Life Insurance After Angioplasty Procedure…What You Need to Know

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If you need to research life insurance after angioplasty you have come to the right place. Life insurance underwriting can be a mixed bag after an angioplasty procedure.

Your rates will be dictated by your particular circumstance, the triggering events, and the carrier chosen. The carrier is an important part of this equation, as different insurance companies have very different appetites for coronary and cardiovascular risks.

With a history that includes angioplasty, life insurance carriers will want to know as much as they can about the risk they are being asked to insure. This is no different than how the carriers deal with any other condition like high blood pressure and hyperthryroid or lifestyle choices like marijuana use or scuba diving.

The purpose of this article is to provide a brief description of the procedure and answer any questions you may have about how to obtain life insurance after angioplasty at the best price possible.

If you already know more than you ever wanted to about angioplasty, or you know exactly what you are looking for, you can use the quick navigation tool to skip around.

Fast Facts about Angioplasty

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as coronary angioplasty, is a procedure that improves blood flow to your heart. PCI requires cardiac catheterization, which is the insertion of a catheter tube and injection of contrast dye,  into your coronary arteries. Doctors use PCI to open coronary arteries that are narrowed or blocked by the buildup of plaque. 

The most well known angioplasty procedure is balloon angioplasty. Balloon angioplasty is a process where a n inflatable balloon is attached to the catheter tip and used to widen the artery.

Other angioplasty procedures, often used in conjunction with balloon angioplasty are laser, rotoblation, atherectomy, and balloon cutting angioplasty. These procedure all work to  destroy the offending plaque build up.  

Angioplasty procedures are often accompanied by the placement of a stent  used to maintain blood flow to the heart. According to the Mayo Clinic, 30% of cases where a stent is not placed, suffer a reoccurrence of the blockage.    

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that Coronary artery disease kills more than 370000 people die every year in the United States. 

There have been some pretty famous people who have had angioplasty procedures. The list of sufferers includes: presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, television funnyman David Letterman and journalist Barbara Walters

life insurance after angioplasty
Life insurance after angioplasty
life insurance after angioplasty
life insurance after angioplasty

What Life Insurers Will Take Into Consideration

Life insurance underwriters will generally be concerned with 5 general questions

  • Do you fit into the usual risk factors for the condition
  • What are/were your syptoms
  • What was the Diagnosis & Treatment
  • What is the aftercare
  • What is your health like apart from the condition/history in question

While the outline above is general in form , the questions will require specific answers. These answers will be gathered from your application, a telephone interview, the Medical Information Bureau, a Script Check, and an attending physicians statement (APS).

Lets look at the general areas of inquiry one at a time.

Do you "fit" into the usual risk factors for angiplasty?

The reason underwriters are more comfortable with making offers when an applicant fits into the usual patterns is because if they don't fit, there as a real possibility that something else is at play. When this is the case, underwriters will try to allay their fears by taking a harder look at the file.

In the case of angioplasty, the common "risk factor range" is either a triggering event such as a heart attack or stroke, preventive action due to coronary artery disease often brought on by lifestyle choices such as poor diet/obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol use, and lack of physical activity.

What were your symptoms

Underwriting will want to know the symptoms you had (if any) and how long you had them before the procedure.

In the case of angioplasty, this question is better asked as "what was the trigger to have the procedure"?  This can be anything as serious as a heart attack or stroke to angina and subsequent advice from your cardiologist.

Your Diagnosis and Treatments

Life insurance underwriters will want to know the date of first CAD diagnosis​. Underwriting will also want to know what medications you have been prescribed for coronary issues related to plaque.

A quick look as WebMD list the following blood thinners as commonly prescribed for high cholesterol and CAD.

Common anti-platelet (blood thinning) medications include Plavix, Pradaxa, Eliquis, Coumadin, Warfarin and Xarelto.

Be sure to inform your agent about any medications as some medications can affect underwriting grades and rates. While information that is "foggy" will be taken from your medical records, knowing the dates of diagnosis and treatments is necessary to get an accurate quote.

Your Follow Up Care

Life insurance underwriters will want to see that you have been compliant with any after care follow up requirements. These follow up requirements may include cardiologist visits and lifestyle changes as well as prescription medication.

​Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and losing weight can have a significant effect on underwriting as those choices tend to be reflected in blood pressure,cholesterol and EKG readings.

Speaking of EKG and stress test readings, it is important , both for your health and your life insurance rates, that you  ​are monitored by a cardiologist following the angioplasty procedure.

Your Over all Health (any related conditions)

Intimately related but distinct from angioplasty , there are certain diseases and conditions are closely monitored by cardiologist and life insurance underwriters. These include :

  • High blood pressure​
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • heart attack and stroke

Additionally, underwriters will want to know about your overall health. That means any other condition you are treated for as well as height weight ,vitals and blood labs.  

