Getting Life Insurance After Stent or Bypass Surgery

Almost everyone who’s had coronary artery disease (CAD) and who has had a stent, stents, or bypass surgery is insurable for life insurance, but the cost can vary greatly depending on your exact CAD diagnosis, how well you’re doing since treatment, and your overall health otherwise.  
You could possibly qualify for “Regular” or Standard rates if you’ve had no heart attack and your health is good otherwise, you were diagnosed over the age of 50 (the older, the better), you only have one or two coronary arteries other than the left main (LM) or left anterior descending (LAD) arteries that were involved,and all of your cardiac check ups since onset have been good, including a good recent stress test (completed within the past 18 months).  
If you were diagnosed with CAD before the age of 50 and/or if you have had a heart attack with no significant heart damage and ejection fraction of 50% or higher, with only one or two coronary arteries involved, you could qualify for a policy with a slight Table 2 or 3 rating or additional charge.
If you’ve had a heart attack or were diagnosed with coronary artery disease prior to the age of 40, your CAD involves 3 or more of your coronary arteries, or you’ve had multiple incidents of CAD, then many insurance companies will decline you, or you’ll be more highly “rated” or charged a Table 4, 6, or even 8 rating than you would for less severe diseases.
In addition, if you have had a heart attack with more significant heart damage and your ejection fraction is less than 50%, you have recurrent chest pain after treatment, you had an abnormal stress test after treatment, or you have multiple issues like CAD and diabetes or CAD and a stroke, many (but not all) insurance companies with decent rates will decline you, regardless of how many coronary arteries were involved. 
“High risk” or Guaranteed Issue companies will still offer you coverage, but it can get expensive. The insurance could have a limited death benefit payout if death occurs in the first two or three policy years and is caused by heart disease or another disease/illness.

If I’ve Been Treated, Why Can’t I Get a Better Offer?

Coronary artery disease is a progressive type of disease, so you’re never really “cured,” even if you had stents or bypass surgery. 
Whether you’ve had a heart attack or not, the extent of your disease (i.e. the more coronary arteries involved and the percentage of blockage in each artery prior to treatment) and how well you’ve done since treatment will be a big determining factor regarding the rate for which you’ll qualify.  
Having no heart attack prior to the discovery of your CAD is better than having a heart attack. One stent being placed is better than two stents, two stents is better than three stents, etc.  A double bypass is better than a triple bypass, a triple is better than a quadruple, etc.  
If the cardiac catheterization report from your CAD incident showed that you had other blockages that were not large enough to require treatment at that time, this could be another issue which could result in a higher than expected rate being offered. 
Even if the blood is flowing smoothly through your coronary arteries now, this does not mean it will continue to do so in the future.  
After I had a cardiac catheterization prior to my aortic valve replacement, my cardiologist told me it can take about 10 years for completely clean coronary arteries to build up enough plaque to cause a potential problem.  
If you had a heart attack, stents, bypass surgery, or any coronary artery disease diagnosis and don’t change your diet, don’t start exercising, don’t lose weight, or don’t stop smoking, it’s highly likely that you’ll have another cardiac issue that could kill you.   
Even if you do everything your cardiologist tells you to, you could still have another incident. This is why life insurance companies usually charge more to people with coronary artery disease. 

So How Do I Get the Best Offer After a Heart Attack, Bypass, or Stents?

As you can see by now, insurance companies will take a lot of criteria into consideration regarding your specific cardiac and other medical history and what rate they may offer you.  
Some insurance companies are great for coronary artery disease, and some are definitely not.  
If you need life insurance but have had a heart problem, a good strategy for you could be to obtain all of your cardiac medical records including the results of your cardiac catheterization report from your initial incident and any later catheterization reports you may have had.  You could provide these medical records to an agent you trust will work in your best interest.  
We’ve spoken to many extremely frustrated people who have applied for life insurance more than one time and were always declined.  Some of these people have been given completely wrong information by other agents and told that no insurance company will offer them life insurance.   
Most life insurance companies will not insure me, but I’ve shopped my own cardiac medical records to so many insurance companies, and I was able to get life insurance at the best rate possible.
We do this all of the time. I’d be happy to do this for you, and it won’t cost you anything.  
With your cardiac medical records, I (or any good agent who has a lot of experience with heart cases) can shop your records to the best insurance companies for heart disease to get offers from numerous insurance companies before having you sign any applications. 
This will save you a lot of time and frustration as opposed to just applying to a random company through Joe Agent who represents only one or a few companies or who has little to no experience on heart issues. 

