Getting Approved for Life Insurance With Deep Vein Thrombosis
Each year, there are more than 200,000 cases of Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT in the United States. What’s alarming is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 10-30% of these cases are fatal.
While developing blood clots may pose a serious health risk, in most cases, you can still secure an affordable life insurance with deep vein thrombosis. In fact, there are some cases in which applicants may receive a “standard” or better rating depending on their overall health and lifestyle risks.
This article will discuss some of the factors that an insurance company’s underwriter will evaluate when approving your life insurance policy.
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What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT?
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when a thrombus (blood clot) develops in one of the deep veins of your body. These blood clots usually happen in your legs and can result in a pulmonary embolism (PE). A pulmonary embolism is when the blood clot breaks off and travels to your lungs. More severely, deep vein thrombosis can even result in a heart attack or stroke if the blood clot travels to your heart or brain.
The most common symptom that is associated with deep vein thrombosis is leg pain, swelling in one or both legs, red skin on your leg, tired or achy legs, or warm skin on your leg. Although these are common symptoms, it is important to note that DVT can occur without any symptoms at all. If the blood clot spreads to your lungs, in the event of a pulmonary embolism, you may experience a sudden sharp chest pain, coughing up blood, breathlessness, dizziness or lightheadedness.
Deep vein thrombosis can develop if a person has a medical condition that adversely affects how their circulatory system works, resulting in poor blood flow. When your body’s blood flow slows, the likelihood of developing clots increases. Other health issues such as atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, or a recent surgery can also increase your chances of developing deep vein thrombosis.
Additional factors that play a role in developing DVT include smoking, cancers, cancer treatments, paralysis, varicose veins, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, pregnancy, birth control pills, and being sedentary for long periods of time.
When were you diagnosed with DVT and how many episodes have you had?
The amount of DVT episodes during your lifetime will plat a role in your approval and rate class. Life insurance companies liek to see that your condition is stable, so the longer that you have gone with an episode of DVT or blood clots, the better.
Receiving a rating of “preferred” or “preferred plus” is possible for applicants who are in overall good health and have not experienced an episode of deep vein thrombosis within the last three years.
To qualify for the preferred or preferred best rate classes, the insurance company you apply with will review your medical records to make sure the condition has been completely resolved. In addition, the company will want to see that your DVT does not require an ongoing prescription of anticoagulant medications, also commonly referred to as blood thinners.Moreover, having a regular exercise routine will likely decrease your chances of having another episode of DVT, which in turn will increase your chances of being approved at a preferred or above average rate class.
Applicants whose condition has been stable for at least two months and have only experienced one episode without a pulmonary embolism may receive “standard” ratings. Even if you have had multiple episodes of DVT, it is still possible to qualify for “standard” rates as long as it has been longer than two years since your last episode and you are not currently taking any blood thinners to control your condition.
Common blood thinning medications used to treat deep vein thrombosis include: Pradaxa, Eliquis, Xarelto, Warfarin, Plavix, and Coumadin.
If you have severe pain from your DVT, your doctor may also prescribe pain medications to help you manage your symptoms. Common pain medications prescribed for deep vein thrombosis include over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Excedrin, and Tylenol.
While these over the counter anti-inflammatory medications are usually overlooked by insurance companies, your premium for coverage will increase if you are prescribed other opiate-based drugs like oxycodone, Percocet, or Vicodin.
If you have been recently been diagnosed with DVT and are currently on medications or are undergoing treatment, you may be tempted to wait before applying for a term life policy due to the risk of receiving a substandard approval rating.
While this may seem risky, we usually recommend securing some coverage because some applicants have adverse health effects when they stop taking a blood thinner.
In this situation, we typically recommend purchasing a shorter 10-year term life policy for affordability. Once your condition resolves itself and you are no longer taking a blood thinning medication, you can increase the term length and coverage amount at a later date. To learn more about controlling deep vein thrombosis with a medication, skip to this section.
Are you a tobacco user or cigarette smoker with DVT?
It’s no secret that applicants who smoke cigarettes pay a higher price for their life insurance. This is also true for smokers who have a history of deep vein thrombosis because they are seen as a much higher risk to the life insurance companies.
