If you have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, you may feel like affordable life insurance is out of your reach. The good news is JRC has helped thousands of clients in less than perfect health and we can help you too.
All life insurance companies evaluate health issues differently. With some top-rated carriers, purchasing life insurance with congestive heart failure is possible and it may be more affordable than you might expect.
In this article we’ll explain how life insurance companies evaluate applicants with congestive heart failure. We’ll also provide insight on how to get approved at the best rates.
Quick Article Guide:
1. What is congestive heart failure?
2. How do life insurance companies determine rates for someone with CHF?
3. What is an angioplasty and why are they performed?
4. What is a stent and what are they used for?
5. What is a heart bypass surgery?
6. Treating congestive heart failure with a pacemaker or an implanted cardiac defibrillator
7. How to save money on your life insurance with CHF
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Congestive heart failure, also known as CHF or heart failure, occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood through the body at a normal rate. When blood moves through the body slower than normal, the pressure in the heart increases and the heart is starved of oxygen. To compensate for this, the heart may expand or stretch to hold more blood. Overtime this causes the muscle walls within the heart to become weaker or thicker preventing them from efficiently pumping blood throughout the body.
When congestive heart failure occurs, the heart does not actually fail, but rather its walls become too weak or too thick to perform properly. When blood does not pump efficiently throughout the body, the body becomes congested, and it retains fluid causing swollen ankles, arms, legs, and feet. Congestive heart failure is usually caused by coronary artery disease or a heart attack and it affects almost 700,000 Americans each year. Coronary artery disease is the number one cause of hospitalizations in Americans older than 65 and it is also the leading cause of death.
The two most common types of CHF occur on the left side of the heart and are referred to as diastolic congestive heart failure and systolic congestive heart failure. When the left side of the heart fails, the heart is unable to pump blood out of the heart and into the body.
Diastolic Congestive Heart Failure: When diastolic congestive heart failure occurs, the walls of the heart become stiff and thick preventing the left ventricle from relaxing. The stiffness in the left ventricle prevents the heart from filling with blood.
Systolic Congestive Heart Failure: When systolic congestive heart failure occurs, the left ventricle of the heart becomes stretched and thin. Overtime, the left ventricle becomes too weak to produce the force needed to push enough blood into circulation.
When approving your life insurance policy and determining rates, the company you apply with will consider the health issue that caused your congestive heart failure. Life insurance companies are the most lenient with applicants whose congestive heart failure is considered to be “resolved” with surgery or medication.
If your CHF is caused by an arrhythmia or causes arrhythmias, the insurance companies will want to see that you are taking a medication to control your heart’s rhythm. Other common treatments for congestive heart failure include pacemakers and implanted cardiac defibrillators.
If your congestive heart failure was caused by coronary artery disease or a heart attack, the most common treatments are an angioplasty with stents, or a bypass surgery. Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to find life insurance for applicants who have been congestive heart failure, but have not had any treatments to manage their condition. However, depending on your age, you will probably qualify for guaranteed issue life insurance. Please feel free to give JRC a call and we’ll be happy to advise you of your best options.
An angioplasty is surgery that is performed to treat coronary artery disease, or CAD, which is the leading cause of congestive heart failure. Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries become hardened and narrowed due to plaque buildup from elevated cholesterol. As the body’s arteries become narrowed, less blood is able to flow through them and the heart muscle becomes starved of oxygen. This lack of oxygen can result in congestive heart failure, chest pains, blood clots, and heart attacks.
An angioplasty is designed to open the coronary artery by clearing the plaque that is causing restricted blood flow and chest discomfort. For the majority of patients, an angioplasty procedure is successful, but some patients will need the surgery performed again, usually within six months of the initial procedure. In this situation, a stent may need to be implanted to prevent the artery from becoming narrowed again.
The most common angioplasty procedure is performed with a balloon catheter. During this procedure, the catheter is inserted into the narrowed artery and a small balloon is inflated to open the artery and push the plaque into the artery wall. Once the artery is opened, a stent is placed inside of the artery preventing it from narrowing again. This is also known as restenosis. An angioplasty procedure is considered to be minimally invasive and most people are able to leave the hospital within 24 hours. After an angioplasty procedure, most applicants can qualify for a mildly substandard rate from a handful of life insurance companies.
To learn more about angioplasties and how they affect your life insurance rates, please see our article “Purchasing Life Insurance after an Angioplasty Procedure.”
A stent is a tube-like structure that is inserted into an artery after an angioplasty procedure has been performed. Stents are commonly made of plastic or metal. Recently a dissolving stent was approved by the FDA. Stents are used to prevent occurrences of restenosis or re-narrowing of a coronary artery after a bypass surgery has been performed. Some stents are coated with medication to prevent scar tissue and clotting, while others are considered to be “bare metal”.
The main difference between a medicated stent and a bare metal stent is that bare metal stents require the patient to take an anticoagulant drug designed to prevent blood clots like Warfarin, Plavix, or Coumadin. Typically, anticoagulants are prescribed for a few months after a stents or stents have been placed. Approximately 80 to 90% of stent procedures are successful, but some patients will require a bypass procedure if the stent does not prevent the artery from becoming blocked again.
A heart bypass surgery, or bypass surgery, is a surgery that is performed on blocked or narrowed coronary arteries within the heart. During this procedure, a blood vessel from another part of the body is used to “bypass” the affected artery to allow blood to flow freely through the heart. Bypass surgery is considered to be more invasive than an angioplasty surgery, but many life insurance companies consider the two surgeries to be an equal risk. This may be due to the fact that bypass surgeries are usually more effective than an angioplasty procedure.
Like other heart procedures, a bypass surgery carries the risk of blood clots. For this reason, many patients will receive a prescription anticoagulant like Heparin, Warfarin, Coumadin, or Plavix for a few months after their surgery has been completed. Roughly 395,000 heart bypass procedures are performed in the United States each year. To learn more about purchasing life insurance after a bypass surgery, or to view sample rates, please read our extensive guide to purchasing life insurance after a bypass surgery here.
If your congestive heart failure causes fainting spells, your cardiologist may recommend implanting a pacemaker or a defibrillator. A pacemaker will help keep your heart in rhythm by sending electrical signals to your heart, preventing further fainting spells. We have composed a guide to buying life insurance with a pacemaker, including sample rates and tips to save on coverage here.
If your congestive heart failure requires the use of an implanted cardiac defibrillator, your best option for coverage will be guaranteed issue life insurance which is available to applicants between the ages of 50 to 80. To learn more about guaranteed issue life insurance, please feel free to read our guide, “What is Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance” here.
Every life insurance company evaluates health issues differently. Some life insurance companies are the best option for people in excellent health while others specialize in approving applicants with specific health issues. By working directly with more than 40 top-rated life insurance companies, JRC can help you locate the company that will offer you the most affordable life insurance options available. Our services are free and our agency offers decades of collective experience. We’ve helped thousands of clients over the years and we can help you too.
JRC operates as a no-cost brokerage allowing you the ability to shop the market in one phone call to save you time and money. We provide a no-pressure consultative approach and our experienced agents do not have quotas or daily sales goals to meet, so you’ll never feel rushed or pressured to make a decision.
Our agency is owner-operated and all of our agents have at least five years of experience. Give us a call today at 855-247-9555, or request a free quote online here.
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