It probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that if you find yourself using the words “heart” and “block” together in the same sentence when describing yourself to a life insurance underwriter, you may find it difficult to qualify for a great rate on your life insurance policy with a pre-existing medical condition!
But the truth is…
When it comes to “atrioventricular blocks”, it doesn’t have to be all that bad! In fact, depending on the degree of the “blockage” that we’re talking about, it’s quite possible that you may still be eligible for a Preferred rate even after being diagnosed with an atrioventricular blockage.
Atrioventricular block (AV block) defined.
An atrioventricular block is defined as a type of heart block that is caused due to “misfiring” of the sinoatrial node (SA node) which acts as the hearts natural pacemaker, rather than a “physical” blockage caused by plaque.
Now, under normal conditions, the SA node will send electrical impulses from the right atrium down to the ventricles creating the pumping action found in a normal heartbeat. In patients suffering from atrioventricular block, these impulses will become delayed or weaken leading to a weakened or irregular (slow) heartbeat (bradycardia).
Common symptoms associate with atrioventricular blocks will include:
Dizziness or light-headedness.
Fatigue and/or malaise.
Shortness of breath.
Treatment for atrioventricular blocks.
Depending of the severity or the “degree” of the atrioventricular block, treatment can range from simply monitoring the condition all the way up to having a pacemaker implanted so that a normal heartbeat can be established.
“Degrees” of atrioventricular blocks and how they will be viewed by the life insurance industry.
First degree atrioventricular block.
A first-degree atrioventricular block commonly known as a PR prolongation, is defined as an atrioventricular blockage whereby the electrical current originating from the sinoatrial node is delayed or slowed down beyond .20 seconds.
Treatment for these individuals will mainly revolve around trying to withdrawal or avoid any potentially aggravating or causative medications which could be creating the observable delay.
With regards to the life industry, individual who have been diagnosed with at first-degree atrioventricular blockage will generally still be eligible for up to a Preferred rating for life insurance provided that they are not experiencing any symptoms due to the AV block and they would otherwise qualify for a Preferred rate.
Second-degree atrioventricular block.
A second-degree atrioventricular block is defined when one or more (but not all) of the atrial impulses originating from the sinoatrial node fail to conduct to the ventricles thereby causing an irregular heartbeat.
Treatment for these types of individuals may require that the patient have a pacemaker installed under the skin replacing which will help reinstate a normal heartbeat.
These patients will also be able to qualify for life insurance rates just below a Standard or Normal rating assuming that they have had a pacemaker installed. For those with second-degree atrioventricular block’s without a pacemaker, coverage may still be available however, you will be viewed as a higher risk than those who have had a pacemaker installed.
Third-degree atrioventricular block.
A third-degree atrioventricular, also known as a complete block, is when most or all of the impulse generated from the sinoatrial node fail to propagate to the ventricles. Third-degree atrioventricular patients will need to receive a pacemaker.
The good news for those who have been diagnosed with a third-degree atrioventricular block is that, because pacemakers are so effective at establishing a normal healthy heartbeat, life insurance companies will typically still be willing to provide coverage at a rate just below “standard”.
That being said however, if you have been diagnosed with a third-degree atrioventricular block and have not received a pacemaker yet, you will generally not be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
For these clients…
We will typically advise them to apply for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy once they have had a pacemaker installed or possible consider a guaranteed issue or simplified issue life insurance policy which will not require them to take a medical exam or perhaps answer any health-related questions to be approved for coverage.
For those considering a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, we would also encourage you to read our article Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance – Pros and Cons – , which will go into greater detail describing these types of life insurance policies.
You can also check out our simplified issue life insurance article which details out some of our favorite companies and policies.
Now we know that…
We’ve just blown through a ton of information in a very short time and by no means do we expect you to become an expert right away!
But we do hope that after reading this article you’ll begin to understand that despite the fact that you’ve been diagnosed with a pre-existing heart condition, you’re still going to have a ton of options when it comes time to applying for a life insurance policy.
We also hope that you get an idea about what it would be like to work with us here at TermLife2Go.
In addition to trying to help you find the best possible life insurance policy that you can qualify for, we also like to provide you with as much information upfront, so that when it’s time to choose what’s right for you, you’ll have all the information that you’ll need to make an informed decision!
Because we work with dozens of different life insurance companies, not only are you going to have the information that you need, you’ll also be able to compare prices with dozens of companies simultaneously so you don’t need to wonder if you’re getting a great deal!
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today or visit our Life Insurance Quotes page and see what we can do for you!