Smoking tobacco affects the body’s circulatory system because repeated exposure to nicotine is known to harden blood vessels. This makes it difficult for blood to flow throughout the body. Since smoking alone increases your chances of having a blood clot, a smoker with DVT is a definite red flag for the life insurance companies.
If you are a current cigarette smoker with DVT, finding an affordable policy can be a challenge. Most companies will approve these applicants at a substandard tobacco rating. For more information, read life insurance for cigar and e-smokers.
In some situations, if other health issues are present, like diabetes, you may even be denied for coverage. In this situation, your best option for life insurance may be a guaranteed issue final expense policy for up to $25,000 of coverage.
What if I use tobacco, but I don’t smoke cigarettes?
If you use tobacco, but do not smoke cigarettes, there are a couple of companies that are much more lenient than others.
All life insurance companies test for cotinine which is a byproduct of nicotine that is found in the urine of tobacco users.
However, if you are a cigar smoker, pipe smoker, electronic cigarette smoker, or if you chew tobacco, you can qualify for a non-smoking rate as long as you do not smoke any cigarettes. Being classified as a non-smoker can save you about 50% on the cost of your life insurance and it also increases your overall chances of getting approved. Be sure you disclose the tobacco use when speaking to your agent so they can list it on your application.If the insurance company finds cotinine in your urine and you did not disclose the tobacco use, they will assume that you are a cigarette smoker and approve your policing as a cigarette smoker.
Are you taking any medications to control your DVT?
Patients with DVT are commonly prescribed blood thinning medications like Plavix, Pradaxa, Warfarin, or Coumadin to control their symptoms and reduce their risk of blood clots. While these medications reduce your chances of getting a blood clot, they can cause some side effects. Common side effects that patients experience on blood thinners include bleeding and bruising, frequent nosebleeds, and an increased amount of time to stop bleeding.
Some of the more serious side effects that can occur as a result of taking a blood thinner include coughing up blood and blood clots, blood in urine or stool, bruises that occur for no reason, and vomiting blood. Most doctors agree that these side effects outweigh the risk of a blood clot, but they are still a concern to insurance companies.
The largest concern for life insurance companies, however, is when applicants accidently skip a dose or stop taking their blood thinning medication too soon.
In these situations, the risk of the applicant having a heart attack becomes much higher. For this reason, life insurance companies will typically approve any applicant taking a blood thinner at a substandard “table 2” rate. To put this into perspective, this rate class is the sixth best rate class, and most companies have 12 to 18 rate classes.
Like any health issue, some life insurance companies are more lenient with applicants on blood thinners than others, while other companies may overlook an applicant that occasionally takes a blood thinning medication.
For example, we worked with a client in his late 60’s that took a very low dose of Warfarin when he flew from California to England. His doctor prescribed the blood thinner as a preventative measure because he was concerned that sitting in a small airplane seat for an extended period of time would cause his DVT to flare up.
In addition, our client had not had an episode of deep vein thrombosis for over 3 years, he had regular check-ups with his doctor, and was in great health overall. In light of his situation, JRC shopped the market for him and carefully selected the right insurance company to apply with.
Most life insurance companies would have approved him at a substandard rate class and tripled the monthly cost of his life insurance policy, but because our client was upfront about his condition, we were able to select the best carrier for his situation and he was approved at a “preferred” rate class. This is one of the many reasons it helps to shop the market when applying for life insurance coverage.
How JRC can help you save money on life insurance
At JRC Insurance Group, our agents are experts at underwriting. By answering a few health and lifestyle questions, we will be able to match you up with the life insurance company that is the best fit for you. Every life insurance company will evaluate your situation differently and some life insurance companies are much more lenient with approvals than others.
Here at JRC we work with 63 top-rated life insurance companies. We have helped thousands of clients just like you and we can help you save up to 73% on the cost of your life insurance coverage. Our agents do not have quotas or shareholders to answer to. We take the time with our clients and provide a consultative, no-pressure approach to life insurance.
Please feel free to read our testimonials from actual clients, or give us a call today, toll free at 855-247-9555. You can also request a free quote below to instantly compare rates from dozens of insurers.
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.