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Great Life Insurance Tips for Those With Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)

Researcher & Writer
July 26, 2017

Whenever we encounter a client who is looking for life insurance and has been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF or Afib), it’s always important for us to never assume anything about how his or her application will turn out.

You see…

In the “world of life insurance”, atrial fibrillation is one of those few pre-existing medical conditions where an individual can literally be approved at a Preferred rate, or they can be denied coverage all together.  Ultimately how well they fare will be based on the “severity” of their Afib.

So… how sever is yours?

Atrial Fibrillation Defined:

Atrial fibrillation is defined as a type of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) that is both irregular and times very fast. 

Patients with atrial fibrillation, may not experience any symptoms but if they do, they will typically include:

  • Heart palpitations,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Fatigue and/or general weakness.

Treatments for Atrial Fibrillation will often include:

  • Medications such as Beta blockers, Calcium channel blockers, antiarrhythmic agents and/or blood thinners.
  • Medical procedures such as cardioversion and Catheter ablation.
  • Or surgery procedures such as Cox maze or Mini maze.

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Life Insurance Underwriting Practices for Afib Applicants.

As we’ve already stated, in some cases, one’s atrial fibrillation may be symptom free, and only require minimal treatment if any at all.  These clients will be the ones that will have the greatest opportunity to be eligible for a Preferred rate class when applying for life insurance.

That being said however…

Even those clients who are not experiencing Afib related symptoms, will still be asked all the pertinent questions about their Afib.  In many cases these folks will also be required to jump through all the same hoops as someone who is actually experiencing symptoms of their Afib.

This is why as a general rule here at TermLife2Go, regardless of how “sever” you condition may be, we typically like to follow the same guidelines when applying for life insurance so that we can minimize any “surprises” that may arise during the underwriting process!

General Practices.

When it comes to applying for life insurance, there are generally 3 types of life insurance policies that you can apply for:

1. Ordinary term and whole life insurance policies

These are the types of life insurance policies that most folks are familiar with, which will require you to:

  • First complete a life insurance application and answer a series of health-related questions.
  • Second, take a medical exam.
  • Third, allow for the insurance company to have access to all of your medical records so that they can get a complete picture of your health.

What many people don’t know about these types of life insurance policies is that the insurance companies are also going to order:

  • A prescription database check so that they can see what medications you are currently taking and have been prescribed in the past.
  • A DMV report.
  • A criminal background check.
  • And possibly a “soft” credit check looking for any previous bankruptcies.

Or to put it another way, traditional term or whole life insurance policies are going to be very thorough!

The nice part about these types of policies is…

That if you’ve been diagnosed with a condition like atrial fibrillation, and are in good health, the insurance companies are going to have access to enough information to “theoretically” determine this on their own.

Which means that for those with a pre-existing medical condition like atrial fibrillation, often times, applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy is the way to go!

2. Simplified issue term and whole life insurance policies

One mistake, individuals with atrial fibrillation will often make when applying for life insurance is that chose to apply for a simplified issue life insurance in an effort to get insured quickly and avoid taking a medical exam.

The only problem here is…

That for these clients, often times, taking a medical exam is actually a “good” thing because it will provide the insurance company with “evidence” of good health.

You see, just because a simplified issue life insurance policy isn’t going to require a medical exam, it doesn’t mean they aren’t going to ask a lot of medical questions.

It also doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to order:

  • A prescription database check so that they can see what medications you are currently taking and have been prescribed in the past.
  • A DMV report.
  • A criminal background check.
  • Or a “soft” credit check looking for any previous bankruptcies.

All it does mean is that they probably won’t have access to your medical records and won’t have the results from a medical exam demonstrating that you’re in good health NOW.

This lack of information…

Will often cause the life insurance companies to deny coverage to someone who would have otherwise been approved for a traditional life insurance had they only chosen to apply!

3. Guaranteed issue whole life insurance policies

Guaranteed issue life insurance policies are another option that one may consider, but due to fact that they only offer about $25,000 dollars in coverage and contain a graded death benefit, we typically like to reserve these types of life insurance policies for those who will not qualify for either a simplified issue or traditional term or whole life insurance policy.

Applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.

Since most of our Afib clients will generally be more interested in qualifying for a traditional life insurance policy, we wanted to take a moment and describe what the process of applying for a traditional life insurance policy will look like.

The application.

In addition to simply collecting your name, phone number and address, insurance applications are going to ask you a series of questions to better understand what risk you may represent to the insurance company.  These questions are going to focus both on lifestyle choices such as:

“In the past 12 months have you used any tobacco or nicotine products?”

As well as, health-related questions such as:

“Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes?”

Then once it has been determined that you have been diagnosed with Afib, insurance companies will begin to narrow down their questions in order to get a better understanding of the severity of your condition.  This will allow them to gain a better understanding of how to underwrite your life insurance application.

Common questions you likely be asked about your Afib will include:

  • When where you first diagnosed with AF?
  • Who diagnosed you AF? A general practitioner or a cardiologist?
  • What symptoms are you currently experiencing as a result of your AF?
  • How long have you been treating your AF?
  • What types of treatments are you receiving? And how affective have they been?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized due to your AF?
  • Are you currently working now?
  • In the past 12 months have you applied or received any form of disability benefits.

Your medical exam.

The medical exam that you will be required to complete will be a relatively simple procedure in which a home examiner will either come to your home or office and complete a simple paramedical exam.

This exam will include a:

  • Recording of your height and weight.
  • Blood pressure reading.
  • Blood and urine sample.
  • And in some cases, an EKG exam.

All in all, this should only take about 30-45 minutes to complete, and is paid for by the insurance carrier regardless of how well you perform on the exam or if you even decide to purchase life insurance or not (you should never be charged to apply for a life insurance policy).

From there…

It generally takes about 2 weeks for the insurance companies to get the results back from your medical exam and then hopefully they will have all of the information that they will need in order to come to a decision.

So, what are you waiting for?  Give us a call today or visit our Life Insurance Policy Quotes page and see what we can do for you!

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