Obtaining Life Insurance After Angioplasty  

With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance is essentially the same for everyone regardless of health.

The primary caveats after an angioplasty are that no exam or so called “non-med” policies may only be available in limited face amounts and an attending physician's statement (APS) is often required.

The APS will likely slow the process as doctors are in no hurry to respond to requests from life insurance companies.

As discussed earlier, the information that you will be required to provide in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:

  1. Date of Procedure

  2. Severity of Symptoms

  3. Treatments Undergone (and test results)

  4. Dates of Treatments

    5. All other health issues​

Possible Underwriting Ratings after Angioplasty

Because Life insurance applications are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story always matters.

That is to say two people with the same age and condition may get significantly different offers from the same company based on age of diagnosis and patient compliance. Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience.

Best Case – If angioplasty was preventatively performed (no triggering cardiac event) more than 2 years ago with no complications and good test results (ejection fraction scores between 50-69 %) some cases have a chance for a standard  rating. Simply use the quoter on the left for a standard/standard plus quote.

Mid Case –If your angioplasty procedure is less than 2 years old or was triggered or has had any complications, the best you will do is a mid substandard rate . You calculate this rate by multiplying the standard rate by 1.5 (Table 2/B) or 2 (Table 4/D).

To learn about how table ratings work click here.

Severe Case – In cases where there has been little or no follow up or there have been poor test result and/or no lifestyle improvement, a severe substandard rate is likely the best you will be offered. You calculate this rate by multiplying the standard rate by 2.5 (table6/F) or 3 (table 8/H).

* while expensive this may still be a very good outcome for the circumstances

Decline– For a severe case you may be declined for traditional coverage. If this is the case you may be eligible for a smaller face amount policy. These policies are referred to as Guaranteed issue or simplified issue. If you have been declined please contact us.

Why you Should Use an Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance After Angioplasty

Now you already understand that your story matters, and that two people in similar situations can get very different offers from the same carrier.

What you might not know is that different insurance companies will also treat each case differently.

For example TransAmerica may have more of an appetite for the risk that angioplasty  presents than say Protective. In this case the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.

So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that that you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel?

angry customer

You’d probably be pretty peeved either at the agent or yourself or both. So it’s important that your Agent represent multiple carriers.

In fact a good independent agent will have access to over 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at a good rate.

Note that if he doesn’t, he probably won’t be in a hurry to let you in on this information.

Key Take Aways

  • Access to more carriers will result in better pricing.
  • It may be worth paying slightly more if there is a strong permanent conversion product.
  • Only independent brokers have the freedom to offer the best deal at all times.

Case Study: Pricing Life Insurance After Angioplasty

So, I have been droning on about the importance of using an independent Agent and you may think that sounds a bit self serving coming from an independent agent.

You’d be are right, it is. However, it is also the (provable) truth.

Please see the case study below . it will show why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance after angioplasty or any other impairment.

Gender: Male Age: 53

$250000 20 Year Term

Tobacco: No

Preventive angioplasty procedure at age 46 on advise of cardiologist 

Angiogram, EKG & stress test  good with a EF score of 61%. Excellent follow up with cardiologist and regular testing

This looks like a best case scenario would be either standard or Table 2/B depending on the insurers appetite for a cardiac risk. Let’s take a look at the rates.

Standard Rates Table 2/B Rates Table 4/D Rates

sbli express109.79sbli express161.55sbli express213.31
mutual omaha118.30mutual omaha174.74mutual omaha231.18
prudential logo121.73prudential logo185.61prudential logo250.63

This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available, illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Prudential is 15% more expensive than Banner.

On it’s face this seems like a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple.

This type of easy price comparison is particularly helpful for younger people in good health and shows why you want to use an independent Agent.

For people who have had angioplasty or any other serious diagnosis, it gets much more complicated.

Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a standard risk and which ons will grade you as table 2-4.

In the case above Banner is best in either case. But, if your Agent can’t use Banner, Prudential (the most expensive standard rate) is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carriers will likely rate the risk table 2 while Pru might well go standard.

This is something you can’t know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this case using an independent agent could save you 24% (the difference between Prudential @ standard and Principal @ Table 2).

Over the life of the policy that’s more than $7800 that would be better left in your wallet!

Next Steps​

​The next step is to gather your medical information and speak with an independent agent. If you would like to familiarize yourself with the application process for life insurance there is a "step by step" guide on the home page of this site.

Thank you for choosing the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance after angioplasty. I hope it has been helpful and we look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to call or drop us an email.

James Tobin, CFP

Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook. Over the past 10 years, Jim has used his CFP-financial planning designation to help individuals with their life insurance needs. In addition to working with life insurance clients, Jim teaches ESL classes in his spare time. He resides with his beautiful wife Nicole and the 3 cats that rule their lives..