Getting Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

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Getting life insurance after a heart attack is possible, but not all heart attacks are underwritten the same and the rates for which you’ll qualify can vary greatly.

One of the most important things in determining if you’re insurable for “regular insurance” after a heart attack is how much heart damage you sustained from the heart attack.

A key indicator in determining your degree of heart damage is your left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) which shows how well your heart is pumping blood out to your body. 

If your LVEF is 40% or less, then you’ll likely only qualify for guaranteed issue or guaranteed acceptance life insurance

If your LVEF is 45% or higher (the higher, the better), then you may be insurable. 

But having an LVEF of 45% or higher is only one “piece of the puzzle” in determining if you’re insurable and best rates and insurance companies for you.

Important When Applying for Insurance After Heart Attack

Your age when you had the heart attack and the severity of your coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis are also big factors in the rates for which you’ll qualify or if you’ll qualify at all.

The younger you are when you had the heart attack, the tougher it is to get life insurance.  So having a heart attack in your 30’s makes it much tougher to get a decent life insurance rate/policy compared to if you were in your 40’s, 50’s or 60’s when you had the heart attack. 

The extent of your disease based on the cardiac catheterization results showing the percentage of blockage in each of your coronary arteries and the specific arteries that had blockages will have a big determining factor in the rate for which you’ll qualify. 

Blockage in the left main and left anterior descending arteries, known as the “widow maker” arteries, can result in a higher rate being offered than if you only had blockage in your circumflex or right coronary artery.

If you’ve had a 70% or higher blockage in any of your coronary arteries, this could result in a higher rate being offered than if you only had a 50% or 60% blockage.  The reason is because coronary artery disease is a progressive type of disease.  So you’re never really cured even if you’ve had bypass surgery or angioplasty and stents. 

Over 300,000 people each year have a recurrent heart attack (i.e. second, third, etc.) and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world! 

I happened to have had a cardiac catheterization prior to having heart surgery.  I asked the doctor that performed the catheterization how long it can take perfectly clean arteries to develop blockages that are serious enough to require intervention.  He told me how it can vary greatly from person to person, but he said 10 years was a good estimate. 

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How To Get The Best Life Insurance Rate After Heart Attack

Make sure you quit smoking and quit using all tobacco for that matter. 

If you’re overweight, lose weight. 

Get involved in an exercise program even if it’s only regular walking several times per week.

Change your diet to a heart healthy diet

All life insurance underwriter’s want to see that you’ve had a good stress test in previous 12 to 18 months.  So even if your doctor never recommended having one, ask them to schedule one for you.  This alone has helped us to get a 2 rate classification improvement on some cases. 

If your doctor has not prescribed you a blood thinning medication, then taking an aspirin or baby aspirin every day is a good decision and make sure to tell any insurance agent and insurance examiner (at time of insurance exam) that you do take aspirin daily.    

Provide as much information as you can regarding your positive lifestyle changes to any agent you’re applying through and ask them to relay this information to the insurance company.  We do this on every case and it’s paid off time and time again.

Reason’s You’ll Be Declined for Life Insurance After Heart Attack

If your ejection fraction is less than 45% or if you sustained severe heart damage, you’ll likely be declined.

If you continue to smoke cigarettes after a heart attack, or use other nicotine based products like e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco or even nicotine gum or patch, then you’ll likely be declined.

If your cholesterol levels are highly abnormal after a heart attack, then you could be declined.

If you have ongoing Angina or chest pain or if you use nitroglycerine after a heart attack, then you’ll likely be declined.

If you’ve had heart attack and other cardiac problems, like more serious type of irregular heart beats, then you could be declined.

If you had heart attack and other health issues like past stroke or diabetes that is not very well controlled, then you could be declined.

If you don’t get regular cardiac check ups or if you have not seen cardiologist in more than 2 years, then you could be declined/postponed until you have  more recent check up

If you’ve had heart attack within last 6 months, you’ll be postponed and not able to qualify for life insurance until 6 month’s have passed and all follow up check ups have been good since heart attack.

What You Can Expect To Pay After Heart Attack 

This is not an easy question to answer since there are many variables involved in determining the best rate and insurance company for you depending on your exact heart attack history and your overall health and lifestyle otherwise. 

According to life insurance industry guidelines, the severity of your heart disease will be determined and classified by the amount of heart muscle that would be in jeopardy if the coronary artery obstructs at the site of an atherosclerotic plaque lesion. 

So without seeing your cardiac catheterization report, follow up EKG and echocardiogram, in addition to knowing nothing about your specific overall health otherwise, it is impossible for any life insurance agent or website to quote you an even semi-accurate rate.

While we have gotten unbeatable offers on past heart attack cases , below are some monthly cost estimates of what you could expect to pay for life insurance at various ages after having a heart attack. 

We’re showing 2 rates in each category below as a range of the cost.  These estimates below are for $250,000 of 20 year guaranteed level premium insurance and assume a left ventricular ejection fraction of 50% or higher and that overall health checks out as fairly good otherwise.  The actual rate for which you qualify could be lower or higher than these monthly rates below.

  • Male Age 35: $56 – $69          Female Age 35: $48 – $54
  • Male Age 40: $65 – $77          Female Age 40: $54 – $64
  • Male Age 45: $86 – $106        Female Age 45: $65 – $80
  • Male Age 50: $98 – $128        Female Age 50: $73 – $95
  • Male Age 55: $152 – $201      Female Age 55: $106 – $140
  • Male Age 60: $252 – $294      Female Age 60: $176 – $205
  • Male Age 65: $447 – $521      Female Age 65: $315 – $367
  • Male Age 70: $611 – $782      Female Age 70: $443 – $555

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Bottom Line

If your ejection fraction is over 45% to 50%, you’re doing everything you should be doing like not smoking, exercising, eating well, seeing your cardiologist regularly and if your overall health is decent otherwise, then you should qualify for a decent life insurance policy with a great insurance company.

If your ejection fraction is less than 45%, you still smoke or use other tobacco/nicotine products, you don’t exercise, don’t eat well, don’t see cardiologist regularly, then you’ll likely be declined with all of the competitive insurance companies.  There are still insurance companies that may insure you, but it could be for overpriced and inferior coverage.

Based on the numerous comments we’ve heard from people that have had heart attacks and were told that “no life insurance companies will insure them”, we know there is a lot of bad information being told to heart attack survivors by insurance agents or people that don’t know what they’re talking about. 

If you’d like more information, please feel free to call us at 1-800-380-3533, click here to email us or simply click on this link to complete a brief secure form and we will email you with quote.