Life Insurance Approved with Angina or Chest Pain

Can you qualify for life insurance with angina or chest pain?

Yes you can, and we will help you do so.  The time to start looking for life insurance with angina is now.

Prefer to skip right to the good stuff?  Use the button below to start a quote.  Pick “Standard” for your health class and let our underwriting experts find you the best rates on life insurance with chest pain.

What you will find in this article:

Stop. Do you actually have angina, or something else?

First, make sure you actually have a valid medical diagnosis of angina pectoris before you search for life insurance. In other words, if you’ve experienced chest pain, but you haven’t obtained an official diagnosis of angina, you need to visit your doctor.

Without a diagnosis, chest pain can be a symptom for a whole host of conditions like lung inflammation (pleurisy), Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, ulcers, inflammation of the heart lining (pericarditis), a hernia, or just general anxiety.

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What is Angina?

Angina is a fairly specific pain that usually occurs with exertion. Many describe it as a squeezing or crushing pain that starts under the breastbone (sternum) and possibly radiates to the arms, neck, shoulders or jaws. The pain occurs because the heart is working harder and not getting the amount of blood it needs to properly function.

Who usually suffers from angina?

Angina typically occurs in males over age 40, and in people with other recognized cardiovascular risk factors like family history, hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol and lipids, elevated homocysteine levels and diabetes.

How do you diagnose it?

Physicians and cardiologists diagnose angina in several ways:

  • Resting EKG
  • Stress EKG
  • Thallium Stress Test
  • Stress Echocardiography
  • Angiogram (cardiac catheterization)
  • A multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan also known as radionuclide ventriculography. Try to say “radionuclide ventriculography” that three times fast, I dare you!
  • CT scan of the heart

Life Insurance with Angina – What do underwriters need to know?

There are several factors they look for to determine whether you qualify for coverage, and if so, the type of coverage you are able to get.

What type of Angina are you suffering from?

Angina is classified into four categories.

Stable angina

Stable angina is the most common form and is caused by an overworked heart. It is referred to as stable because the pain is predictable. The pain is also short-lived and easily relieved by medications like nitroglycerin. However, stable angina does increase your risk for a future heart attack.

The American Heart Association estimates that 400,000 new cases of stable angina occur each year.

Unstable angina

Unstable angina is a much more serious condition. If you have it, it means that you are at very high risk for a sudden heart attack and therefore require immediate treatment. It’s unpredictable and generally uncontrollable by medications. It can occur anytime without physical exertion.

Variant angina

Variant angina is a very rare condition that usually occurs in a resting state. It is characterized by severe pain, but is successfully relieved by medication.

Microvascular angina

Microvascular angina affects the small coronary vessels in the same manner that larger vessels are affected, but this pain usually lasts longer, from 10 minutes to more than 30 minutes. The pain can be more severe and cause sleep disturbances and even shortness of breath.

Is there a root cause to your chest pain?

The insurance company will want to consider the root cause of your angina. Is it caused by coronary artery disease (CAD) or coronary artery spasm (CAS)?

Angina is most commonly caused by CAD, meaning your arteries have become clogged with cholesterol and plaque and the squeezing pain you feel is caused by that restricted blood flow.

Coronary Artery Spasm or Prinzmetal Angina is less likely

CAS is commonly referred to as Prinzmetal angina, and CAS usually occurs in people under age 50.

According to experts, it is less common for angina to stem from coronary artery spasm than it is to arise from coronary artery disease. These spasms cause a temporary constriction in one or more coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to your heart.

The spasms can be very minor, or severe enough to cause complete blockage of the coronary artery. When the spasms are this severe and last longer than 15 minutes, permanent heart muscle damage can occur, and that can lead to a heart attack.

Severe, long-lasting CAS episodes have also been shown to affect the heart’s electrical system, leading to abnormal heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia). In some cases CAS is so severe that the arrhythmia causes the heart to stop beating, resulting in sudden death.

