Life Insurance With Atrial Fibrillation
By James Tobin
LIHD Difficulty Rating
While there is a lot to know about getting approved for life insurance with Atrial Fibrillation, the seven questions below are a good start. For more in-depth discussion just follow the links in the answer section and keep reading.
Frequently Asked Questions...
Can I be approved for life insurance with AFib?
Every applicant for life insurance with atrial fibrillation or AFib can be approved for a policy.
However, the type of policy that can be approved, and the rates charged, will depend on the nature of your atrial fibrillation and your overall health.
Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, this review of life insurance options with atrial fibrillation is broken into three sections: (click link to go directly to section)
What information will life insurance companies want to know?
In order to underwrite your application life insurance carriers will need to know the symptoms that you have experienced, the treatment undergone, including prescription drugs used, and any medical follow up. For a more exhaustive discussion of the underwriting of atrial fibrillation applications please scroll to Life Insurance with Afib: What Carriers will Take into Consideration
Will I need to take an exam for Atrial Fibrillation life insurance?
In order to get the best rates possible you will need to take an exam. However, if it turns out that simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies are the best fit for your application, no exam will be required. See How Term Life Insurance Works for more on the exam.
How much will life insurance cost and how exactly does my AFib affect my rates?
The rates you pay for tem insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier. AFib cases are generally going to be rated as standard or lower. This issue is discussed using pricing samples here. Sample pricing for simplified issue and guaranteed issue policies is provided in the corresponding links.
How accurate are the quotes I get from your quote tool?
The quotes you receive from the quote tool on this site are 100% accurate for the information inputted. That is to say, if you get the rate class correct- your rate will be correct. The problem with online tools is that people generally think they are inn better or worse shape than is reality.
If you are unsure about rate class you should choose a range and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
How can I improve my underwriting rating and lower my life insurance cost?
The most effective ways to improve your life insurance rating are to use an agent that has access to the companies that will view you most favorably and to take care of your health.
See Why to use Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Afib to better understand the reason to use an independent agent.
As far as lifestyle goes, if you take diet and exercise seriously along with limiting alcohol and quitting smoking (if you smoke), it should be reflected in your blood markers.
if you have a medical condition like AFib, documenting compliance with medical advise and any medications is very important. Obtaining Having a physicians letter stating that you have been compliant and improving is helpful.
Do these things and you can't help but improve your health and your life insurance rating.
What are the best life insurance companies for atrial fibrillation?
Life insurance companies have differing appetites for specific risks. These appetites are reflected in underwriting and ultimately pricing. Currently 2 of the better known carriers for dealing with AFib are Prudential and American General (AIG). However, risk appetite can, and does, change and the only way to guarantee the best possible deal is to work with an experienced independent agent. see the case study here to get a clear understanding.
What is the application process for life insurance with Afib?
The life insurance application process is an eight step process that includes choosing your terms, picking a carrier, submitting to the exam, and signing documents (digital signatures accepted). The entire 8 step process is laid out for you here.
Traditional Term Life Insurance for AFib (Atrial Fibrillation)
While it is possible to get standard rates on applications with an AFIB diagnosis, it requires a carefully packaged application to a receptive insurer. Therefore it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with AFIB cases and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive.
Because life insurance carriers are trying to accurately measure the risk that they are being asked to insure, the process of obtaining a life insurance offer with AFIB is no different than seeking life insurance with Sleep Apnea, rheumatoid arthritis or many other specific conditions.
Primarily, term life insurance is available for lengths ranging from 5 years to 30 years with 20-year terms being the most popular. Term policies usually have a minimum face amount of $50000, and the policies terminate at the end of the term period or can be renewed annually at a vastly increased rate.
Possible Term Underwriting Ratings with AFib
Because Life insurance applications are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story matters.That is to say two people with the same age and condition may get vastly different offers from the same carrier-based on the age of diagnosis and patient compliance.
Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are merely the best estimates for life insurance with atrial fibrillation based on experience.
