Is Life Insurance with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy available?
Securing life insurance with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can sometimes be difficult, but not impossible. This article will give you the best way to find the most affordable coverage with this cardiovascular disorder.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disorder of the muscle cells of the heart, producing overly thick areas in the chamber walls. The most commonly affected areas of the heart are the apex of the heart and the central column of muscle (called the septum) with or without thickening of the posterior wall of the left ventricle.
Other names commonly used for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include asymmetric septal hypertrophy (ASH) or idiopathic subaortic stenosis (IHSS).
Life insurance underwriters when evaluating prospects for life insurance with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are concerned with the symptoms one may have experienced along with the thickness of the chamber walls of the heart.
Persons with HCM can appear outwardly healthy, active, and fit. Nothing may be visible on physical examination other than perhaps a soft heart murmur. If symptoms are present at all, they are usually mild-such as shortness of breath, mild chest pain, and palpitations.
EKG abnormalities are sometimes seen. The best test for HCM is the echocardiogram. The test provides a more exact evaluation of chamber wall thickness, ventricular function and pressure, and valve status.
One of the measurements taken from the echocardiogram can determine if HCM is present. This measurement ratio divides the septal thickness and the left ventricular posterior wall thickness to give a ratio. If the ratio is over 1.3 then HCM is likely present.
In regards to the underwriting of life insurance with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy it is most important to work with an expert agent who has a history and knowledge of special risk life insurance.
With nearly 1,000 life insurance companies operating in the United States it can sometimes be difficult for those with pre-existing medical conditions to know what company specializing in their particular situation.
Just like you wouldn’t go to your personal physician to do brain surgery, you also wouldn’t go to a life insurance company that only underwrites preferred risks.
There are companies out there that specialize or simply do a better job underwriting individuals with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In fact, most life insurance agents do not have the knowledge or experience in this area. You must seek out an expert independent life agent who can help guide you thru this situation.
Fortunately, you have landed on this page. We are experts in the special risk life insurance marketplace. You see, every life insurance company evaluates health and lifestyle differently. Whereas one company may decline you for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, another may make a reasonable offer for protection.
But, it is important to know there are only a handful of these carriers specializing in underwriting for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
It is important for an individual to not hurt their chances of a viable offer for coverage by applying to the wrong companies.
Here’s what I mean. Life insurance companies all use the medical information bureau to crosscheck applications. This provides the carrier with information on previous applications that have been applied for.
If an individual uses an inexperienced agent with no background in dealing with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cases, then that agent might suggest to the insured just apply to multiple companies and hope one sticks or gives an offer. This is a big mistake.
What if 4 or 5 carriers then decline your application? Not only has the applicant wasted their time applying to multiple carriers, but now the MIB report has 5 declination’s on it.
This can hurt your chances for coverage even with a company that specializes in life insurance with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Why? Because now they are now concerned that you are just applying all over town with different carriers and this lowers this chances of any coverage being placed with this particular carrier.
You see an insurance company spends money underwriting a policy. They have to pay someone to review the application, pay for the medical exam, blood tests, EKG, order doctor reports. This all costs money. And unless the company feels like they have a pretty good chance of getting the business, they may simply refuse to make an offer for coverage.
This is why it is so important to work with an agent that knows how to get the best offer the first time. An agent that knows how to present a case to several different underwriting insurance companies without putting your name in the MIB file.
We do this by something called an informal application. This is simply a way of getting as much medical information upfront and contacting different insurance companies by phone and having a conversation about your situation. You see, most agents don’t know how to do this.
Either they don’t have the medical background to discuss competently with the underwriter or they simply don’t want to take the time to do it the right way.
This informal process saves the customer time and eventually money. There is no use filling out an application or completing medical exams if the company offer is too high or perhaps an outright decline. We get the tentative offers up front before formally applying for coverage.
This is the only way to handle a case for someone with pre-existing medical conditions.
The Underwriting of Life Insurance with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
For those carriers that specialize in underwriting life insurance with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy below are some of the typical risk classifications found:
Absent any other significant impairments such as mitral valve regurgitation, no anti-hypertensive medication, no symptoms such as fainting, heart rhythms, congestive heart failure and a ratio under 1.7:
AGES 30-39 rating 150% above the standard rates for the carrier.
AGES 40-49 rating 125% above the standard rates for the carrier.
AGES 50-50 rating 100% above the standard rates for the carrier.
AGES 60 and over rating 75% above the standard rates for the carriers.
Insureds that would typically be declined for life insurance with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include:
AGE Under 30
Surgical treatment of HCM with pacemaker or defibrillator
Any history of arrhythmia or syncope of taking anti-arrhythmia drugs
Septal or Posterior Wall ratio over 2.1 cm
Any history of congestive heart failure
Mitral valve regurgitation greater than mile
It is important to remember that each person is underwritten individually and the above is a standard guideline and not meant to be a complete profile. If an insured is declined for coverage other options may be available thru a guaranteed issue carrier or graded death benefit policy.
What if I am still declined for coverage?
If you go through the underwriting process and are still denied coverage you may still have an option. There are carriers available that will offer guaranteed issue life insurance coverage depending on the situation.
Each situation is different, but there are companies that will issue up to $100,000 of coverage if you are working at least 20 hours per week and meet the age requirements. This is full death benefit protection and is issued with no health questions, exams or lab tests.
There may also be additional coverage available on a guaranteed issued basis with a graded death benefit. This means the death benefit is paid out over a 2-3 year period in a graded portion. For instance, if death occurs the first year then all premiums are returned plus 10% interest. If death occurs year 2 then 20% of the death benefit is paid. If death occurs year 3 then a full death benefit is paid.
These graded benefit type policies are usually issued for smaller amounts of coverage up to about $50,000.
Can I still get coverage if I have a defibrillator?
Unfortunately, most life insurance carriers frown on offering traditional coverage for someone with a defibrillator. But, it is important to remember that some amount of protection is still available as noted above for those that meet the criteria of working 20 hours per week. The maximum amount of coverage is usually limited to $100,000 to $150,000 using the guaranteed issues mentioned above.
Questions for underwriting life insurance with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
The following are some of the questions that your agent will need in order to properly evaluate and discuss your situation with various companies:
- Date of Birth
- Male or Female
- Date of diagnosis
- Any of the following symptoms? I.E. Fainting or dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain?
- Had an echocardiogram?
- Current medications?
- Have pacemaker, defibrillator or had heart surgery?
- Used tobacco products in last 5 years?
- Any other major health problems?
The answer to these questions will help your agent locate and find the right life insurance carrier for your particular situation. It is also important for your agent to know the plan of coverage desired (term or permanent) and the amount of protection needed.
Don’t give up on finding coverage if you have HCM or a defibrillator. The secret is knowing the right person to speak with and the companies that specialize in this protection.
If you would like a free consultation please call Mike Raines at 678-207-8160 or e-mail him at email@example.com
Thanks for reading.