Life Insurance with Congestive Heart Failure

by Jeff Rose on September 21, 2016 · 0 comments

Life Insurance with Congestive Heart FailureWhen you have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, applying for life insurance becomes a bit difficult.

You may be able to get it approved, however insurance companies will  be concerned about offering you coverage because of your potentially serious medical condition.

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However, it is still very possible to get insured with congestive heart failure. Obviously it doesn’t mean your heart has actually failed and stopped working, or you wouldn’t be reading this information.  It simply means it isn’t working as efficiently as it once did.

That being said, CHF, along with other heart diseases like heart attacks, congenital heart disease, and coronary heart disease, are the Number One cause of death of adults in the country.  This includes both men and women.

Since this is the case, trying to get life insurance approved can be a longer process than it would normally take.  This is because of additional underwriting requirements such as medical records having to be ordered.  If the doctor’s office is slow in getting medical records to the insurance company, it will just take longer to get approved.

This means the SOONER you APPLY for coverage, the sooner the process will get started. You can complete our brief form on this page to get the ball rolling.

The type of coverage you’ll receive depends on the severity of your condition plus how you handle your application.  We’re going to take a look at the life insurance underwriting standards for congestive heart failure so you’ll know what to expect going forward.

Life Insurance Underwriting for Congestive Heart Failure

When you apply for life insurance, your insurance agent should ask a number of questions about your congestive heart failure. Some of the questions you’ll need to answer are:

  • When was your congestive heart failure diagnosed?
  • What health problems led to your diagnosis of congestive heart failure?
  • Do you have high blood pressure or hypertension?
  • What tests have you had done to evaluate your condition?
  • Do you have high cholesterol?
  • Do you have a family history of heart disease and have had any close family members to die of heart disease?
  • Do you currently smoke?
  • What medications are you taking for your condition?

Common medications for congestive heart failure include:  Beta blockers, Nitrates, ACE inhibitors, Digoxin, and Diuretics.  All of these medications could be insurable depending on the severity of your condition.

When it comes to life insurance underwriting, the more information you can give the better. If your application doesn’t clearly describe your condition, your chances of a bad rating or rejection go way up. Make sure to fully answer all the application questions plus give any other details you think are important.

Life Insurance Quotes with Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure has a wide range of different severity levels. Your life insurance quote will depend on how serious your health issues are because of your condition. Insurance companies also do not accept applicants that have recently been diagnosed with congestive heart failure because they want some time to see how the condition develops.

To avoid rejections and get the best rate, you should wait at least a year after your diagnosis before applying for insurance. From there, your rate will depend on your condition plus your overall health.

It is even possible that you may have congestive heart failure and not even realize it because the symptoms usually don’t show up initially.  The reason they don’t is because your body and your heart can mask it at first, which is called compensation.  The symptoms will start showing up when the heart just can’t pump enough blood to the rest of your body.

While each company uses different underwriting standards, here are some general standards that will give you an idea about what to expect.

  • Preferred Plus:  Generally impossible. Congestive heart failure is too serious a condition and carries too many health risks for applicants to receive the best possible insurance rating.
  • Preferred:  Very difficult but not impossible. If your congestive heart failure has only mild health symptoms and you are in great health otherwise, you could get a preferred rating.
  • Standard:  The likely best rating for most applicants. Applicants that only started having heart failure at 60 or older, are in good health, and have waited at least a year after being diagnosed to apply can get a standard rating.
  • Table Rating (substandard):  Most applicants. Your rating will depend on how serious your congestive heart failure is, your age when it was diagnosed, whether you have a family history of heart disease, and your overall health.
  • Declines: Most applications within 3 to 6 months of a diagnosis for congestive heart failure. Also, applicants that have a poor lifestyle, other health issues or have a family history of heart disease could be declined because of the high chance of future heart issues.

If there is a situation where you do find that due to your medical condition you are declined for traditional life insurance, then our next recommendation is to look at a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.  This type life insurance application only asks a few health questions, but not to decline your application but only to determine how much and when the death benefit would be paid out.

As you are thinking about applying for life insurance, you may also try to improve your chances of getting the best rate by doing some of the following:

  • Lower your sodium intake
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Stop smoking
  • Exercise more often
  • Eat a healthier diet
  • Keep all other medical conditions under control with responsibly taking medications
  • Continue with proper medical care by your medical professionals

These recommendations are common sense, and your doctor may have other activities and guidelines.  Even though there really isn’t a cure for congestive heart failure, the above lifestyle choices can minimize the degree of your heart deterioration, and allow you to get a lower life insurance rate.

Other Considerations as You are Applying for Life Insurance

This is common sense, but if you haven’t thought about it, now is the time to be thinking about how much death benefit you are looking to buy.  Since you have a serious medical condition, you might not be able to afford what you would want, so be realistic in also considering how much money you have to budget for a monthly life insurance payment.

Also, how long a period will you need life insurance?  Although typically no one knows for sure when their beneficiary might be filing a claim on the policy, you will need to consider whether to buy a term life insurance plan or a permanent life insurance plan.  We can help you with making this decision.

Lastly, it would be a good idea not to drop or cancel any life insurance policy you presently own.  As you get older, the premiums increase.  So if you are comparing an old policy vs a new policy, the rates on the new policy will probably be higher than what you are paying now.

Congestive Heart Failure Life Insurance Case Studies

If you have congestive heart failure, you need to be smart about planning your application. Here are a couple real life examples that show what a difference your application can make.

Case Study: Female, 63 year old, non-smoker, diagnosed with congestive heart failure at age 61, taking Beta Blockers and Ace Inhibitors, no other health issues.

This applicant was only showing mild signs of congestive heart failure and was otherwise in very good health. She had no other health issues and no family history of heart disease. However, because of her condition, she was only receiving expensive, rated life insurance offers. We advised her to request an EKG to prove that her condition was under control. With this extra information, an insurance company gave her a much less expensive standard policy.

Case Study #2:  Male, 54 year old, diagnosed with congestive heart failure at 51, father died young from heart disease, former smoker, improved health and weight since the diagnosis

This applicant had a very poor lifestyle prior to his heart failure diagnosis. He was smoking, overweight, and had high blood pressure. This combined with his family history of heart disease led to him being rejected from all his life insurance applications. However, since his diagnosis, this applicant dramatically improved his lifestyle. He lost a good deal of weight and quit smoking which made his condition much less severe. We recommended he see his doctor and ask for a letter vouching for his improved health. By reapplying with this extra certification, this applicant was able to receive a rated policy despite his relatively risky profile.

While congestive heart failure is quite serious, it is not enough to prevent you from taking out life insurance. You just need to handle your application well. To make sure the process goes smoothly, it helps to work with a qualified broker that understands this condition.

If you are looking for life insurance and have congestive heart failure, we can help. Call us at 888-836-7071 for rate quotes or fill out our online quote application form. We’ll be sure to match you up with your best insurance option.

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