Best Case – If paroxysmal AFIB is detected early, symptoms are under excellent control and complications or further damage to the heart has been prevented, many cases have a chance for a standard rating. Simply use the quoter on the left for a standard quote.
Mid Case–The most common rating for paroxysmal AFIB applications and the best possible for a chronic case. 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 – If your AFIB is Chronic or has complications the best you will likely do is a severe substandard rate. You calculate this rate by multiplying the standard rate by 3 (Table 6/F) or 4 (table 8/H).
* while expensive this may still be a 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.
Term life Insurance Pricing with Atrial Fibrillation
At the top of this article we stated that any body can be approved for affordable life insurance with AFib. Note, however, we mention “affordable” rather than "inexpensive" or “low cost". The reason for the distinction is that all too often, life insurance with atrial fibrillation is not cheap life insurance.
In fact, because the coverage can be expensive on a per benefit dollar basis, the benefit is often reduced to make the life insurance affordable. While this is often not an ideal situation, the truth is we all have to live within our budgets, and sometimes the way to make life insurance with atrial fibrillation affordable is to reduce either the term of coverage or the benefit amount.
The basic mechanics of term life insurance are pretty straightforward. As long as the policy premium is paid by (or for) the insured, and the policy is in force, the beneficiary will receive the death benefit upon the insured's death.
$500000 20 Year Term
$250000 10 Year Term
$100000 10 Year Term
$200000 20 Year Term
The trickiest part of term life insurance with a health condition like atrial fibrillation is finding the best deal. This is because different carriers have differing appetites for certain kinds of risks. As
a result navigating this process is not as easy as using a quote tool and picking the lowest price. This is discussed in detail in the case study below.
How Term Life Insurance Works....
Exam or No Exam?
Although the term life insurance market is quickly adopting accelerated underwriting programs that do not require a medical exam as part of the application process, this option will not be available if you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.
You will be required to take a pare-medical exam. The exam is a 15-20 minute meeting with a nurse. Your exam will consist of a blood draw, a urine sample, and height and weight recorded.
The medical exam is discussed in detail here.
Most term carriers will have the underwriting department do a telephone interview with you. The In the case of AFib the conversation will be wide-ranging, and last about 20 minutes.
The purpose of the interview will be to flesh out the information that it has from your exam, medical information, and driving history. Questions will often revolve around lifestyle. Answer as honestly as possible, but never "offer" unrequested information.
In addition to the period of insurance, it is essential to understand the available policy riders. Riders are additional benefits that, often for an additional cost, are included in your policy.
The five most prominent riders are listed below with links to in-depth descriptions.
- Waiver of Premium
- Living Benefits
- Conversion Privilege
- Child Rider
- Additional Purchase Option
While there is no waiting period for the insurance to go into effect, the insurance company has a two-year window from the policy start in which they can contest a benefit for material misrepresentation on the initial application. So, honesty is the best policy.
You can dive deep into the ins and outs of term life insurance, learning about available term lengths, riders, financial ratings, and rates. The Life Insurance Help Desk works with almost all of the top term life insurance carriers.
Life Insurance with Afib: What Carriers 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 (follow up & compliance)
- 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 the Condition
Because AFIB is closely correlated with serious heart issues, underwriters will scrutinize symptoms more closely than most files.
Underwriters tend to be more comfortable with making offers when the applicant's condition fits into a common risk factor pattern. If the condition doesn't fit, there is a concern 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.
Other than advancing age and European ancestry, the risk factors for AFIB tend to revolve around serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease,kidney disease, obesity, diabetes, and alcohol abuse.
What are/were your symptoms
When underwriting life insurance with AFIB, carriers will want to know the symptoms you had (if any) and how long you had them before the diagnosis.
AFIB can range from well controlled to life-threatening. The Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms as the most common:
- Palpitations, which are sensations of a racing, uncomfortable, irregular heartbeat or a flip-flopping in your chest
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
Your Diagnosis and Treatments
Life insurance underwriters will want to know the date of first diagnosis and of any subsequent episodes. Underwriting will also want to know what medications you have been prescribed for AFIB.
