The World Society of Arrhythmias reports there are 225,567 Americans with internal cardiac pacemakers.
Statistics further show seniors aged 75 and over account for more than half of all pacemaker recipients.
Insurance companies understand all of these facts. Therefore, carriers are typically open to offering coverage to those 50 plus with a pacemaker.
Let me assure you there is no reason to be concerned that over 50 life insurance is beyond your reach.
The life insurer will mainly focus on the health condition which caused you to get a pacemaker. The carrier will also ask about other parts of your life, including your job, your driving record, and your hobbies.
Being prepared to truthfully partake in the application process will make everything unfold a lot smoother.
I want you to be ready to get life insurance right away. So please take a few minutes and review the advice I’ve laid out below.
General Ratings for People with a Pacemaker
The following will help you determine what rate class you are likely to qualify for.
Standard Rating: Pacemaker implanted at least 6 months prior to application, normal heart rate after procedure completed, generally good health.
You’ll notice, six months is the magical mile marker when it comes to pacemakers and life insurance.
This is because any issues with your pacemaker will normally present themselves in the first few months after implantation. Once you’ve passed that six month mile marker then the life insurer will feel more confident in your health.
Sub-Standard Rating (aka Table Rating): Pacemaker implanted minimum of 6 months prior to application but experiencing other health complications (i.e. minor abnormalities such as electrolyte imbalances).
A Table Rating for most insurance carriers relies on 16 different levels.
Each level of a Table Rating represents approximately a 25% premium increase above the Standard Rate.
Decline: You may receive a decline if your pacemaker was implanted within the last 6 months, if you recently experienced chest pains (or angina), if you have not followed up with your doctor in more than 3 years.
If you have not visited with your cardiologist in many years, the life insurer might just postpone your application until you have a chance to do so. It mostly depends on the insurance company.
If it’s been less than 6 months since your pacemaker was implanted, you certainly have the option to wait and reapply for coverage after enough time has passed.
Specific Ratings for People with a Pacemaker
The above life insurance ratings are generic. However, depending on the specific illness that created the need for a pacemaker, you may be approved at a rate class that you weren’t expecting.
For example, if you received a pacemaker because of:
- Congenital Heart Block – A Table Rating of 2/B which costs about 50% more than a Standard Rating.
- Sick Sinus Syndrome & Non-Congenital Heart Blocks – A Table Rating of 2/B if you were over 55 years of age when the pacemaker was installed. This equates to a cost of approximately 50% more than a Standard Rating.
A Table Rating of 4/D if you were under 55 years old when the device was put-in. This would make your premium be about twice what it would have been if you were able to get a Standard Rating.
Before Applying for Life Insurance with Pacemaker
Before we even look at actually applying life insurance, let’s start at the very beginning. Are you currently in any of the below situations?
- Initial stages of heart failure
- Currently awaiting surgery
- 90 days or less of normal heart function
- Pending heart tests for undiagnosed symptoms
If so, then you are not in a great position to apply for certain traditional term or whole life insurance plans.
Don’t despair! I can talk everything through with you and life insurance available to you.
Application Questions for Seniors with Pacemakers
First, I cannot stress enough how important it is to always be factual and forthcoming. Leaving out details will not keep the insurance carrier from getting to the truth.
Second, you’ll need to provide basic details such as your age, current height and weight, marital status, job, and hobbies.
Next, you will answer the following questions specific to your pacemaker:
- Why did you receive a pacemaker?
- Did a cardiologist or general physician recommend to you a pacemaker?
- When was the pacemaker first implanted inside of you?
- Have you ever had any complications (i.e. blood clots, infection, skin perforation) with your pacemaker? When?
- Have you had your pacemaker replaced or adjusted? When?
- What, if any, other types of treatments are you using to treat your heart condition?
- How often do you see your cardiologist?
- When was the last time you experienced chest pains (angina)?
- What medications (dosage and frequency) are you taking currently?
- Have you ever had a stroke or heart attack?
- Do you (or have you had) blocked arteries?
- Have you ever experienced cardiac arrest? Or arrhythmia?
- Have you previously had any heart-related issues? What about heart disease symptoms?
- In the last 2 years, have you been hospitalized? If so, for what and for how long?
- What were the results of your last chest x-ray, echocardiogram, or cardiac stress test?
- What is your family’s cardiac history?
- Are you currently working?
- Have you applied for disability in the past twelve months?
- Do you suffer from chronic disease(s) such as diabetes?
- Do you use any tobacco or nicotine products?
Keep in mind, you will be eligible for “non-smoking” rates only if you have not used tobacco or nicotine for over 12 months.
Obviously there may be some exceptions to this rule depending on the life insurer – but do not count on it!
If you are a tobacco user, plan to pay at the very least DOUBLE the premium of a non-smoking peer.
Maybe (or Maybe Not) a Medical Exam
Besides the application, you may or may not need to complete a medical exam.
This will be determined by which insurance policy you select. There are many “no medical exam” options available these days that offer solid coverage.
I will review all your insurance choices to help you figure out what will meet your coverage needs and budget guidelines.
IF you go with a plan requiring a medical exam, the life insurer will organize a qualified medical specialist (typically a nurse) to carry out the exam.
You will submit blood and urine samples. The nurse will also measure your vital signs such as height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse.
The carrier will then utilize your medical exam results in their review of the application.
Tips for Getting a Better Rating
You want a great policy at a great rate. I want the same for you.
Below are a few tips to assist you in getting the best rate possible. Many of these items may seem pretty obvious but they are definitely worth repeating.
- Apply Today! Age certainly influences rates and you won’t be any younger than you are right now. So why keep waiting?
- Don’t miss doctor appointments! Attend all your doctor visits as scheduled.
- After your check-ups, be sure to follow your physician’s advice. Take the medications as prescribed, do the treatment recommended, have the diagnostic testing that is ordered.
- Stay at a healthy weight. This might mean improving your diet and getting plenty of exercise.
- Manage all your chronic illnesses (see Tips 1 thru 4).
- No more smoking! Tobacco use makes managing your health so much more difficult AND it increases your life insurance rates significantly.
I have plenty more tips for saving on premium over age 50. Check it out!
Let’s Get Your Life Covered
America has an aging population and most adults needing a pacemaker are over 50 years old. So you are in great company with your American peers!
The important thing to remember is that insurance companies don’t concern themselves as much with the pacemakers these days.
After all, technological advances have improved pacemakers. The medical equipment is now so much more safe and effective.
Most people with a pacemaker are able to live a normal lifestyle. A pacemaker does not create a higher risk all on its own.
Instead insurance carriers will focus on what caused the need for a pacemaker and if that underlying illness is now under control. Remember, the rate class you are approved for and the premium you’ll have to pay will be based on you as a whole person.
I’m here to talk you through the variety of life insurance coverages and application procedures. If you are in your 50’s and 60’s or older and looking to obtain affordable life insurance give me a call.
If you like take a minute or two to fill out the online form for a free instant quote, or just give me a call today. Your family will thank you!