Life Insurance with History of Heart Disease

Life Insurance with Heart DiseaseWhen most people search for life insurance with history of heart disease on the internet, they are referring to coronary artery disease, or CAD.  However, there are multiple types of heart disease that may affect the heart muscle, valves, electrical system, as well as your arteries and veins, and more.

Regardless of the type of cardiac disease you’ve had, we at Huntley Wealth Insurance are the experts at finding affordable term and whole life policies.  The purpose of this article is to discuss the various types of cardiac issues people have, and your insurance options for each.

In each case, your ability to qualify for life insurance will depend on how your heart disease was (or is) treated, and compliance with prescribed medications and regular check-ups with your cardiologist or attending physician.

Life Insurance with Coronary Artery Disease

We’ve had a lot of success insuring our clients with a history of coronary artery disease, which is a condition where the arteries that take blood to the heart harden and become narrow.

With blood flow being restricted to the heart, this condition leads to heart attacks, and is the #1 cause of death in America for both men and women.  Your ability to secure affordable life insurance with a history of coronary artery disease will depend on several factors.

  1. Treatment/Severity – For some people, treatment will be nothing more than a change in diet and adding a blood pressure or cholesterol medication.  For others, stenting or bypass surgery may be required.  Better offers are available to clients with milder forms of CAD.
  2. Early Diagnosis – Was your heart disease caught early or did it lead to a heart attack or angina?  The important factor here is whether damage was done to your heart.
  3. Degree of Stenosis – A life insurance company will want to know if other vessels were blocked/stenosed, and to what degree.  Obviously, the lower percent of blockage, the better for life insurance purposes.
  4. Follow Up – Regular cardiac check ups are a must.  Your odds of securing affordable life insurance will increase dramatically if you’ve had favorable cardiac testing, such as a stress echo test, echocardiogram (EKG), EBCT or angiography.
  5. Other Risk Factors – Some risk factors associated with coronary artery disease, and just about any type of heart disease for that matter, are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight, smoking, lack of exercise, and diabetes.  When you compound your history of heart disease with these risk factors, you are much less likely to qualify for life insurance.

Life Insurance with Other Types of Heart Disease

We have also obtained excellent life insurance offers for people with valve disease and heart diseases affecting the electrical system.  As for valve disease, the three main types are stenosis, regurgitation and prolapse.

In some cases, you can qualify for coverage with mild cases of valve disease, but most of our clients come to us after having valve replacement surgery or valve repair surgery.

After valve surgery, you can expect to be approved in the Standard to Table 5 range, assuming the treatment was successful and no other risk factors exist.

You may have a disease affecting the electronic signals in your heart.  This may cause your heart to beat too fast or too slowly, or with irregularity.  Of these, the most common types we see are atrial fibrillation (or arrhythmia), sinus tachycardia, and sinus bradycardia.  Treatment may include medication, a pacemaker, or surgery.

Atrial fibrillation is not nearly as problematic as ventricular fibrillation.  If the atrial fibrillation has not required hospitalization in the past two years and is under apparent control, you can almost certainly be approved for affordable life insurance with this heart disease.

Defibrillator – When a patient has had a more serious history of arrhythmias, sometimes they get a defibrillator implanted in their heart (ICD), which treats life threatening arrhythmias.  Anyone with a defibrillator will need to apply for a simplified issue or guaranteed issue policy.

Congestive heart failure – It’s not impossible to be approved for traditional term or whole life insurance with congestive heart failure, but depends on the severity how time elapsed since diagnoses.  With recent diagnosis and excellent control, (no fluid buildup in lungs, feet, or legs) you may be approved at a substandard rate.  Your alternative is to purchase a simplified issue or guaranteed issue policy as explained below, if you can’t qualify for a traditional policy.

Simplified Issue and Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance for Heart Disease Patients

In some cases, heart disease is just too risky for a traditionally underwritten policy, and you’ll have to go with a simplified issue or guaranteed issue policy.  These policies may be available in 10 or 20 year term policies or whole life.

In both cases, the death benefit will only pay out return of premium plus a percentage, such as 10 to 20%, during the first 2-3 years, known as a graded death benefit plan.  Fidelity Life Association has wonderful graded benefit term and whole life plans.

These policies may have five or six medical questions you need to be able to answer no to in order to qualify, in the case of simplified issue.  In the case of guaranteed issue, there are no medical questions to qualify.

Regardless of your type of condition, Huntley Wealth Insurance offers the most options and most expertise for people who need life insurance with a history of heart disease.  Please call us at 877-996-9383 for quotes or use our instant quote form on the right.

Life Insurance Approval with Congestive Heart Failure

If you go to your run of the mill agency like State Farm or Farmers Insurance, you won’t have a chance at being approved for life insurance with congestive heart failure.  We have, however, obtained many successful approvals with this heart condition and many other types of impaired risk cases.

Two Types of Approval

An individual with congestive heart failure may qualify for two types of insurance:  traditional life insurance or graded death benefit life insurance.  Traditional coverage will require a medical exam and is usually much less expensive.  You will need to be in better health to qualify for this type.

The key to a traditional policy approval will be a recent echocardiogram, treadmill stress test, or cardiac catheterization showing that the heart is not overly enlarged, and the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is still within acceptable levels.

The ejection fraction measures how efficiently the left ventricle pumps the blood.  Normal is around 50% to 60%.  But in people with heart failure, the ejection fraction drops, sometimes into the 40’s, 30’s or even 20’s.  It will need to be in the 40’s to have a chance at a traditional policy.

