Can you get life insurance with a pacemaker?
You may have already been denied life insurance in the past due to your pacemaker or the heart condition that it is used to treat. Due to recent advancements in technology, let me share some good news with you:
Yes, you can absolutely get life insurance with a pacemaker AND at great rates too.
In the past this was not always the case. However, more Americans than ever are having pacemakers implanted. Technology is rapidly improving the quality of the devices, and therefore life insurance companies are much more open to pacemaker patients and at younger ages than before.
Not all life insurance companies look at your pacemaker equally. Some companies will charge you much more for life insurance because of it or decline you outright.
Out of all the life insurance companies in the world, do you know –with certainty–which one will give you the best value?
Look, we are all for do-it-yourself, DIY, “get-you-hands” dirty type work. Usually you can save some money that way–however–that’s not the case with life insurance. The insurance regulators of every state mandate that consumers get the same rates on life insurance whether they go direct to the companies themselves or work with an expert.
Get our underwriting experts involved for your best approval at the lowest rates
Your best bet for a life insurance approval at the lowest rates is to work with an underwriting expert who understands heart conditions. We know the best life insurance companies and the tricks to get your plan approved quickly.
Why would you needlessly spend thousands more for your life insurance by going it alone? Our services are free, so leave the DIY to your weekend projects, honey-do lists, your car or your hobbies.
This article was designed to help you understand the relationship between pacemakers and life insurance and what you can do to improve your chances of life insurance at the best rates.
If you want to skip the article, just click the button below to get your free quote started instead.
Here is a handy guide to this article, feel free to head directly to the section you need.
- If your Pacemaker has a Defibrillator / AICD / ICD and you need Life Insurance.
- Underwriting Pacemaker Life Insurance Approvals
- Real expectations for life insurance after a pacemaker
- What are the Rates on Life Insurance with a Pacemaker?
- Final thoughts on Life Insurance with a Pacemaker
If your Pacemaker has a Defibrillator / AICD / ICD and you need Life Insurance:
What you are about to read applies to pacemakers only. Does your pacemaker have a automatic implantable cardioverter or defibrillator attached? If so, check these other articles out, they will be more helpful for you
Again, if your pacemaker also has a defibrillator your rules are different and you should check out one of the above articles about CHF or Cardiomyopathy.
Why are Pacemakers Installed?
While the pacemaker itself will certainly impact your chances at approval and your rating for life insurance, why you need the pacemaker will be the most important factor.
There are a number of reasons why a person may need a pacemaker, but it is usually due to a group of conditions known as arrhythmias in which the rhythm of the heartbeat is abnormal.
A subset of arrhythmia is called bradycardia (or slow heartbeat). Bradycardia accounts for most of the pacemakers installed, and the #2 cause is a heart block of some kind.
A pacemaker is implanted with minor surgery, and along with lifestyle changes, they can greatly improve a person’s heart condition. Keeping the heart in normal or sinus rhythm increases the likelihood that you will live a longer life, and that’s a win-win for everybody.
Pacemaker Patients and Life Insurance
There are approximately 3 million people in the world currently living with pacemakers, and over 600,000 new pacemakers are implanted each year.
Life insurance companies are not going to leave such a large number of potential customers without insurance. In fact, there are some companies that specialize in these types of “high risk” cases, and it is with these companies that pacemaker patients.
That is one reason why it is important to apply with an independent underwriting expert who specializes in people with heart conditions.
We know what companies are the best fit for your specific needs and will put your application to several different companies, improving your approval odds and giving you the ability to choose the best policy for you.
Life insurance is all about risk. During your application process, it is the job of the insurer to determine how much of a risk it would be to provide you with coverage.
The good news is most patients live long and healthy lives. That makes this condition insurable for these life insurance companies that specialize in high risk.
Underwriting Pacemaker Life Insurance Approvals
First, let’s check out the underwriting guidelines for pacemakers from one of America’s largest life insurance companies.
What are underwriters looking for?
In case you cannot read that, here are the questions an underwriter will want to know:
What condition is your pacemaker treating?
The pacemaker itself is not as much of a concern to insurance companies as the condition for which it was implanted. As it was aforementioned, bradycardia and heart blocks are the most common reasons. However, some other heart conditions that a pacemaker may treat include:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Heart Block (either full or partial)
- Coronary artery disease
- Syncope (fainting)
If you have any of the above conditions, read the article dealing with that specific heart condition. It will be the main underwriting issue, not the pacemaker.
When was your pacemaker implanted?
This will be an important factor in determining your approval and rating class. Except in the case of congenital heart block, having pacemaker surgery at a young age will negatively impact your chances.
BEST RATE TIP!
In certain cases, older is better!
Heart problems at a younger age have a higher likelihood for major heart problems in the future. Therefore, pacemaker surgeries at an older age (60 plus) lead to a better health class and lower rates.