With the help of your application, interview, and attending physician's report, underwriters will reveiw any ECG results - including from event recorders or Holter monitors. Underwriters will need to know if your diagnosis is paroxysmal (less than 12 times/yr) or persistent (needs treatment to return to normal function) or permanent.
Underwriting will need to know if you have undergone a reset of the heart rhythm with either an electrical cardioversion or a pharmacuetical cardioversion.
Additionally they will require information on any surgical ablations and any maintenance drugs you are being prescribed.
The list of most common pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for AFibis highly dependent on the severity of the case. For maintenance the Mayo Clinic cites the most common medications are as follows:
- Dofetilide (Tikosyn)
- Propafenone (Rythmol)
- Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone)
- Sotalol (Betapace, Sorine)
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
When evaluating life insurance with AFib applications, underwriting will want to see compliance with prescription medication and any follow up requirements including doctors appointments.
Are you going to the doctor regularly? Are you have ECG's done? Follow up compliance is a huge selling point to underwriter sitting on the fence about a rating.
Your Over all Health (and related conditions)
While any application for life insurance will take into consideration your overall health including conditions like high cholesterol and gout, underwriters in AFIB cases will specifically look for both risk factors and certain complicating conditions. The serious complications associated with AFIB are heart failure and stroke.
Obtaining Term Life Insurance with AFIB
With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance is essentially the same for everyone regardless of health.
The APS can slow the process as doctors are in no hurry to respond to requests from life insurance companies.
The information that you will be required to provide in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:
- The process for obtaining term life insurance is the same with AFib as any other condition.
- Your doctor will most likely have to submit an attending Physicians Statement (APS).
- Providing detailed and accurate information is the only way to get an accurate quote for AFib.
Case Study: Pricing Term Life Insurance with Atrial Fibrillation
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 with AFib or any other impairment.
Gender: Male Age: 53
$250000 20 Year Term
Well controlled mild paroxysmal AFib Diagnosed Age 46
Atenolol for maintenance , No Other Health Concerns
This looks like a best case scenario would be either standard or Table 2/B depending on the insurers appetite for a AFIB risk. Let’s take a look at the rates.
- Table 2/B Rates
- Table 4/D Rates
Life Insurance Company
Life Insurance Company
Life Insurance Company
This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates, Prudential is 13% more expensive than Principal.
On its' face this seems like a pretty straightforward choice, and if underwriting grades between carriers are the same, it really can be that simple.This kind of easy price shopping is particularly useful for younger folks in good health and demonstrates why you want to use an independent Agent with multiple carrier options.
For people who suffer from Afib 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 AFib 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 obout 25% (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!
* Note that while overfunded ‘investment grade" permanent policies are excluded from this review, such policies generally follow the term life insurance guidelines.
It's worth noting that a few of the prominent carriers that offer these products have "healthy lifestyle" credits that "table shave" ratings by as much as 2 tables.
For example, a atrial fibrillation case that was rated table 2/B could be "table shaved" back to a standard rating. Table shaves are not offered on term products.
Process for Term Life Application with Atrial Fibrillation
Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate term life insurance quote possible, it's time to begin the application process. The term process is outlined "step by step for you in the Life Insurance Buying Guide.
The Help Desk is committed to transparent pricing (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like) and making the application process as painless as possible.
Final Expense Insurance with AFib
Approved!That was Easy.
There are several final expense carriers where underwriting is not concerned with atrial fibrilation. In fact, they don't even ask! These no-exam needed burial policies are the next best choice for anyone who will not get through traditional underwriting.
The "final expense" market serves differing consumer needs. There is the need that is made obvious by the name "final expense". This term refers to a funeral, burial and miscellaneous cost tied to the rituals surrounding life's end.
Many of the buyers of these policies simply want to remove any financial burden their funeral and burial would cause to their loved ones, while others want to leave a legacy.
