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In This Article I’m Going To Talk About All The Options You Have If You Would Like To Qualify For A Life Insurance After Heart Valve Replacement Surgery
Most likely you’re here today reading this article because you or a loved one has had a recent heart valve replacement surgery and you are wondering what options exist, if any, to qualify for life insurance coverage. The main reason I put together this article is to serve an answer to that question in detail.
But I also wanted to write this article to clear up a lot of what I believe to be misrepresentation by other other websites and so called insurance agents that claim the ease of which one can get life insurance protection after one has had a heart valve replacement.
It’s important to understand most insurance underwriters look at heart valve surgery from the perspective of time and how long it has been since your surgery.
Here’s An Overview Of Today’s Topics:
- What Are Your Options For Life Insurance Coverage For The First Two Years After A Heart Valve Replacement Surgery?
- What Are My Options Between Two To Five Years Since The Heart Valve Replacement Surgery?
- What Are My Options After Five Years Or More Has Passed Since My Heart Valve Replacement?
- Other Factors That Weigh On Your Eligibility For Life Insurance With A History Of Heart Valve Replacement Surgeries
- Life Insurance Coverage Based On Your Health History With A Heart Valve Replacement Surgery
- Burial Insurance Rates, Age 40 To 90*
What are your options for life insurance coverage for the first two years after a heart valve replacement surgery?
If you’ve had a heart valve replacement surgery within the past 24 months, the likelihood is slim to none that you will qualify for typical life insurance. Chances are your only option for life insurance coverage will be what’s known as a guaranteed acceptance life insurance product.
A guaranteed life insurance acceptance product has positives and negatives. You should know both sides of the coin to determine if a life insurance product like this makes sense for your insurance goals.
Pros of guaranteed acceptance life insurance:
- There are no health questions asked. That means no aspect of your health, including your recent heart valve surgery, is given consideration in determining if you’re eligible or not. Simply put, as long as you can sign your name and as long as you fall within the age ranges allowed, which typically are between 50 and 85, you are approved for coverage.
- The premiums remain level.
- Coverage does not cancel due to age or health, which works perfectly for a person who’s looking for some kind of final expense protection or to leave a small sum of money behind to pay for final expenses and other obligations so a family member does not have to.
Cons of guaranteed acceptance life insurance:
- The biggest con is that guaranteed acceptance life insurance does not provide natural death coverage from the first day. You must wait until 24 months have passed to get natural death coverage. There are exceptions to this rule though.
- There are a limited selection of companies in certain states that will provide first day full protection if it’s been longer than 12 months since your heart valve surgery. In order to get life insurance, you must accept the fact that for natural death at least, you will not be covered until two years have passed, but understand that you will be covered for accidental death from the first day.
What are my options between two to five years since the heart valve replacement surgery?
Your options tend to improve once you cross the two year line since your heart valve surgery. You’ll become much more likely to qualify for what’s called simplified issue whole life insurance products.
Simplified issue whole life insurance products are very similar to guaranteed acceptance life insurance plans. They allow for level premiums that never increase coverage. They never cancel due to age or health, but unlike guaranteed acceptance plans, if you qualify, you may get first day full coverage from the first payment you make.
A lot of people choose this kind of plan because it provides for a guaranteed death benefit from the first payment date when the policy becomes effective.
The downside of these plans is that they are generally limited to coverage amounts between $25,000 to $50,000, although there are ways to get more coverage. Also, the premiums tend to cost more than a more typical plan, such as term insurance. We’ll talk more about term insurance in the next section.
What are my options after five years or more has passed since my heart valve replacement?
After five years or beyond since your heart valve surgery, the likelihood that you’ll be accepted into a traditional life insurance plan like a term life insurance plan is much higher. However, it is not guaranteed.
Of course, there are naturally many factors that impose upon a determination for life insurance, some of which we will discuss in a moment. The point in mentioning this is that your chances of qualifying for term insurance only become realistic after the five year mark.
Let’s talk about flat extras before weighing and considering other factors that affect your insureability.
Even if you are qualified after the five year mark, you may experience what’s called a flat extra, or an additional fee on top of your premium. Flat extras are one way many life insurance companies have adjusted for the risk factors associated with insuring people that have had health history issues.