When you have angina caused by coronary artery disease, your pain usually occurs under stress or during physical exertion. CAS pain usually happens at rest, typically in the early morning. It’s sometimes called non-exertional angina.

Any other cardiovascular risk factors?

Whether your angina is caused by CAD or CAS, insurance companies will look extensively at all your risk factors.

CAS is a bit more tricky to characterize because its exact cause is unknown so doctors don’t understand it as well. However, smoking seems to be the biggest risk factor for developing it. Researchers think that the chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the arteries to spasm.

Females, people with a family history of CAD, and people who are more aggressive or “type A” are at higher risk.

How severe is your angina?

Angina can range from very mild to very severe, and varies from individual to individual. Most cases of Prinzmetal are mild, so you’ll likely be approved for a standard rating in the majority of cases.

If you’ve been diagnosed with mild angina, your odds are pretty good of getting a standard rate on your insurance policy.

Age

If you’re younger than age 40 and have been diagnosed with angina, it is more difficult to get coverage. This is one of those cases where being older is actually a good thing for your life insurance.

Chest pain at a young age could signal more serious heart conditions down the road, and more serious cases with multiple risk factors will be harder to insure.

Heart Medications

Insurance companies will want to know if your doctor has prescribed any medications to control the pain from angina, like nitrates or calcium-channel blockers.

The insurance company will need a full list of medications you take for all conditions, because some medicines can cause coronary artery spasms.  Prescriptions like chemotherapies, anti-migraine meds, and even some antibiotics can cause spasms. Lifestyle drugs like cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines and weight loss pills containing ephedrine can too.

If your angina is caused by coronary artery disease, doctors will want to know all of the cardio-related medications you are taking, such as blood pressure medications and statins.

What is your treatment plan?

Since there are so many factors of angina you can’t control–like heredity–life insurance companies want to see that you are controlling those things you can.

Are you making lifestyle changes and taking steps to reduce your risk of heart problems?

This is the single most important thing you can do to improve your chances. Your efforts go a long way in helping you get insurance.

If you are taking the following steps, insurance companies will take notice and reward you with lower rates.

  • Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke
  • Avoid illegal drugs
  • Taking your medicines as prescribed
  • Healthy diet
  • Physically active
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol management
  • Healthy body weight
  • Social and emotional health

Showing evidence of regular doctor visits is great, as is demonstrating that you are following your doctor’s treatment plan. They’ll also want to see that you’re working on other risk factors, like high blood pressure and cholesterol.  Keeping them under control goes a long way to your life insurance approval.

In general, premiums are much lower for people who follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and for those who control high blood pressure.

Premiums are higher when you don’t visit your doctor or do any of these measures.

Surgical Procedures for Angina

Sometimes, angina is severe enough or unstable enough that a cardiac or surgical procedure is needed. Insurance companies will definitely look at your history of procedures related to angina when determining coverage.

Doctors sometimes perform angioplasty in cases of unstable angina that they feel are likely to cause an impending heart attack down the road. Angioplasty is not a surgery per se because it doesn’ require general anesthesia. A long, thin catheter is inserted into your artery. Sometimes a doctor will place a stent in cases where angina is caused by coronary artery disease.

Implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD) are typically surgically implanted in cases when arrhythmia is causing angina and it can’t be controlled by other less invasive measures like lifestyle changes or medications. An ICD is implanted to pace your heart and return it to a normal rhythm.

You will have to list dates of all angioplasties and other heart surgeries, dates of all heart attacks, and dates of any bypass surgeries that have occurred with a list of the vessels that were affected.

Life Insurance with Angina – What Rates Can you Expect?

All of the above factors are melded together so that the life insurance agents can assess your risk level. Perhaps you’ve been through this before, and were originally denied life insurance coverage because of your angina. Even so, it is still possible to obtain coverage.

