Buying Life Insurance When You Have Mitral Valve Prolapse
Shopping for life insurance is never at the top of anyone’s list of favorite things to do, but it can be even more nerve-wracking for people who have heart valve issues such as mitral valve prolapse.
The good news is, some companies are much more lenient with heart valve issues than others. By shopping the market, you can not only find coverage, but also save thousands of dollars on your premiums. At JRC Insurance Group, we’ve helped countless clients with health issues find affordable life insurance.
In this article, we’ll share some sample rates for applicants with mitral valve prolapse and provide tips that can help you find the coverage you need, without breaking the bank.
Here’s what we'll cover in this post:
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What is Mitral Valve Prolapse?
Mitral valve prolapse (or “MVP”) is the most common disorder associated with heart valves. Nearly 8 million people in the U.S. have MVP, and it is estimated to affect about 2%-5% of the population worldwide.
In most cases of mitral valve prolapse, the cause is unknown, and the majority of people will never have any symptoms. Some of the other common names for mitral valve prolapse are Barlow’s disease, floppy mitral valve syndrome, click murmur syndrome, and billowing mitral leaflet.
When your heart is working correctly, the mitral valve will close with each heart beat and allow the blood to flow into the left ventricle. MVP is a condition that occurs when two flaps of the mitral valve do not close completely.
Mitral valve prolapse is often confused with mitral valve stenosis. The difference is that with mitral valve prolapse, the valve is not narrowed and does not restrict the flow of blood in or out of the heart.
When this occurs, blood can leak backward through the valve and into the left atrium. This backflow of blood is often referred to as mitral valve regurgitation.
While in most cases mitral valve prolapse may not cause any health issues or require any treatment, over time, MVP can cause other serious problems such as arrhythmias, Graves’ disease, endocarditis, and muscular dystrophy. In more severe cases of mitral valve prolapse, if too much blood is regurgitated, it can cause blood clots and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
What Do Life Insurance Companies Consider when Approving an Applicant with MVP?
When shopping for life insurance, your agent will ask you some questions to determine the severity of your mitral valve prolapse so that you apply to the right company for your condition. All life insurance companies evaluate mitral valve prolapse differently, and some companies are more lenient than others.
Below are some questions that you should be prepared to answer when applying for life insurance with mitral valve prolapse:
Does your MVP have any symptoms?
Typically, the mildest cases of mitral valve prolapse do not require treatments or have symptoms. Common symptoms of mitral valve prolapse include fainting, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations, migraines, and arrhythmia.
If your MVP has been confirmed with an echocardiogram and you do not have symptoms or require medication, you may be able to qualify for “preferred best” rates with a handful of top-rated companies.
Does your MVP require medication?
If you require medication to control your mitral valve prolapse, your agent will need to know the name of the medication you are prescribed. Common medications for MVP are anticoagulants, beta blockers, high blood pressure medications, and Aspirin.
Depending on the medication you take, you may be able to qualify for the third best rate category, “standard plus,” with a few life insurance companies.
Does your MVP cause regurgitation?
Applicants with mitral valve prolapse that experience regurgitation tend to present a higher risk to the life insurance company due to an increased risk of blood clots, strokes, or heart attacks.
If your MVP causes mild regurgitation, the fourth best rate class, or “standard,” rate class, is usually the best rate you can qualify for with most insurance companies.
If you have moderate or severe regurgitation, some life insurance companies may be able to offer you a “substandard” rating. In this situation, it’s best to call and speak with one of our licensed agents to make sure you apply with the best company available.
Some companies are much stricter than others, and applying with the wrong company may cause your application for life insurance to get declined.
Did your MVP require surgery?
Surgery is rarely needed for applicants with mitral valve prolapse unless there is moderate to severe regurgitation, or if there are symptoms of congestive heart failure. From an underwriting standpoint, mitral valve repair is more favorable than mitral valve replacement due to the decreased risk of blood clots.
To learn more about purchasing life insurance after heart valve replacement surgery, please see our guide here.
If a patient has their mitral valve replaced, it can either be with an artificial mechanical valve or with a tissue valve from a donor or animal such as a pig. While both choices come with their own set of health risks, both are assessed pretty equally as far as underwriting goes.
Usually those who have a mechanical valve will need to take blood thinners for the rest of their lives in order to avoid blood clots. Those who have tissue replacements will likely need another replacement after 10 or 12 years.
If you have recently had a mitral valve repaired or replaced, you will need to postpone your life insurance application at least 6 months to ensure there are no health complications. Applicants that have had surgery to treat their mitral valve prolapse will likely receive mild to moderate substandard rates depending on current age.
To learn more about how mitral valve repair affects your life insurance rates, please read our extensive guide on mitral valve repair here.
Have you had any diagnostic tests in the past 12 months?
If you’re applying for life insurance with mitral prolapse, it is almost a guarantee that the life insurance companies will want to see an EKG or echocardiogram before approving your policy. Life insurers typically evaluate the thickness of the mitral valve, the size of the left atrium, and whether or not any regurgitation is present.
In addition, they will evaluate any chest X-rays that may have been performed in order to see if your heart is enlarged. Many doctors will also require a stress test to determine if other heart conditions such as CAD are present.
The majority of life insurance companies will typically postpone your application if your doctor has recommended any diagnostic tests on your heart that have not yet been performed.
Do you have regular checkups with your physician or cardiologist?
Having regular follow-ups with your primary care physician or cardiologists is important for anyone who has a heart or health condition. The life insurance companies will want to see that you’re taking your health seriously, and regular visits to your doctor are a great indicator.
Do you have any other medical conditions?Additional health issues such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol will definitely affect your rates. According to MayoClinic.com, being male or having high blood pressure increases your risk of experiencing regurgitation. Make sure you disclose these conditions to your agent so they can match you with the best company available.
Actual Life Insurance Rates by Age for an Applicant with Mitral Valve Prolapse
Every life insurance company underwrites mitral valve prolapse differently, and some companies are more lenient than others. If your mitral valve prolapse is mild, without symptoms, and does not require medication, some life insurance companies will offer you their top rate category, “preferred best.”
Below we’ve included best-case scenario life insurance rates by age from an “A+ Superior” rated company.
If you would like a more accurate rate based on your actual age, or if your mitral valve prolapse has been diagnosed as moderate or severe, please call to speak with one of our agents.
How JRC Can Help You Find Your Most Affordable Options for Coverage
At JRC Insurance Group, we make purchasing life insurance painless and easy. Our agency has streamlined the process of shopping the market, allowing us the ability to compare dozens of top-rated life insurance companies in just a few minutes.
JRC is owner-operated and our agents are highly experienced in the underwriting process, which allows us to match your health and lifestyle to an affordable, reputable policy. Our service is free and comprehensive, with no obligations. Give us a call today toll-free at 855-247-9555, or request a free quote online.
Managing Partner and Co-founder
Cliff is a licensed life insurance agent and one of the owners of JRC Insurance Group. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.