher on the risk mortality chart and charge a little bit more per month to cover that risk.
Wait a doggone minute – my doctor says I’m in excellent health. Why do I pay more for life insurance?
We hear you, these things can get confusing. Just remember that life insurance underwriters are doctors and nurses too. Just like your own doctor, they want you to live a long and healthy life.
Your cardiologist will see some patients who are on death’s door every single day. So compared to these patients you are in excellent health. You have a reasonably good chance to make your next annual appointment, maybe even the next five annual appointments.
A life insurance underwriter looks at the problem from a different angle though. Compared to the standard population, is there a higher risk of early death for a person with heart disease versus a person with no heart disease?
Of course there is. This risk might move from 5 in a 1,000 to 10 in a 1,000, a tiny shift. And while that is not enough to worry your primary doctor and cardiologist, it does represent a higher risk to the life insurance companies.
When you apply for life insurance after a heart attack, what rating or health class do you get?
- Most Likely – Substandard ratings. These rates are 25% – 50% higher than standard rates, however, you are still insurable. If you had heart failure past age 50, your EF is 45% or higher and are generally in good health, this is what you can expect.
- Likely – Standard ratings. If your heart disease developed later in life (age 60+), your EF is 50% +, current blockages are <50% and in one artery. Non-smoker, also in great health otherwise, regular standard rates are possible for life insurance.
- Less likely – Preferred or preferred plus – Very tough, almost impossible. Less than 2% of the clients we have with heart conditions have preferred rates on life insurance. It’s just not likely at all.
If you have an agent quoting you “preferred” rates, or proposing a no-exam type term life insurance policy after a heart attack, grab your information and RUN.
You are dealing with a bait-and-switch type situation, or a junior agent who doesn’t know any better.
If someone is quoting you standard rates, make sure they tell you why and explain in detail your chances of receiving them.
If they insist you’ll qualify for a “no exam” type policy, ask to see the application or the underwriting guidelines too. Verify this yourself. Be suspicious now to avoid surprises in the future.
Heart Attack Life Insurance approvals: Actual Case Studies
Heart Life Insurance Case Study:
Thomas suffered a minor heart attack 7 years ago and he is 67 years old. He quit smoking, maintains a healthy diet and weight and has biannual stress echocardiograms. LVEF is greater than 55%. Coronary angiography less than 24 months ago shows that his CAD has improved and there are no significant blockages.
Current prescriptions are for a statin and beta blocker. Insurance labs were normal with a favorable lipid profile.
Standard rates for Thomas, even after a heart attack. I almost fell out of my chair!
With a in depth cover letter and an intimate knowledge of underwriting, we were able to take advantage of “lifestyle credits” and improve his health class.
Standard rates though? I could not believe the offer when the underwriter sent it over. This was fantastic!
Thomas took an active role in his life and health, made the right choices and this made all of the difference. If he was still smoking, his premiums would be 300% higher.
10 year term, “A rated” company for Thomas C.,
Life Insurance after a Heart Attack – Approved Substandard
Heart Life Insurance Case Study
Miles K. is 55 and he had a heart attack 2 years ago. Cardiac catheterization showed the right coronary artery was 95% blocked, so a drug eluding stent was placed immediately.
He was prescribed blood thinners after the angioplasty and was off of them 12 months later. For Rx he takes a statin, beta blocker, and a low dose aspirin. His diet and exercise habits are superb and that keeps his weight in line.
The recent exercise stress test had great results with LVEF over 55%. Recent blood work is normal with low overall triglycerides and high levels of HDL.
Miles qualified for mild substandard rates because of his excellent maintenance. He’s doing exactly what his doctor ordered, and it showed on the test results and blood work.
With a longer history after the heart attack of great maintenance, he might even qualify for standard rates. Medication, diet, and exercise really helped.
A+ rated company for Miles K., 10-year term
Substandard Life Insurance Rates can still be affordable
“Affordable” means different things to different families and different budgets. And if you look at these rates and think “we are barely scraping by, we cannot afford life insurance,” remember these two things:
First, for families that are living paycheck-to-paycheck, what are you going to do if the family loses one of those paychecks forever? How would suddenly losing half of your family income with no warning affect your budget? The death of the main breadwinner in a family is the #1 cause of losing a house, so do not think it’s too expensive. Those families with tight budgets often need life insurance the most.
Second, most Americans have no idea what life insurance costs, or they overestimate the cost of life insurance by up to 300%. Why risk your family’s future and put off your life insurance problem with bad information?
Work with our underwriting experts instead and get the facts.
We have all of the top companies and thousands of programs to choose from. We will advocate for you and find a plan together that will fit your budget and values.
The Final Word on Life Insurance and Heart Attacks
There are many factors that determine your eligibility for life insurance as a heart attack survivor or heart disease patient. These will all vary according to insurance companies’ individual requirements, and it’s impossible to get the best rates on your own.
That is why it is important to apply with an underwriting expert that knows the specifications for each company and can find the perfect fit for your specific case.
This service is free with no obligation, so start the simple process with our instant life insurance quotes. Choose “standard” as your health class for the most accurate estimates, or give us a call for a custom quote.
No one is guaranteed tomorrow, our services are free to you, there is no risk and we do all of the work. Why wouldn’t you take a moment to protect your family today?
Hit that quote button and get ready for some peace of mind. Our underwriting experts are standing by, ready to ease your concerns and give you the information you need. Don’t delay, let’s get started today!