Applying for life insurance after heart stent surgery may seem like a daunting task. Is it possible to get a heart stent life insurance policy approved? Many people with heart disease, angioplasty, heart stents and other cardiac issues feel as though they cannot qualify for normal term life or permanent life insurance policies at all.
Especially with heart stents in place, it may seem as though the policies you can qualify are outrageously priced with unusually poor terms. This does not have to be the case if you know where to look and what to look for.
The key is working with an independent underwriting expert who has access to multiple top rated life insurance carriers.
This is how you maximize your chances for the lowest life insurance rates.
When you are matched with a life insurance company that will underwrite your heart stent condition in the best light, you get the best rates in the market. It’s simple!
We developed this article to explain what steps you should take to get the top rates for your condition. We also hope to dispel some of the myths that keep many people in the dark about life insurance with heart stents.
A Bit About Heart Stents
Percutaneous coronary intervention, or cardiac angioplasty, is a procedure used to treat narrowed coronary arteries of the heart. These arteries may be narrowed due to blockages or clogging by a buildup of plaque or fatty deposits that develop over time.
This blockage reduces the flow of blood to the heart, resulting in chest pain. If untreated, a clot may form that completely stops the blood flow through the artery, cutting off a part of the heart. This can lead to serious problems such as heart attack and even death.
In order to reopen the arteries and clear the blockage, surgeons perform angioplasty in which they insert a tiny wire mesh tube called a stent. This stent is placed into the problem artery and and set into place with a balloon catheter.
The balloon is expanded and the stent expands with it, inflating until it is set into the walls of the artery. Like a micro erector set of scaffolding, the stent locks in place; after which the artery can expand allowing for more normal blood flow.
Metal stents have been the industry standard in the past, but more recently, doctors have used a device known as a drug-eluting stent which is coated with drugs that slowly release and keep the artery open.
In short, these stents save lives. In about one-third of individuals who have had a PCI procedure without a stent, the artery eventually re closes resulting in further plaque buildup or complications.
For many people, the event that led to the procedure is a wake up call that causes them to change their lifestyle and begin to make plans in case the worst happens…. ahem, Life Insurance!
Life Insurance and Heart Stents
If you have recently had a stent surgery, you are not alone. Almost 600,000 people benefit from stent surgery each year in America. That’s a pretty big number, and life insurance companies are aware. This represents a significant enough portion of the population that many companies will underwrite the risk “standard” with some exceptions.
Whether you are shopping for term life insurance or permanent life insurance, there are a few questions that will determine your eligibility, rate class and premium costs.
When was your heart stent procedure performed?
Life insurance companies determine eligibility and rates depending upon their own estimated risk. If your stent was put in place recently, it could mean higher rates and more difficult qualifications. However, if it has been in place for more than six months, you could qualify for the same standard rate as individuals without stents.
Within the first six months, you could still qualify as sub-standard or high-risk, though it is usually best to wait.
How many stents do you have? Will you need more?
With only one stent, you could still qualify as standard risk with many insurance companies. If you have two or more stents, you may still qualify for life insurance, but it will mean higher table ratings and a lower health classification.
More than one stent usually results in mildly substandard rates, however coverage is still very affordable.
Before you go in for angioplasty, the cardiologist is likely to note additional narrowing of the other coronary arteries. If it looks like your plaque is progressing, you may need more stents in the future.
This could postpone your life insurance approval or negatively affect your rates.
Where was the stent placed, which specific coronary artery?
Different vessels could change what you pay for life insurance. Angioplasty in the circumflex artery is less concerning than a stent in the “widow maker” or left anterior descending artery (LAD).
What event led to the stent in the first place?
Insurance companies will look at the event that led to your angioplasty. Was it a preemptive measure-as was the case for President Bush-or was it a heart attack? If it was performed as a preventative measure, you could still qualify for standard premiums and classification.
However, if a heart attack or stroke led to the stent, it will make a life insurance approval more difficult. Your case will be rated and priced based on the more serious event.
What changes have you made after your angioplasty?
Are you living a healthy lifestyle? Have you changed your diet and exercise? Insurance companies want to know. If not, whatever led to the stent in the first place is likely to repeat.
For many people, the heart stent surgery is a wake up call and they will become healthier in the future because of it.
What medications are you taking?
After stent surgery patients are prescribed anti platelet therapy like asparin plus plavix (clopidogrel) or Effient (prasugrel). This treatment can last a few weeks in the case of a metal stent, to more than a year for drug-eluting or coated stents. These anti platelet drugs are very important to prevent thrombosis, or blood clots around the stent.
You will likely be taking cholesterol lowering drugs and blood pressure medication before the angioplasty, and underwriters will want to see the history of these medications along with your current prescriptions.
What were your recent heart test results?
Your cardiologist is your lifeline after PCI and they will use various tests to measure your heart function. When was your last round of tests? What was done? Underwriters want to see EKG’s, CAT scans, stress tests, and-most importantly-your echocardiogram results.
On those echo tests, ask the doctor about your results for ejection fraction (or EF). Your EF measures how much blood is pumped out of the heart with each contraction, and to qualify for a standard rating we will need to see 55% – 69% or so.
Life insurers will ask us this question first. In turn, we usually ask you on the first interview when you have a stent.
How is everything going since the PCI?
More specifically, have you returned to work and your daily activities? Are you seeing your doctor and cardiologist regularly?
Was there any cardiac rehab prescribed and if so – did you complete it?
Has there been any chest pain or shortness of breath since your angioplasty? More chest pain or a return of chest pain is not a positive sign for your heart or your life insurance application.
Life Insurance after Angioplasty – Example Rates:
Every single case is different. You and your health profile will be unique, and so will your underwriting decision. It is important that you get our underwriting experts involved in your case early on to qualify you for the lowest rates your health class will allow.
Our goal is to find a life insurance company that will view your angioplasty in the most favorable light (and with the best possible health class.) Otherwise, you will pay thousands more in rates or your life insurance application will be declined outright.
Ron’s main concern was income replacement. One of his children was finishing college and still lived with Ron and his wife. He planned to retire in about 10 years and had other assets earmarked for final expenses and income after his retirement.
In his case, a 10 year term policy made the most sense. His rates were slightly substandard, however still affordable.
|Term Life Insurance||$250,000||$500,000||$1,000,000|
10 year term, A rated company for Ron F., quoted Feb 2017
Now it’s your chance to make a great decision
Are you going to work with an expert in underwriting heart conditions, or are you going to wait needlessly? Are you really going to risk your family’s future?
What does Tuesday look like for your family if you die on Monday? Where are they going to live? Who is going to pay those bills?
We have success getting affordable life insurance for clients after angioplasty. Don’t pay more than you need to, let us save you some money.
Put our underwriting experts in your corner and let’s get to work today.
*One quick note about quotes after angioplasty.
Do you want a good estimate, or do you want a pipe dream? When you choose a health class, choose “standard.”
This will give you the closest estimate to rates you can expect for life insurance after angioplasty.