Case Studies- Getting Life Insurance with Coronary Artery Disease

Shopping CAD cases is not easy, especially when only relying on the answers to questions that you provide. 

Most people don’t know the specifics about their cardiac history that the insurance companies will need to provide an accurate quote.  I don’t know every detail that shows up on my echocardiograms, so I understand most people are not going to know a lot of details.   

These details could be things like which vessels were bypassed or stented, what the percentage of blockage in your vessels was prior to intervention, what your current ejection fraction is, etc.

The following stories are some examples of a few cases we recently shopped and the outcomes.

Male age 49 with 1 Stent placed at age 48

This first one for a 49 year old male with no heart attack and one stent placed at age 48 was definitely an exception to the norm.

We got this gentleman a Standard or Regular rate with no additional rating with one insurance company, whereas a different company offered him a Table 5 rating.

Table 5 is five higher rating classifications than the other “Standard” offer!  

We quoted this gentleman Table 2 and 3 rates prior to having him apply, as these are normal, best-case ratings for anyone with one stent placed prior to age 50. 

After selling 10,000+ insurance policies, we’ve learned never to rely on any one insurance company to make the best offer, since anything can turn up during underwriting.

We had this 49 year old apply for Standard rates with the two most probable, best insurance companies for him. 

The first company offered him the standard rate of $3,184 per year, and the second company offered him the Table 5 rate of $5,724 per year due to “moderate to severe CAD at a young age.”

This is saving $2,540 per year, and these offers are from companies that are both relatively aggressive for coronary artery disease cases. Both companies have offered Standard rates in the past for one stent CAD cases. 


Male age 49 with 1 stent placed at age 48, also with left bundle branch block and sleep apnea

This case is similar to the above, but the outcome was much different.

This gentleman also had one stent placed a year ago, indicating he’s had good cardiac follow ups since and good stress test results within past 12 months. He has left bundle branch block and sleep apnea for which he uses mouthpiece, and he quit smoking about 18 months ago. 

I also quoted him Table 2 to 3 rates as a range of the cost but had him apply for Standard rates with the two most probable, best companies for him. 

One company offered him a Table 4 rate, whereas the other offered him a Table 5 rate.

The reason for the higher than expected ratings was that even though he only had one stent placed in his circumflex artery, his medical records showed that he had coronary artery disease in other vessels including moderate disease in the left anterior descending artery. There was also mention in his records of fact that “he needs to be considered for intervention to two other lesions”. 

As as we always do when we get a higher than expected offer, we shopped his case to other carriers.

We were given one Table 3 offer from another carrier, but this carrier’s Table 3 rate was actually $637 more per year than the Table 4 offer that was made by the first company. 

IMPORTANT: Pay less attention to the rate class for which you qualify (i.e. Standard, Table 2, Table 4, etc.), and only focus on the actual cost of the policy. 

We also got several other Table 4 offers, one Table 5, a couple Table 6 offers, one Table 8, and several companies indicated they’d actually decline this gentleman. 

No other companies were able to beat the Table 4 rate for which this gentleman already qualified and this offer was accepted.

Even if we’ve quoted higher rates, we always have our clients apply for a better rate class, as we don’t want the underwriters to assume we are okay with anything but the absolute best case offer.


Male age 58, 4 stents placed 3 years ago

This gentleman had a total of four stents placed in two separate procedures a month apart, never had heart attack, and indicated he had a good stress test six months ago.  He also had two cardiac catheterizations since the stents were placed due to chest pain, but he suggested that these tests ruled out CAD as the issue for his pain.

