What You Need to Know When Buying Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

Fortunately, buying affordable life insurance over 50 years old if you have had a heart attack is possible.

Quick tip – If you want to run quotes on this website the best rate you will likely qualify for if you’ve had a heart attack are the “Regular” rates which are considered Standard rates.

In this article you will learn what to expect when applying for life insurance and after having had a heart attack and what rates you are likely to be approved for.

Unfortunately, heart attacks are all too common.

In face, every 40 seconds someone has a heart attack. That means before you finish reading this article dozens of men and women will experience this serious health crisis.

The Center for Disease Control further reports a total of 790,000 American adults have a heart attack each year.  Of those, about 15% will die from their heart attack.

That is a sobering statistic especially if you do not have life insurance.

Alright, let’s get into the details here…

What Life Insurance Rates Can You Qualify For if You Have Had a Heart Attack

Here’s what to expect.

One of the most important questions an insurance company will ask is when did you have the heart attack?

The length of time that’s passed since your heart attack is a critical factor in life insurance approval.

The life insurer wants to know enough time has passed for you to fully recover and regain control over your health again.

For those individuals that currently have good health despite a heart attack 3 to 7 years ago, he/she will most likely be rated “below standard” (aka table rating).  Most likely somewhere in the table 3 to 5 range.

For those individuals that have overall good health and experienced a heart attack 7 to 10 years ago, you may be approved at a “standard” rating.

The longer it’s been since your heart attack, the better the rate class you may be approved for all else being equal.

If you didn’t have a heart attack but were treated with a bypass, angioplasty, or stents, expect to wait six months before applying for life insurance.

If the heart attack was less than 2 years ago then you will most likely be declined. The insurance company needs to see you have maintained good health following a cardiac episode.

However, this is not always the case.  It will highly depend on the severity of the heart attack and if there are other health issues to consider as well.

If it is determined that you cannot qualify for traditional life insurance  then your only option would be to apply for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

This type of insurance coverage does not require any underwriting at all.

What’s A Table Rating?

Life insurance companies have up to 16 levels to their table ratings. If you are considered “below standard” then you will be assigned one of the table rating levels.

The amount of the increase varies from company to company.

A rough rule of the thumb is that your premium would increase by about 25% above “standard” for each table rating you receive. Table ratings usually start with 1 or A, then 2 or B, and so on.

For example, let’s suppose the standard premium for a life insurance policy you like is $50 per month.

Let’s also assume you receive a table rating of 1 or A then you’ll pay somewhere around $62.50 per month (or 25% above standard) perhaps.  Again, this is going to vary from one insurance company to another.

Or maybe you receive a table rating of 4 or D which is equivalent to the standard rate plus 100% rate-up. In this case, your life insurance premium would be roughly double to $100 per month.

The other thing to keep in mind is even if one company approves you at a table 2 for instance and another company approves you at a table 3 the table 3 rate could actually cost less.

This is because each company prices their products differently.

Applying for Life Insurance Over 50 After a Heart Attack

Heart attacks are a condition caused by untreated or uncontrolled heart disease.

One in four deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease. This startling statistic is the reason life insurance underwriters spend so much time reviewing heart history.

Life insurance companies want to know if you are doing all that you can to improve your health.

The life insurer wants to gauge the likelihood of you dying prematurely from a second heart attack.

Each insurance company views illnesses, chronic conditions, and lifestyle choices differently.

Quality life insurance policies for people in their 50’s and older are available. I can guide you to the right insurance company for your needs, as well as help make the application process a lot less stressful.

Questions The Life Insurance Company Will Ask If You Have Had a Heart Attack

First they will need to know your age, your current occupation or your previous occupation if you are retired, your driving record, your tobacco use, and your hobbies.

They will likely review your medical records and will definitely run a prescription history too.

Unless you are applying for a no exam life insurance policy you will to complete a paramed exam.

This exam is performed by a nurse at your home.  The nurse will collect specimens such as blood and urine, as well as ask you several questions regarding your medical history.