Your odds are also better of being approved if you are a non smoker, at a good weight, with no other health issues, such as diabetes.  The insurance carriers will expect that you will be on medication to control your blood pressure, so that’s okay.

Graded Death Benefit

If your heart failure is in later stages, your ejection fraction may be lower than this, and your only option will be to apply for a graded death benefit type of policy.

This type of life insurance is far easier to qualify for.  As long as you haven’t been confined to a nursing home or had a heart attack or transplant in the past 2 years, or currently hospitalized, you can potentially qualify for this coverage.  There are other qualifying questions related to other medical conditions, but those are the only conditions as it relates to your heart.

A graded death benefit policy works a bit differently than traditional, in that you don’t need to have a medical exam, and they won’t order your medical records, so it’s much quicker.  However, it is also more expensive than the traditional variety.

The term “graded death benefit” is also very important.  It means your death benefit is reduced during the first 2 years of the policy.  For example, if you have a policy with a $50,000 death benefit, the benefit might only be $5,000 in the first year, $10,000 in the second year, and then $50,000 thereafter.  The most popular and reputable company offering graded death benefit life insurance is Fidelity Life Association.

Types of Life Insurance Offered by Fidelity

One of the nice things working with Fidelity’s impaired risk products is they have their graded policy, which is a whole life policy, which builds cash value.  But what is unique is they also offer a lower cost type of insurance called term, which keeps the premiums fixed for the duration of the term.  For example, they offer 10 year term, 20 and 30 year term policy, which also has the first 2 years as a graded benefit.

To get started with a life insurance quote with congestive heart failure, simply fill out our quote form on the right, and tell the representative who contacts you about your entire health history.

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How to Get the Best Deal on Life Insurance in CA

California Life InsuranceWhen shopping for California life insurance, it’s important to understand the type of life insurance that suits your needs, the amount needed, and have some idea of what health rating you’ll qualify for.

With these three components, you can search for quotes on the right and have an accurate estimate of how much your life insurance policy will cost.

Types of Insurance

The main types of life insurance available in California are whole life and term life insurance.  While many people have heard of whole life, it has become less popular over the past 20 years, since the premiums are considerably higher than term.

The basic difference is this.  Whole life insurance covers you for your entire life, and also builds cash value within the policy.  So if you cancel your policy 10, 20, or 30 years down the line, you’ll most likely get some money back.

Term life insurance, which has been heavily recommended by financial professionals such as Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman, is designed to provide a large amount of coverage for a fraction of the cost of whole life.

Another difference is term life will often provide coverage with level premiums for a shorter period of time, such as 10, 15, or 30 year time frame.  After the initial period of level premiums, most people let their term policies lapse, because they no longer need the coverage, or the renewal premiums cost too much.

Return of Premium, No Exam Life Insurance, and Guaranteed Issue in California

Other types of California life insurance are return of premium policies, no exam policies, and guaranteed issue policies.  Life insurance with return of premium riders will refund 100% of the premiums you paid into the policy if you live to the end of the term.

While many individuals opt for the traditional life insurance application process, which includes a medical exam, you can also buy policies in California that do not require a medical exam.  Historically, these were much more expensive than policies with the exam, but companies like Fidelity Life Association have really streamlined the process and made it quite affordable.

For the individual with considerable health concerns, California does offer some guaranteed issue policies, such as Presidential’s guaranteed issue option.  These must be sold face to face.  Since we are in California, we are able to meet you to take the application in most cases.

We are in San Diego, but have flown to Sacramento and San Francisco for applications before.  We also routinely travel to Anaheim and Los Angeles, CA, so we can easily meet you if you live in these areas.  We are committed to providing the lowest cost California life insurance in the state!

Guaranteed issue literally contains zero questions about your health on the application.  Everyone qualifies health-wise.  So you could have HIV or terminal cancer, and still get a guaranteed issue policy.

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

One of the nice tools we have on our website is a life insurance calculator which will help you determine how much life insurance to purchase.  It can help you if you know how much income your family would need to replace your income and long they will need it.

For example, if your dependents would require $50,000 of income for a 10 year period of time, the calculator recommends $440,897 of life insurance, factoring in inflation and interest.

Let’s say you are a high earning 40 year old husband.  You have a $600,000 mortgage.  You want your wife to have at least 20 years of income replacement if something should happen to you.  You figure she would need $75,000 per year to continue to pay the mortgage and other bills.  This scenario would not be uncommon in California.

In this case, you need about $1.1 Million.  This will provide $75,000 per year, with cost of living increases, for a 20 year period.  Of course, the other option would be for your wife to pay off the $600,000 mortgage and use the remaining $500,000 as income replacement.

Assessing Your Health Rating

All California life insurance companies assess a rating class to each of their clients based on health and tobacco use.  For example, a man in excellent health, taking no medications and good build may qualify for Preferred Plus, the best rating available.

But let’s say you’re 30 pounds overweight.  In this case, you might qualify for Regular Plus or Preferred, rather than the best rating.

Some health conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea, history of heart disease or cancer, etc, will probably lead to a Regular (Standard) rating or lower.

Other factors that may affect your rating class are your occupation, hazardous hobbies or travels, your driving record, and family history.  Just use common sense.  If you drive like a maniac and have had your license suspended twice, or if both of your parents died of cancer at age 50, the insurance company must weigh these types of risk into the class assessed to you.

If you’re not sure what rating you would qualify for, it’s best to just quote yourself at Standard or Regular.  This is supposedly the rating that someone with an “average life expectancy” should qualify for.

Or if you want a more accurate California life insurance quote, call us at 877-996-9383.