Life Insurance for People With Pacemakers
A few decades ago, people with pacemakers had almost no chance at purchasing a life insurance policy. Nowadays we are starting to see that many life insurance companies are becoming more lenient since technology has improved and pacemakers are helping people live normal, healthy lives.
In addition to the improved technology, life insurance carriers have also become well aware that as a large portion of the population ages, pacemakers are becoming increasingly common. Because of this, underwriters are starting to adjust their requirements to help accommodate clients with pacemakers.
As with all health issues, some life insurance companies specialize in approving people with pacemakers, depending on the reason for the pacemaker.
No matter what the underlying health condition is, JRC Insurance Group can help you find your best life insurance options because we work with 63 top-rated life insurance companies.
Here’s what we'll cover in this post:
Quick Article Guide
Here’s what we'll cover in this post:
Controlling Tachyarrhythmia with a Pacemaker
Pacemakers are electronic devices that are designed to help regulate a person’s heart rhythms. In cases such as tachyarrhythmia, which is usually brought on by emotional stress or excessive alcohol consumption, a pacemaker is only used temporarily until the condition improves. Assuming the individual is otherwise healthy and no other lifestyle concerns are found, these situations tend to be ideal for purchasing life insurance.
The insurance company will review the underlying reason for pacemaker before approving your policy. If the pacemaker was implanted for substance or alcohol abuse, most insurance companies will postpone your application for at least a few years after you have completed treatment for your addiction.While having a pacemaker does not mean you will automatically be denied life insurance coverage, you will need to be extremely patient with the approval process. There are many serious ailments that pacemakers are used to correct, and the insurance company you apply with will need to know the medical condition that the pacemaker was implanted for.
Everyone’s situation is different and in order to increase your chances of finding an affordable policy, it’s best to work with an agent that is appointed by multiple companies.
Treating a Congenital Heart Block with a Pacemaker
Congenital heart blocks are one of the most common reasons that individuals get pacemakers implanted.
The good news is that there are many insurance companies that are willing to insure someone who has been treated for this condition. When approving an applicant with a pacemaker, the insurance companies will review the age of the applicant as well as how long the pacemaker has been implanted for. Typically, the older you are when you have a pacemaker, the less of a concern it creates for the insurance company you apply with.
The age that the pacemaker was implanted also plays a role in your final rates. If you have had a pacemaker implanted to treat a congenital heart block before the age of 40, most companies will approve you at a substandard rate class. In the insurance industry, substandard rates are commonly referred to as “table-rated.”
We commonly get applicants approved with a table 3 rate class, the seventh best rate class out of sixteen different rate classes. If your pacemaker was implanted after the age of 40, companies tend to be a bit more lenient with applicants, but they are still typically approved at the sixth best rate class or table 2.
If your pacemaker was implanted after the age of 60, you may be eligible for a standard rate class, or the fourth best rate class available. Below are tables that show sample rates for a 40, 50, 60, and 70 year male that have had a pacemaker implanted.
The insurance company you apply with will also review your medical records to determine how long the pacemaker has been implanted for.
As a general rule of thumb, most insurance companies will postpone your application for at least 3 months to a year after the pacemaker surgery has been completed. This is to ensure that the pacemaker is functioning properly, and that your heart is responding well to the treatment.
Other Heart Issues that Are Treated with a Pacemaker
As stated earlier in the article, pacemakers are used to treat a number of heart conditions including the following:
- Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
- Congestive heart failure
- Cardiomyopathy (unspecified disorders of the heart muscle)
- Bradycardia (Slow heartbeat, can also be known as sick cell syndrome)
- Coronary artery disease
- Syncope (fainting spells)
- Congenital heart block
If you have a pacemaker and are planning to apply for life insurance, you should be prepared to answer the following questions. We cannot stress enough the importance of being upfront and honest with your agent.
You do not want to run the risk of being denied coverage, or have your policy held up in underwriting for months while the insurance company searches for your medical records. If you have had a heart bypass surgery, please read Life Insurance After Heart Bypass Surgery.
Questions the Insurance Company will Ask Before Approving Your Policy
How long has the pacemaker been implanted?
Before approving your policy, the insurance company you apply with will need to make sure that you have had your pacemaker for at least three to twelve months without complications.
If you have recently had a pacemaker implanted, we recommend waiting at least 90 days before applying for a policy. This is because the insurance company will need to see that your pacemaker is successfully treating the condition it was implanted for.
