NT-proBNP, Cardiovascular Disease and Life Insurance


There’s a relatively new test that life insurance companies are doing on blood results called the NT-proBNP, or N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide.  It’s a blood level that, when elevated, increases the likelihood of having cardiovascular issues.   

The higher your NT-proBNP, the more likely you are to have a cardiovascular incident like a heart attack or a stroke.   

A normal NT-proBNP for people under age 75 is 125 pg/mL or less.  The lower, the better.   

A normal NT-proBNP for people age 75 and older is 450 pg/mL or less.    

I just read an article about NT-proBNP, and I am also convinced that this is a good indicator for insurance companies to use, though it is far from perfect.   

My feeling is that if you have other risk factors, like a family history of cardiovascular disease, irregular heart beats, high cholesterol, AND an elevated NT-proBNP, then the combination of these things may be a reason to place you in a higher rate category with some life insurance companies.    

I also feel that the really aggressive insurance companies for cardiovascular disease should and may cut you a break if you do have an elevated NT-proBNP with no other risk factors.     


As a part of their underwriting, 60% of life insurance companies are currently using the NT-proBNP.  I suspect more will start to use it in the future.   

Since I do a lot of cases for people with cardiovascular related issues, I wanted to have a list of insurance companies that were currently using the NT-proBNP as part of their underwriting, but after making some inquiries, I realize that the insurance companies don’t want the fact that they are or are not using this test to be publicized.   

Like all underwriting issues, even the NT-proBNP can be viewed differently by two different insurance companies.  It is also not totally accurate, so if you have a high NT-proBNP reading don’t stress out over it. Maybe talk to your doctor or be proactive to maintain good health by eating right, exercising, quit smoking, etc. 

I recently got an inquiry from a 64 year old gentleman, and it turned out he was declined by a life insurance company because of an elevated NT-proBNP of 250.  He’s never had any cardiac issues in the past, but this test alone was enough to cause a life insurance company to decline him. 

He originally applied through another agent and did not want to have another insurance exam, so I had him apply to one of the most aggressive “no exam” term companies. They ended up offering him their second best Preferred rate. 

This no exam term company that made the good offer did see on the MIB that this gentleman had recently applied to another insurance company, and they asked me for details from the outcome of this other application, which I provided.  I was pleasantly surprised when this underwriter told me that he’d offer a Preferred rate without requiring any other testing or even a letter from this man’s doctor verifying that he’s never had any type of cardiovascular issues.    


Two months ago I had another gentleman who was 68 years old apply to the two most probable, best insurance companies for him, as I was unsure which would make him the best offer.  One of the companies approved him for their absolute best “Super Preferred” rate, whereas the other company approved him for their Table 3 rate, which is their sixth best rate because of their interpretation of his “cardiac test results as being abnormal.”  The better of the two rates will save him over $4,000 every year compared to the Table 3 rate.  These are huge savings, and this gentleman told me his doctor told him his cardiac test results were fine.  I’m not sure if the NT-proBNP was a factor on this case, and it was not worth pursuing since he got best rate from the other carrier.   

This happens often: a doctor says everything is okay, and the insurance company still charges a higher rate.     

You have to remember that if you have cardiovascular issues and need life insurance or you were declined or charged more for life insurance for ANY reason, many “issues” are interpretative.  Just because one life insurance company may not offer you a good rate, this does not mean that another insurance company won’t make you a good offer.   

You need to find an agent or broker that can shop with all of the competitive life insurance companies, not just 10 or 20, and you need to feel confident that the agent/broker is working in your best interest.   

If you were declined for life insurance or charged a higher rate than you were expecting due to an elevated NT-proBNP, feel free to click on link above for an accurate quote, contact me at 1-800-380-3533, or email me and give me the details. I’ll inquire with underwriters from every life insurance company to see what the “real” rate should be for you. 

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