Over 2 Million people in the United States are currently living with Atrial Fibrillation, commonly known as A-Fib. The majority of the individuals managing A-Fib are seniors, over the age of 60 years old.
Since you are reading this article you probably already know that Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat (aka arrhythmia) which increases your risk of heart failure, stroke, and other heart complications.
A-Fib itself will not prevent you from obtaining a relatively cheap life insurance plan.
Insurance companies become cautious about applicants with A-Fib because of the health risks it can present–not because of the actual condition.
I can help you obtain the best life insurance policy for you at a price that is affordable.
In this article we will go into what you need to know when applying for life insurance with atrial fibrillation.
Possible Outcomes for Over 50 with Atrial Fibrillation
Life insurance carriers will review all facets of your lifestyle and medical history, including your Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) diagnosis.
The insurance will all this information to determine if they can approve for coverage. And if they can, what rate class they can approved you for.
The rate class you are approved for determines the rate you will have to pay for coverage.
Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) Diagnosis and Life Insurance Ratings
As you may know, there are three distinct Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) diagnosis.
Individuals, like yourself, applying for a traditional term or permanent life insurance plan will likely be approved at one of the following rate classes.
Lone Atrial Fibrillation: This type of low-risk A-Fib is one single episode of Atrial Fibrillation usually caused by binge drinking, alcohol abuse, nicotine, infections, stress, low magnesium levels or certain foods rich in tyramine (i.e. cheese, wine, chocolate)
- Applicants with lone A-Fib in their medical records occurring before 60 years of age may qualify for a Preferred Rating.
- Applicants with lone A-Fib occurring after 60 years of age may qualify for Preferred Best (or Preferred Plus) Rating.
The key is for the episode to have been in the past, specifically a minimum of one year before submitting the life insurance application.
The life insurer will want proof of no underlying heart disease. Most likely they will want to see a healthy echocardiogram showing no abnormalities.
Paroxysmal (Intermittent) Atrial Fibrillation: This diagnosis is defined by rapid heartbeat and faulty electrical signals that start suddenly and then stop by themselves. The symptoms may be mild or severe. However, the symptoms usually stop within 24 hours or, at most, one week.
- Applicants with this diagnosis may receive a Standard Rating if their A-Fib episodes last less than 30 seconds, occur less than 3 times within a 12 month period, and are not a result of underlying heart disease.
Plus, the individual must have a normal echo-cardiogram to secure the Standard Rating.
- You may also qualify for a Standard Rating if you had a successful treatment for your A-Fib.
For example, if you were prescribed medications or received electrical stimulation of your heart resulting in your condition stabilizing for 6-12 months, the insurance company may approve you with a Standard Rating.
Persistent Atrial Fibrillation: This diagnosis is determined when the individual experiences A-Fib episodes more than 10 times per year and/or the episodes continue for more than one week.
Persistent A-Fib may spontaneously stop by itself or be stopped by medical treatment.
- Persistent A-Fib with no underlying disease is usually a Sub-Standard Rating (aka Table Rating).
In case you were not aware, each level of a Table Rating represents about a 25% premium increase above the Standard rate.
- Persistent A-Fib with extensive heart disease usually means approval with a “Flat Extra” Rate or possibly a table rating.
In the case of a Flat Extra, the life insurer will assign an extra fee to the premium which will stay in place for a designated amount of time.
Let’s say the insurance company charges you a Flat Extra of $3 for every $1,000 in coverage over the course of 5 years. This means for the first 5 years of the policy, you will pay an extra fee of $300 in premium for a $100,000 life insurance policy.
Once the 5 years is complete, you will no longer pay that extra fee.
Permanent (Chronic) Atrial Fibrillation: This type of A-Fib is a disorder in which a normal heart rhythm cannot be restored with medical treatment. Both Paroxysmal and Persistent A-Fib can develop, over time, into Permanent (Chronic) A-Fib.
- More than 10 episodes of A-Fib in on year may result in a Sub-Standard (Table Rating of 4-8). This means your insurance premium would be approximately double or even triple the Standard Rate.
- Permanent (Chronic) Atrial Fibrillation caused by underlying heart disease typically means a decline of coverage.
- Permanent (Chronic) Atrial Fibrillation resulting in the implantation of a cardiac defibrillator, will most likely cause an automatic decline.
If you are declined for traditional life insurance coverage there are still options available to you.
Other Health Issues and Atrial Fibrillation
As you probably know, the life insurance company will approve or not approve you for coverage based on the sum of all your application information.
You will not be evaluated strictly on the presence of A-Fib. This can be a positive or a negative, depending on certain factors.
If you have been diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and are managing other chronic conditions as well, you do present a higher risk to the insurance company.
Below are illnesses that will have an impact on the rates you will be able to qualify for.
Do any of the situations on this list apply to your medical history?
- Excessive alcohol use
- History of strokes
- Prescribed blood thinners
- History of heart attacks
- History of heart surgery
- History of blood clots
The better you are able to control certain factors such as your weight, alcohol use, nicotine dependence, and blood sugar —-the BETTER rates you can qualify for.
Don’t miss any doctor appointments either. The insurance company wants to see that you regularly attend appointments with your physician and are being compliant with medications/treatments.
This is good for both your health and your application.
If you can demonstrate to the insurance carrier that you are committed to living a healthy lifestyle then you should have an easier time securing an affordable life insurance plan for seniors.
Application Questions for Over 50 with Atrial Fibrillation
To get you completely prepared for the life insurance application process, I put together a few of the most common pre-qualifying questions you will be asked.
Be as forthcoming and honest as you possibly can.
Trying to withhold information never works anyway since the insurance company will do quite an extensive investigation of you as an applicant.
- When were you diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib)?
Being diagnosed with A-Fib before the age of 60 is seen as very positive. This is because treatments tend to be more successful for those individuals under 60 years old.
Insurance companies figure anyone diagnosed over the age of 60 is more likely to have a stroke. This obviously means a bigger risk for the company.
- Are you currently taking any medications for A-Fib?
Some A-Fib medications help regulate your heartbeat which can be viewed as positive. This is because you are doing your best to control your condition.
Are you taking ACE inhibitors, dronedarone, beta blockers, amiodarone, digoxin, or propafenone?
If so, don’t worry. These are meant to improve your A-Fib and rarely cause complications.
On the other hand, a history of blood clots or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and treatment with Warfarin or Coumadin will illicit caution from the insurer. This combination is seen as indicating a more severe case.
- Have you suffered chest pains or heart palpitations?
If you have experienced either of these symptoms in the past 6 months, the life insurance company will proceed with caution.
This is because heart palpitations usually indicate an unstable heart and may negatively impacts your insurability.
Ok so now you know what to expect. The next step is to begin the actual process of securing life insurance.
It’s Time to Apply
In this article we looked at what you need to know about applying for life insurance when over 50 years old with Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib).
Hopefully, the idea of securing life insurance no longer seems as intimidating as it may have previously.
Remember, planning ahead for your family is an amazing gift of love. It would be a shame to miss this opportunity to provide for your loved ones because of your condition.
More than 2 Million Americans, mostly over the age of 60, are living long lives despite having Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib). Insurance companies are very aware of this fact.
I can help guide you every step of the way. I’ve helped lot of people get quality life insurance protection for a relatively cheap cost even despite their medical history.
Please take a few minutes to fill out the form for a free instant quote, or better yet give me a call today. You and your family deserve to have peace of mind!