Do you have a cardiologist that you see on a regular basis?
Life insurance carriers like to see that you schedule regular checkups with your cardiologist in order to prevent any more heart complications.
They will also be interested in the results of your most recent chest x-rays, echocardiograms (EKG), and stress tests. If you have not had a follow up with your doctor for more than three years, your application will most likely get declined or postponed until you complete a follow up appointment.
Have you experienced any chest pains recently?
Sometimes when you experience chest pains, also known as angina, it could be due to your pacemaker. The insurance companies do not view these situations as favorable and it may result in a higher premium or even a denied application.
This is because underwriters want to see that the pacemaker has improved your current conditions and not made them worse. In addition, the insurance company you apply with will review your history of prescriptions.
Are you currently taking any medications?
Life insurance underwriters are mostly concerned with medications that can cause any heart abnormalities. Certain medications such as digitalis and beta blockers can cause SA Node dysfunction which is usually a red flag to the underwriters.
Unfortunately, if you are experiencing extreme chest pains, or angina, that have caused your doctor to prescribe you nitroglycerin, we will not be able to offer you a term life insurance policy. Regardless of the medications you are taking, if you are over the age of 50, you may qualify for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy with a death benefit of up to $25,000.
What if I Was Previously Denied Life Insurance Coverage Due to My Pacemaker?
There could be a number of reasons that you were previously denied for life insurance. As seen in many cases, you probably applied with the wrong life insurance company. Remember, some life insurance companies are more lenient with approvals than others.
If you applied with an insurance company that specializes in home or auto insurance, this is probably the reason for the declined application. You will need to apply with a company that specifically specializes in life insurance. These companies are Prudential, American General, Banner, Transamerica, or Protective Life.While shopping around for life insurance can be somewhat inconvenient, it will most likely save you money and it may improve your odds of getting an approval. The life insurance carriers want to see that the pacemaker is doing what it’s designed to do.
If a few months have passed since your initial application was declined, and you haven’t had any issues or infections, you may be eligible for coverage. To make re-shopping easier for you, JRC Insurance Group proudly represents 63 top-rated life insurance companies that specialize in life insurance. If your insurable, well find the best policy available for you.
In just a few minutes, we can help you determine which company is your best fit while saving you the hassle of calling around or dealing with call centers that only represent 6-8 different life insurance companies.
As always, your approval is based off of your overall health and lifestyle so if you have other issues, such as diabetes, you may be looking at more expensive premiums or a possible denial. This is why it is so important to work with a licensed agent that has at least 5-10 years of experience.
Make sure to be upfront with your agent because painting the entire picture for your agent will help ensure that they match you to the right company. It will also help minimize any hiccups that might occur during the approval process. For a complete list of JRC's top life insurance companies revealed, read here.
In Which Cases Would my Life Insurance Policy be Denied Due to Having a Pacemaker?
Life insurance carriers determine their ability to approve an individual based on a calculated mortality risk. The factors used to determine your risk include your age, overall health, family history, and lifestyle. While having a pacemaker will not prevent you from being approved, compounded health and lifestyle issues, such as smoking and/or having diabetes, can.
If you have recently had your pacemaker implanted, remember, you will need to wait at least three months before applying for life insurance. Often times we have clients that apply the day they get home from the hospital, only to get declined. Almost all companies have a waiting period because most people that have issues with their pacemaker or complications from their surgery, (such as infections), will encounter them within the first three months of placement.
Remember, the biggest factor in the decision of your approval and/or rate class is the reason the pacemaker was implanted.
If your health prevents you from being approved for a term life insurance policy, you will likely qualify for a guaranteed issue (GI) policy. It is important to note that these policies tend to have two year waiting periods and can be quite costly for the amount of coverage you receive.
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not view pacemakers and implanted defibrillators the same. If you have an implanted defibrillator implanted, a guaranteed issue policy will likely be your only option.
JRC is here to help!
JRC Insurance Group is an owner operated company that works with 63 top-rated life insurance companies. Our agents are experts at the underwriting process and are sure to ask the right questions in order to match our clients with the right carrier.
We have helped thousands of people with many different types of health issues find policies that fit into their budget. Give us a call today, we would love to help you with your life insurance needs.Toll free at:855-247-9555 or instantly compare quotes using the form below.
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.