Obtaining Life Insurance with Cardiovascular Disease
Coronary Heart Disease, also known as Coronary Artery Disease, is a condition where the blood supply traveling to the heart is blocked. In many cases, this is due to the accumulation of plaque that sticks to the walls of the arteries and makes it more difficult for blood to pass through. People can also have Coronary Heart Disease due to birth defects, trauma to the artery, or viral infections. This is a serious condition because the lack of blood flow to the heart can eventually cause a heart attack. Since Coronary Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, people who have it may find it challenging to be approved for life insurance.
Life Insurance Classifications and How Cardiovascular Disease Can Affect Premiums
Whether someone with Coronary Heart Disease is approved or denied for life insurance depends on his or her age and the severity of the condition. When life insurance applications for people with Coronary Heart Disease are approved, it is typically at a higher rate than it would be for someone with no serious health concerns. In a best-case scenario, people over age 60 with only mild symptoms would receive a standard rate. Younger people with moderate to severe symptoms could have their applications declined or be approved only at the substandard level.
The following classifications are common in the life insurance industry:
- Preferred Plus
- Preferred Smoker
- Standard Plus
- Standard Smoker
Underwriting Criteria for Those with Cardiovascular Disease
If an applicant indicates that he or she has Coronary Heart Disease, the underwriter will likely ask several detailed questions in order to assess the company’s level of risk. These may include:
- Whether the applicant smokes or uses any type of tobacco product.
- Family history in regards to heart problems.
- Medications the applicant currently takes to manage his or her Coronary Heart Disease
- Whether the applicant has already suffered a heart attack, had an angioplasty or heart bypass surgery, or been diagnosed with hypertension, high cholesterol, ischemia, or angina.
- The Medical Examination
- The data and results of various heart function tests, including:
- Thallium Stress Test
- Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
- Ultrafast CT
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Most life insurance companies require applicants to submit to a complete physical, whether they have Coronary Heart Disease or not. When someone self-identifies with this condition, the insurer pays special attention to the following:
- Cholesterol level, especially the ratio of HDL or good cholesterol to LDL or bad cholesterol.
- Triglyceride level. Triglycerides are fat lipids that increase a person’s chance of having a heart attack. High levels are often associated with Type II diabetes, obesity, and alcoholism.
The medical exam is also necessary to record the height, weight, age, and overall health of the applicant apart from his or her Coronary Heart Disease.
Best Practices for People with Coronary Heart Disease Applying for Life Insurance
While it can be tempting for the applicant to omit or downplay anything associated with his or her Coronary Heart Disease, it’s never a good idea. The insurer will discover this information through a review of medical records or the medical exam and more than likely deny the application. To improve the odds of approval at an affordable rate, the applicant should include medical test results, contact information for doctors and hospitals, and a letter to explain any extenuating circumstances, If the applicant has made significant progress since being treated for Coronary Heart Disease, he or she should highlight this fact in the letter.
Conditions That Qualify as Cardiovascular Disease
According to the American Heart Association, Coronary Heart Disease is simply a blanket term that describes multiple problems related to plaque accumulation along the artery walls. Life insurance applicants should indicate that they have Coronary Heart Disease if they have been diagnosed with or experienced any of the following:
- Cardiac Arrest
- Childhood Cardiovascular Conditions
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Heart Failure
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Peripheral Artery Disease
Applicants for life insurance should also disclose if they have a condition that increases their likelihood of developing Coronary Heart Disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.