Recent surgeries will not get an approval right away. Generally speaking, insurance companies want a period of at least three to six months to pass before they will issue a policy.
Has your arrhythmia improved with the pacemaker?
If the pacemaker is successfully treating your condition, it may actually improve your rating.
Have you recently experienced chest pains or other symptoms?
If you are experiencing additional symptoms as a result of your pacemaker, it could result in higher premiums or even denial. Insurance companies want to see that the pacemaker has made your condition better, not worse.
Any complications from your pacemaker surgery?
Complications of pacemakers include malfunction, ventricular dysfunction, blood clots, and infection. There can also be perforation in the wall where the lead is implanted.
Have you recently had medical tests performed? If so, what were the results?
Insurance companies will require a lot of information when reviewing your application. This may include results from x-rays, EKG, stress tests and others.
Real expectations for life insurance after a pacemaker
Life Insurance rates are determined by your age and health class. There are 20 different health classes, so after a pacemaker what kind of health class can you expect?
Preferred / Preferred Plus
This is the best health class, and these rates are reserved for the healthiest of the healthy. Only about 4% of the population gets preferred plus. Unfortunately, pacemaker patients are not eligible for these rate classes.
Be wary of anyone quoting you preferred or preferred plus life insurance rates with a pacemaker. They are not possible.
You may be working with a junior agent who does not have experience in heart conditions, or they are setting you up for a bait and switch. Best to move your business elsewhere.
This is the best case scenario for life insurance with a pacemaker and standard rates are not likely. Most often the underlying cause that necessitates a pacer will keep us away from this health class.
We do find approvals at Standard on occasion, and you could get these results if:
- your pacemaker was installed later in life, i.e. age 60 or beyond, and
- your cardiac followup looks great, your echo-cardiograms look great, and there are no structural changes in your heart due to rhythm issues, like atrial remodeling, or left ventricular hypertrophy, and
- there are no other health complications like Afib, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.
Substandard or Table Ratings
This is a likely outcome. Most life insurance approvals with a pacemaker land in the mild substandard range.
But my doctor says I’m in perfect health. Why could I get substandard rates?
We hear this every day, and we get it. First off, do not get tied up in the terminology. “Substandard,” “Table Rated,” or a “rated policy,” terms all mean a plan that is going to be priced slightly higher than a standard rate class.
Most rate classes at a life insurance company are table-rated, and most people with heart disease qualify for a substandard rating of some point.
That doesn’t mean they are substandard people, it doesn’t mean they are going to die next week, and it doesn’t mean they pay crazy rates for life insurance. Rates are at an all-time low, so life insurance is still extremely affordable even for a “rated” policy. Don’t worry about it.
Take a look at an underwriting guide below:
If that’s tough to read or understand, basically this insurance company rates a pacemaker somewhere between table 2 (B) or table 4 (D), depending on when it was installed.
Once you add on an underlying condition like Afib or an additional condition like diabetes or sleep apnea, the underlying heart condition becomes the major rating factor, not the pacemaker itself.
Declined / Postponed Coverage
If you apply with the wrong company your application will be denied outright. Work with an underwriting expert and avoid this common pitfall.
Otherwise, if you apply too soon after the pacemaker procedure most life insurance companies will want you to wait. They will decline or postpone your application 6 months after surgery.
Your life insurance application could be declined with a severe heart condition. However, we will know that before we even apply and we will pursue other options.
What are the Rates on Life Insurance with a Pacemaker?
Pacemaker Life Insurance Case Study
Virginia B. had a pacemaker installed when she was 62 to deal with a second degree heart block. She is 65 now, non-smoker, lives a healthy lifestyle and has no other complications or symptoms.
Virginia had dizzy spells before her heart block was treated. Since the procedure, she has been symptom free and she watches her diet like a hawk!
We were able to secure standard rates for Virginia with an A rated life insurance company as follows:
That was a 20 year term, A rated company for Virginia B., quoted in 2019. In many cases someone like Virginia who is looking for life insurance in her 60’s would be better off with a 10 or a 15 year term policy, just something long enough to cover her income until she retired.
If you are in the same age range and situation, your rates would be lower for a 10 or a 15 year term life insurance policy. So run an instant quote yourself and see what you get!
Final thoughts on Life Insurance with a Pacemaker
While having a pacemaker may complicate the process of getting life insurance, it is not impossible. Insurers will want to see that the pacemaker has made your condition better and that you are living a healthy lifestyle.
If you don’t have any other underlying heart conditions, fill out our FREE quote form and use “Standard” as your rate class. You can see what you qualify for today.
Look – you are as young as you will ever be today.
Right now is your best chance to protect your family and get the lowest life insurance rates.
We have worked with so many different pacemaker patients like yourself, we can help you find the best company for you quickly. Don’t put this off for another minute. Fill out the instant quote request form and together we will protect your family today.