If you were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation or AFib and are looking for life insurance, you may be surprised to discover that you can still qualify for coverage. Of course, whether it’s paroxysmal (intermittent) or chronic (permanent) will impact your rates tremendously. We know how frustrating the underwriting process can be when you apply while having pre-existing conditions.
Not only will your situation be examined under a magnifying glass, which also makes the process drag on, but you may still get denied for coverage at the end. This is why I wrote this post to share with you how AFib can affect your life insurance application, what the underwriter will ask, and the rates for which you can qualify. Let’s get to it!
What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the heart produces an irregular quivering pulse. It can lead to severe health conditions such as stroke, blood clots, and heart failure. In a healthy heart, the top part (the atria) contracts first, followed by the bottom portion (the ventricles) to pump blood.
This contraction timing is a crucial part of moving blood effectively into the ventricles. Reduced blood flow may cause a clot to break off and enter the bloodstream leading to the brain, resulting in a stroke. Patients with AFib are on blood thinners because of the clot risk.
What Are the Insurance Companies Looking for When Insuring Individuals with AFib?
Every health ailment calls for different questions by the insurance’s underwriter. The reason is simple: getting to know more about your condition and the type of medications you take gives the underwriter a complete picture of the risk you pose to the insurer.
If you manage your AFib by following your doctor’s orders, taking the medications, and have no significant complications, you can expect a better rate. Let’s discuss the questions you need to be ready to answer.
1. Date of First Diagnosis
The period when first diagnosed gives the underwriter an insight into how long you have had this condition and if it is manageable or not. If you were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in the past six months, you will be challenged to find a traditional coverage and may need to wait longer before applying. The longer you have had it and being over the age of 60 is a good starting point.
2. Which Type of Atrial Fibrillation Do You Have?
Since AFib can cause significant health issues even without underlying heart conditions, the underwriter needs to know the type to assess the risk. There are two types:
- Paroxysmal AF is also called intermittent because the irregular heartbeat occurs and stops by itself and returns to a normal rhythm. It may last minutes, hours, or even days, but for most, it requires no medications to manage the condition. If you have no underlying health condition with ten or fewer episodes per year, the underwriter will classify it as intermittent AFib.
- Persistent AF is also called chronic because the condition can’t stop by itself and requires medications or electrical shock to help the heart reverse its course and return to a regular beat. Anytime you have more than ten episodes per year and use blood thinners or other treatments to control it, the underwriter will classify you as having a chronic AF.
3. What Symptoms Do You Have with Irregular Heartbeat?
There are many symptoms for those who suffer from atrial fibrillation. Chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath are just a few. The signs, frequency, and severity will also contribute to your overall risk to the insurance company.
4. What Tests Have You Completed?
Doctors use a few tests to diagnose and decide on a treatment plan. The tests include Electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitor, Event recorder, or Echocardiogram. The underwriter is looking for prognosis and test results.
5. Are You on Any Medications?
Conventional drugs for AFib include blood thinners to prevent blood clots, beta blockers to slow the heart rate, or calcium channel blockers to slow the heart and reduce the strength of the muscle contraction. Those who are not on any medications to manage their condition prove to be a lower risk to the insurance company.
6. What Caused the Atrial Fibrillation?
Not all AF patients have underlying heart causes, but most do. The conditions include hypertension, heart attack, abnormal heart valves, viral infection among many others. If your situation is due to heart condition, expect a higher rate or getting declined.
What Other Questions Will the Underwriter Ask?
Your AFib isn’t the only condition the underwriter will ask about. Questions such as driving history, gender, age, and family history are the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few other questions you will need to answer:
- Current age
- State of residence
- Height and weight
- Income and liabilities
- High-risk hobbies (if any)
- Current and past health history
- Family history
- Foreign travel
- Smoking habits
- Alcohol habits
- Driving history
- Criminal history
- Prescription usage
What Rate Class Can I Qualify for If I Have AFib?
It would be impossible for me to estimate all the scenarios, so take this paragraph with a grain of salt. If you have Paroxysmal AF with fewer than 10 episodes per year, you can get a standard rate.
A persistent AF can result in table 3 to decline. This is if AFib is your only medical ailment. If you are a smoker or have any other health issues such as being overweight or a person with diabetes, you will be rated even higher.
Life Insurance with Atrial Fibrillation Sample Monthly Rates
40-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
40-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
50-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
50-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
60-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
60-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
Buying life insurance with AFIb or any pre-existing condition is challenging and daunting for individuals who shop for life insurance by themselves. Every life insurance company has its underwriting process which they use to classify a potential client for coverage.
This process isn’t shared with the general public, so you may find yourself applying to different companies to get the best rate. Not only would you waste your precious time doing so, but if you get denied by one, other companies may follow suit.
Indeed, it’s in your best interest not to apply by yourself. Using a broker costs you nothing. We get paid by the insurance carrier if you get approved and purchase the protection. You can give us a call at 866-326-3053 for unbiased life insurance quotes from more than 50 companies, or you can go ahead and use the quote engine on this page to get instant quotes.