The blood and urine specimen will be tested, and the results are given to the an underwriter at the insurance company to review. Once all this is complete, a final decision can be made regarding your life insurance coverage and rate.

In evaluating your application for coverage the insurance company will consider the following:

  • How much damage did the heart attack do to your heart?
  • Did you have any medical procedures performed to prevent future heart problems such as a bypass?
  • Since your heart attack, has there been an improvement in your heart health?
  • How often do you visit your primary care doctor? How often do you visit your cardiologist?
  • Did your doctors recommend any treatments?
  • Did your doctors tell you what caused the heart attack?
  • How severe was the heart attack? What was the extent of your blockage?

(One or two blockages makes you more insurable than having three or four blockages.)

  • How old were you at the time of the heart attack?

(The older, the better! An underwriter may decline someone in their 20’s or 30’s that experienced a heart attack. That’s because a heart attack indicates cardiovascular disease that is likely to cause the individual future ailments and complications. Heart attacks for those in their 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s isn’t so bad relatively speaking when it comes to life insurance underwriting.)

  • What are the results of your most recent medical tests such as an EKG?

(An important note: if you take an annual stress test or EKG, some insurance companies will actually improve your rate class, saving you up to 50% on monthly premiums.)

  • What types of medications do you currently take? What are the medications needed for?

(If you are no longer taking blood thinners within 6 months of the heart attack, that will help improve your rating. If you will be on blood thinners forever, expect your rating to be about 20% higher than your peers. This is because blood thinners increase the risk of other health issues.)

Honesty Is the Best Policy

It may be very tempting to withhold some details to secure a good rating and low premiums. This is a terrible idea.  Besides it’s fraud to lie on an application.

Understand that every insurance company will look at your application differently.  The more I know about your health history the better I can determine which insurance company will look at your application most favorably.

The better you can control (or eliminate) some of these issues the better the rate you will be able to qualify for:

  • Ongoing occurrences of angina or chest pain
  • Uncontrolled hypertension, cardiovascular or renal (kidney) disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Poor lipid control
  • Decreased left ventricular function
  • Persistent arrhythmias
  • Heart attack at younger ages
  • More than one heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Compounding Health Issues

A heart attack accompanied by other chronic conditions such as diabetes and stroke make life insurance underwriting more challenging.

This is because heart disease is already considered a “lifestyle disease” and other illnesses only compound the underwriter’s concerns.

It is very important for you to improve your overall health and better control your physique by doing all you can to become more fit.

For example, the underwriter will want to see that you eat right, workout, stopped smoking, and avoid stress.

Each of your compounding health issues will be taken into consideration when rating your risk.

So not only will you be rated based on your heart attack but you’ll be rated based on each of your other ailments.

The reason for this practice is obvious. For instance, researchers estimate that a 60 year old with two chronic conditions may have their life expectancy by 12 years.

If the individual has three chronic conditions, that same 60 year old will lose another 3 years of life (or a total of a 15 year reduction in life expectancy).

For a 40 year old person with the same compounding health issues. Reports state a 40 year old with history of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes may anticipate losing 23 years of life.

This is why this medical information is critical to a life insurer.

What’s the Next Step?

The American Heart Association recommends anyone that experienced a heart attack should take the necessary actions to prevent another.

This is because about 25% of individuals (over age 45) will have a second heart attack within five years.

You do not want this to happen without having a solid life insurance plan in place.

First of all, you don’t know what the outcome of a second heart attack may be.

What if you are not as fortunate as you were for the first heart attack? What if you do not survive another cardiac episode? Is your family prepared to take on any financial burdens you will leave behind?

S econd, experiencing multiple heart attacks will most likely eliminate the option of buying a traditional life insurance policy.

There are still life insurance options if you are 50 and older even if you have had a heart attack. So take advantage of that fact and get insured as soon as possible.

I look forward to an opportunity to help you protect your family.  Feel free to fill out a quote request form or just give me a call.