What Insurance Underwriters Consider After a Stent or Bypass Surgery
If You’re Like Most, You May Not Know the Specifics
If I’ve Been Treated, Why Can’t I Get a Better Offer?
CAD Is a Progressive Disease
So How Do I Get the Best Offer After a Bypass or Stents?
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.
Inevitably, most people don’t know the real 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.
As I mentioned above, 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 are some examples of some cases we recently shopped and the outcomes:
Male age 49 with 1 Stent placed at age 48
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 shopping 25,000+ cases and selling thousands of 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 (no downside in applying for best case scenario).
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 a savings of $2,540 per year, or $50,800 over 20 years…these offers were from companies that are both aggressive for CAD cases and 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 also 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 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 instead 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 (what’s the big deal underwriter), the other issues were significant and valid reasons for almost every company to decline.
The other term 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 pushed for an 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 age 75 with 1 Stent placed LAD at age 67
This 75 year old male had 1 stent placed in Left Anterior Descending artery with no heart attack and was in good health otherwise.
The LAD is a major artery and most insurance companies will “rate” or charge more for life insurance when there’s LAD or Left Main artery involvement.
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 3 rating.
Table 3 is 75% more than Standard rates.
We quoted this gentleman Standard to Table 2 rates prior to having him apply, as we were confident we could get him these rates.
This gentleman purchased a GUL to age 90 policy and the better rate was $2,392 less per year than the higher rate…
We’ll have saved this gentleman $35,880 if he lives to age 90 and GUL offers the added flexibility of being able to extend the duration of coverage at anytime, with no new underwriting.
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 (I did).
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!
Male 75, Triple Bypass Age 61
This gentleman contacted us after he retired and the cost to convert his group life insurance was unaffordablel!
He had no heart attack, but he had triple bypass 14 years ago, he’s had good regular cardiac follow ups since, he took both cholesterol and blood pressure medication, he was 5′ 10″- 180 pounds and was in good health otherwise.
We had him apply for regular or standard rates to the two most probable best insurance companies for him…but quoted him Table 2 to 3 rates as a range of the cost prior to him applying.
The first approval was at the lower standard rate class…which we were all happy about.
The second company approved him at a Table 4 rate due to his triple bypass history.
This Table 4 rate was $1,103 more per year than the Standard rate offer and this gentleman will save $11,028 over the 10 year term.
Conclusion- Getting Life Insurance After Stent or 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 companies on our first try every single time.
Our Re-Shopping System Can’t Be Beat Either
But 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 to 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’ll do our absolute best to get you the best offer possible if you’d like to give us the opportunity.
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Since 1992, Gordon E. Conwell, III (G3) has helped thousands of ”higher risk” individuals get the best life insurance rate/value. Being a high risk himself, he knows the struggles you’ll face trying to get affordable life insurance. His unique shopping process and underwriting knowledge will result in the best offers, every time!