Let me give you an example to better explain. Let’s say you want to qualify for $100,000 in coverage and it costs you $1,000 a year in premiums because of your heart valve surgery. There was a $5 flat extra added per $1,000 of coverage. That means for every $1,000 of coverage, you have to pay an extra $5 a year. So at $100,000 you pay an additional $500 a year, which means you will pay $1,500 for life insurance coverage annually.
Other factors that weigh on your eligibility for life insurance with a history of heart valve replacement surgeries
Let’s talk about a few factors that are important and commonly associated with heart valve surgeries that will have an effect on your eligibility for life insurance coverage.
Your weight will have an impact on how eligible you are for life insurance. Many people who have heart valve replacement surgery because of the outcomes of a long term lifestyle of being overweight or obese. While this may not describe your circumstance, it’s important to be aware that weight does matter because it can have a direct impact on whether or not you’ll be considered for life insurance coverage.
This is a higher category of consideration, especially if you’re trying to qualify for more traditional types of life insurance products. Let’s say you’re trying to apply for term life insurance and a company sees that you have a history of heart valve replacement surgery and that you still smoke a pack or two a day.
Be forewarned that some companies may flat out decline you with this information or write you through the roof because smoking has a direct correlation with your circulatory heart system. By smoking you’re exposing yourself to considerable risk, longer term, which many life insurance companies are turned off by.
Other health issues
Other health issues not related to your heart valve surgery may have a direct impact on your eligibility. For example, if you have a combination of neurological problems or if you have health issues related to other heart ailments, maybe you take nitroglycerin or you have a history of strokes.
A combination of factors in a certain individual will most likely drive the premium up higher than what you would pay for a traditional policy.
Again, the way around this is to look at what’s called simplified issue products, which we’ll talk about more later.
Many life insurance companies that sell traditional coverage do not like a combination of diabetes and heart history issues. The combination generally creates a negative underwriting resulting in declines or high premiums.
There are many people that can go through a heart valve surgery and only take aspirin and maybe a low dose blood pressure pill. However, some people are required to take coumadin, warfarin, plavix, and other high grade blood thinners which will have immediate impact on eligibility for life insurance coverage in a negative way.
Life insurance coverage based on your health history with a heart valve replacement surgery
What I’ve described above is generally a negative outlook on your eligibility for getting life insurance coverage if you’ve had heart valve replacement surgery. But I don’t want to end this article on a negative note because the truth is you do have some options.
These options may not be ideal, but sometimes you’ve got to compromise and work with the options you are given. So in this section I’m going to tell you about some options you do have, depending on the length of time that has passed since the heart valve surgery occurred.
Heart valve surgery within the last two years
If you don’t have insurance I think it’s really important to pick up a guaranteed issue life insurance product, despite the fact that you’re not covered for death by natural causes for the first two years.
Let me explain why I believe this is important. Nobody knows what’s going to happen with their future health. You may be end up in a circumstance where you have another heart event maybe unrelated to your heart valve surgery, such as a heart attack, a stroke, or a stent placement. If you decide to put off your life insurance coverage to try to get to a point where you qualify for better coverage, a new health event could happen and start the clock all over again.
You have to go another two years without coverage, during which time you could easily have another new health event. It doesn’t even have to be related to heart issues to set you back again.
My point here is that if you know you need life insurance, there’s no reason to delay getting coverage. People who trust and love you are hoping that you’ll make the right decision. All you need to do is find something that’s easily affordable and understand that you can always, after this period of time passes, look at better options down the line. As time passes, more options may become available.
Two to five years after your heart valve replacement surgery
When you reach this period of time, I would primarily look at a simplified issue whole life insurance product. If you fit the profile for these plans, you should have very little issue qualifying, assuming there are no other health issues.
The process of qualifying for whole life insurance is fairly simple. There’s no examinations. You simply complete an application and even if you take some of the higher profile medications mentioned earlier, such as nitroglycerin or a blood thinner, you have a higher likelihood of being approved for this type of insurance than a more traditional product.
Five years or more after your heart valve replacement surgery
What if five years or more has passed since your heart valve replacement surgery? At this point, if the person who had the surgery has little to no blood pressure issues, is in overall good health, and takes little to no blood thinner medications I would suggest looking at a traditional, fully underwritten product such as term insurance.
Most likely you will be looking at substandard rates on a table four rating, which means you’re not going to pay standard or preferred ratings even if you’re otherwise in good shape. Be prepared for the premium to be a bit higher than average insurance rates.
Burial Insurance Rates, Age 40 to 90*
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Rates for $25,000 in Burial Insurance