Bypass Surgery and Its Impact on Life Insurance Rates
Have you been denied coverage or are
you paying too much for your life insurance because you
had a heart bypass procedure?
you have undergone coronary by-pass surgery, the most
common form of open-heart surgery, obtaining affordable
life insurance is probably not out of reach. While
some life insurance companies may not be interested
in offering a policy at any rate, many will offer coverage
but at significantly higher price levels. The key is
to identify the life insurance company that will treat
you most favorably based on your specific circumstances.
The information below will provide you with an overview
of coronary artery bypass surgery, its impact on life
insurance rates and some helpful tips on getting the
best possible rate.
Heart Surgery- Coronary Artery Bypass Defined
According to the American Heart Association, coronary
artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of premature
death in the US for both men and women. CAD, also known
is the result of the narrowing of the arteries that carry
oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle which allow it
to pump blood effectively. Partial closure of these arteries
can cause angina (chest
pains) and complete blockage will lead to a heart
attack. CAD can lead to irreversible damage to the
heart and even sudden death.
For more severe cases of CAD, coronary
bypass surgery is a highly effective treatment for correcting
the condition. Heart bypass surgery is a procedure that
redirects blood around clogged or hardened arteries so
that blood flow and
oxygen to the heart can be improved. With bypass surgery,
a portion of a healthy blood vessel from another part of
the body, commonly a vein in the leg, is “grafted
in” to the aorta on one end and below the diseased
area of the coronary artery on the other effectively rerouting
blood flow so the heart can work efficiently.
In many cases, multiple vessels are by-passed. A double,
triple or quadruple bypass can be necessary if more than
one vessel is affected. Up to six bypass grafts can be done
during a single surgical procedure.
Additionally, coronary bypass surgery
doesn’t cure CAD.
After successful open heart surgery, a balanced diet, a regular
exercise program as well as taking the appropriate medications
to control blood pressure and cholesterol is crucial to ongoing
maintenance. If lifestyle changes are not undertaken, blockages
can and will reoccur and repeat bypass procedures may be required.
- According to the American Heart Association's
Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics over 420,000
bypass procedures were completed in 2004.
- The 2004 breakdown included 303,000 bypass procedures
on males and 124,000 on females.
- The largest segment of the population requiring coronary
artery bypass is males over age 65.
- In approximately one-third of all cases, the blockages
return and the artery becomes narrow again.
- The cost of coronary artery disease and stroke in the
US for 2007 is $431 billion according to the American Heart
Artery Bypass Surgery is Avoidable
The need for heart bypass surgery
results from lifestyle factors that are in most cases controllable.
Life insurance companies are especially interested in these “controllable” factors
and an individual’s responsiveness given their underlying
CAD. The following factors are most important in evaluating
an individual’s coronary heart disease:
- Smoking or tobacco use history,
- Elevated Cholesterol levels,
- Obesity or Excessively Overweight. Body
Mass Index (BMI) in excess of 25,
- Lack of exercise,
- Hypertension or High Blood Pressure,
- High Fat Diet or Poor Diet,
- Family history of CHD.
Impact of Open Heart By-Pass Surgery on Life Insurance
If you have undergone open heart surgery requiring a bypass
graft the price you pay for life insurance will be higher
based on the severity of your condition. However, the likelihood
of securing a competitive policy is good. Your specific underwriting
health class will be determined by a number of factors
including your health history leading up to the bypass surgery,
the number of diseased vessels and the success of the surgery,
your regular cardiac follow-up including any diagnostics
tests since the procedure as well as the presence and number
of risk factors noted above.
With coronary artery bypass surgery, other factors that
affect life insurance rates include:
- Current age.
- Your age at the time the procedure was completed.
- The presence of any heart attacks prior to the bypass
- How many vessels were corrected?
- The results of follow-up stress tests or other cardiac
- Any symptoms occurring since the procedure such as angina?
- The rate of progression of atherosclerosis since the
With coronary bypass surgery, every life insurance company
will postpone coverage or
fail to make any offer for life insurance within the first
3-6 months post surgery.
A number of companies will begin to consider you for life
insurance after 6 months but overall you can expect to be highly
rated or pay an excessive price at best.
After 1 year post treatment, more companies will begin to
consider for favorable life insurance and the likelihood
of getting a better rate begins to increase assuming excellent
medical follow up and proven lifestyle changes.
In general, if your bypass was done in response to abnormal
diagnostic test, i.e. thallium stress test or treadmill EKG,
and there was no prior heart attack and cardiac follow up
and lifestyle compliance has been good, you can expect to
pay an average or standard health
rate with an additional 25% to 100% extra charge or rating.
If you have had a heart attack prior to your open heart
surgery but have had good follow up with your cardiologist
with normal cardiac diagnostic testing results, you can expect
to pay a rate equal to standard plus an additional 75% to
200% depending on the functionality of your heart muscle.
If after your successful bypass procedure,
you do not have adequate cardiac follow up or don’t
implement the lifestyle changes necessary to reduce the
risk for reoccurrence, you can expect to be postponed for
coverage or pay an excessively high rate for your life
If you have any history of coronary artery disease and
continue to smoke or use tobacco related products you can
expect to be declined for life
Preferred health rates are
not available if you have any history of coronary artery
The majority of insurance companies will offer a life policy
with a table rating or
increased rate based on a diagnosis of CAD alone. The level
of the table rating will be contingent upon the severity
of your specific condition along with the presence of the
risk factors listed above.
Bottom line is that some insurance companies
will be more “open
minded” than others when evaluating your mortality risk
based on your history of bypass surgery. The key is to identify
the companies that will treat you most fairly based on your
individual health history.
Can MEG Financial Help?
At MEG Financial, we have worked with many
individuals across the country that have had related
histories and have helped many obtain fairly priced life
insurance. A number of these clients previously attempted
to buy life insurance elsewhere but were either turned down
or asked to pay a significantly higher rate. Our experience
helping others with related problems is invaluable
to you in identifying the insurance company that will treat
you most fairly.
For more specific information or to obtain
a custom quote, call MEG Financial today at (877) 583-3955.
You may also submit this short
form and an independent insurance agent will personally
contact you to go over any questions or other concerns.
Links for Coronary ByPass