Take a look at the underwriting guidelines for one of the country’s best underwriter for Angina and other high risk conditions:

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If you have underlying heart issues such as coronary artery disease, life insurance underwriters will be more interested in the extent of coronary artery disease than the chest pain.  At that point the agina is a secondary condition.

Just like you, each case is unique and different. Angina determinations are highly individualized, but here are some general guidelines.

A Preferred Plus or Preferred Health Class is Unlikely.

Usually not applicable to clients who suffer from Angina.

Standard or Standard Plus is Likely

This is possible for people with stable angina at age 50 or older.  These clients have no other complicating cardiac conditions, are non-smokers, and they follow the doctors’ treatment plan to the letter.

Mild Substandard Rates are Very Likely

A diagnosis with variant angina under age 50, or a diagnosis over age 50 with other complicating factors usually means a mild substandard rating.  The good news is that life insurance is still very affordable, even at mild substandard rates.

Fill out the quote form, and then add on 25% – 50% to “Standard” rates to get an idea.

Moderate Substandard Rates are Likely

Severe angina that is more frequent or recent might qualify for moderate substandard rates. Nitroglycerin prescriptions to control the symptoms could also bump you into a moderate substandard rating category.

The simple fact is, many angina sufferers end up with moderate substandard rates because their angina comes along with other serious heart problems or health conditions.

Thankfully we have underwriting experts who deal with these types of heart problems every day, and we know the life insurance companies who take these risks at the lowest rates.

Declined or Postponed for Traditional Life Insurance

Diagnoses with unstable angina at any age are typically declined, as are diagnoses of any angina in people over 50 who have multiple other coronary risk factors and are smokers.

If you have a bad record of follow-up with your doctor or cardiologist, that could cause a decline or postponement.

Finally, any angina within 90 days or 180 days is usually postponed.  It is still valuable to get the process started for life insurance, even if it is postponed.  Also, many companies may consider you for permanent life insurance products with recent angina, as underwriting for permanent life insurance is usually more lenient.

A Case Study on Life Insurance and Angina Pectoris

Case Study
Jeannette P. is 58 years old. She does not smoke and is a standard rating on the height and weight chart.  Her blood pressure is within range and she controls her cholesterol with 5mg of Rosuvastatin daily.

She has been experiencing chest pains over the last two years, and she takes a calcium channel blocker as needed to control the symptoms.

A review of the attending physicians statement (APS) showed that Jeannette experienced most of her chest pains right after she woke up, usually before breakfast. Her doctors did a few tests to rule out acid reflux or GERD, then ordered a angiogram and did not find any evidence of coronary artery disease.  

Her heart function was normal, she was not at risk for a heart attack and her left ventricle ejection fraction was high.

Jeanette needed short term life insurance coverage until she retired. Her girls were teenagers; one was in college already and one was about to start. A 10 year term policy would fit perfectly.

Jeanette tried first with her homeowner’s insurance company for life insurance and they passed on it. This is where Heart Life Insurance comes into the picture.

I don’t think the previous agent understood her health history. Once you look at her file, this looks like a simple case of variant angina and her doctor agreed in the APS.

After shopping the case to multiple life insurance carriers, one top rated company stood head and shoulders above the rest. Using table credits to lower her rates due to a healthy lifestyle, we were able to secure her mild substandard life insurance rates with variant angina.

10 Year Term Policy for Jeannette, 58 y/o Female
Benefit Amount$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Monthly Payment$106.44$192.06$372.75

Life Insurance with Chest Pain – Now it’s Your Turn

Think of your family. When you die, what kind of financial ruin would you leave them? Are they ready? Do you have a chest of Spanish gold somewhere they can use to pay the bills?  No?

Then what are you waiting for?

You are not getting any younger and tomorrow you will be older than today. Do not delay, now is the time!

Our experts will underwrite your life insurance case and get you approved quickly! Then you can sleep like a baby knowing that your family is protected, no matter what.

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