I quoted him Table 4 and 5 rates based on above and had him apply to the three most probable, best insurance companies for him because he wanted to apply for both whole life insurance and term insurance. 

The whole life company and one of the term companies declined him after we submitted his full medical records, and the one underwriter summarized her reason for the decline as follows:

“… progressive Coronary Artery Disease with need for multiple interventions in past, unstable Angina, Atrial Fibrillation, and excess Alcohol use.  Insured has had 4 stents. He has had to have 4 cardiac caths due to either abnormal cardiac testing or ongoing cardiac symptoms. The last dr visit indicates he still had uncorrected CAD and if medical management does not work he will need bypass. So basically we have a guy only age 58 w/ multivessel disease and not all lesions have been corrected.”

While I can always go back to underwriter about having two to three Miller Lights a day to request reconsideration, the other issues were significant and valid reasons for almost every company to decline.  

The other term insurance case was still alive, but there was mention of possible sleep apnea in medical records. His doctor recommended sleep study for which this gentleman just had and provided me with copy that showed moderate sleep apnea, for which he was prescribed CPAP.

There is usually a six month waiting period after a CPAP is prescribed to make sure the patient is compliant with its use. I was expecting another decline or postponement, but I provided the underwriter with all of the sleep apnea information and asked for approval. The underwriter approved at a Table 5 rating, which even shocked me, as I was fully expecting a higher rate to be offered.

The case was placed at Table 5, and this gentleman was happy to get such a great offer.


Male 52, Quadruple Bypass Age 45 

This gentleman contacted us after he hard time qualifying for life insurance.

He had no heart attack, but he had some tightness in chest and some light headedness at age 45. It was determined he had significant coronary artery disease, so he had quadruple bypass. 

We had him apply to the two most probable, best insurance companies for him and quoted him Table 4 to 6 rates as a range of the cost prior to him applying.

The first insurance company declined him due to the fact that his cardiac medical records showed he had diffuse CAD throughout his coronary arteries, including vessels that were not bypassed but may require intervention in the future.

The second company approved him at a Table 5 rate due to his extensive CAD and atrial fibrillation mentioned in his medical records.  We reviewed his medical records and saw almost no evidence that he had atrial fibrillation other than a few incidents of irregular heart beats right after his open heart bypass surgery.

Based on our past experience, many people may have some irregular heart beats after open heart surgery. 

We pushed back to underwriter and emphasized how there were no mentions of a-fib in past several years in medical records, as well as the fact that his cholesterol, BP, blood sugar, and everything else was pretty good and asked her to improve on the offer.

The underwriter changed the offer to a Table 4, and the case was placed!


Conclusion- Getting Life Insurance After Stent/Bypass Surgery

As you can see from above, the offers you’ll get after having a stent or stents placed or after bypass surgery can vary greatly based on your exact cardiac history. 

Apply to the wrong company and you could end up being declined or charged much more than you should.

Use your better judgement when determining if any agent or agency you decide to apply through seems to be familiar with stent or bypass cases and ask them what happens if you don’t end up qualifying for the rate you were quoted. 

We’ve shopped thousands of coronary artery disease cases, but even we don’t pick the best company on our first try every time.  

Conversely, we do have the perfect system to “re-shop” any case, and we obtain all medical records so we can easily “flip you” to any other insurance company later.  

We’d recommend avoiding those smooth-talking call center insurance agents, as their only goal is to get you to apply and then move on to the next case.   

If you’d like to get a quote with no obligation on your part to do or pay anything, or if you don’t want to be called 15 times by the call center insurance agents trying to get you to apply through them (we’ve heard the horror stories), simply click on the link above, answer the health questions, and we’ll email you quotes and information. 

We’re too busy shopping tough cardiac cases to hassle you to apply through us, but we will do our absolute best to get you the best offer possible if you’d like to give us the opportunity.

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