Alternatively, the simplified issue marketplace serves as a safe harbor for people who need some life insurance, but cannot qualify for traditional term underwriting. The lenient underwriting standards of this market allow for people with severe sleep apnea to get coverage.
How the policy works will be dictated by the type of final expense or burial policy it is:
- First-day Coverage
- Graded Coverage
How Final Expense Life Insurance Works with Atrial Fibrillation
With death benefit face amounts that top range from $5000-$100000, simplified issue or "final expense " life insurance is almost exclusively whole life insurance.However, the calculation of the death benefit depends on if the policy is first-day coverage or graded
First day policies are straightforward, and provide a full death benefit from day 1 of the policy.
Graded policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period.
These policies commonly pay premiums plus interest if you die in the first year of the policy; 50% if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
The carriers offer graded policies based on the applicant's health. These provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
Graded or not, a whole life policy has a fixed premium that cannot increase and the policy stays in force until the premiums stop being paid or the insured dies.
Pricing for Burial Insurance with AFib
In addition to different underwriting standards, final expense pricing is complicated by the fact that a lot of providers only operate in certain states.
As a result the samples below are of limited value. You should use the final expense quote tool found here.
$25000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
$10000 "Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
No Exam, but possibly a phone interview
Many burial policy insurers will have 10-15 minute home office interviews using the telephone. They are looking for the use of prescriptions that do not come up on their prescription check and assessing cognitive function.Be alert!
Final Expense Policy Features
There are fewer riders associated with simplified issue policies than traditional term, but living benefits such as the accelerated benefit for terminal illness, and chronic illness are fairly common. Additionally, some final expense policies have a small cash component and have loan provisions.
The contestability laws are the same for all types of life insurance policies. That is, the carrier has two years from the origination of the policy to contest the benefit payout on policy where the application contained material misstatements.
What Final Expense Life Insurers Will Take Into Consideration with AFib
As stated before, simplified underwriting is seldom concerned with atrial fibrillation. Unlike traditional underwriting that grades on a scale, "final expense" is a yes or no proposition.
Note that "yes" is divided into first-day coverage and "graded" categories. Atrial fibrillation offers are generally not "graded". So, full coverage would begin on day 1.
Final expense policies contain "knockout" questions and prescriptions.Since AFib is usually not a question on these policies, the only way to get ‘knocked out" is if you answer yes to a different "knockout" question.
Knockout questions tend to revolve around heart attack, stroke, cognitive function, insulin use, amputations and some of the heavy drugs these conditions require for treatment.
Next Step For Final Expense with Atrial Fibrillation
Because most final expense underwriting rules differ wildly, it's unusual that you can just go to the final expense quote tool and start.However, unless you have other conditions, that is exactly how to start.
Because AFib by itself will usually not cause a "knockout", best price may win. Remember to use the quote tool on the "final expense" page. The quote tool on this page is limited to term quotes.
Upon receiving your quote request, we will be in touch as soon as possible (often in minutes), and we will help you through the process. The whole process shouldn't take more than 30-40 minutes.
We are committed to a transparent pricing process and are happy to share a computer screen with you or send a video of the method used to get your rate. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Guaranteed life insurance for AFib
As a stand-alone condition, afib does not require the use of guaranteed life insurance. The only time that an applicant would need to go the guaranteed route is if the atrial fibrillation was paired with a condition that could not qualify for graded a final expense policy.
If this describes your situation, keep reading.
Pricing for Guaranteed Issue policies
Guaranteed policies should only be used as a last resort. In addition to the benefit grading provisions that make the policies toothless during the two or three year grading period, they are the most expensive policies sold.
Guaranteed Issue Monthly Rates for Males
Guaranteed Issue Monthly Rates for Females
#pricingow Guaranteed Life Insurance Works
With only the requirement of age (40) and citizenship, guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a death benefit that ranges from $5000-$50000. Such plans are exclusively whole life insurance.
However, all guaranteed issue policies are "graded". Generally, the grading represents a 2 or 3 year period that the policy must be in force before a full death benefit will be paid.
Like "final expense" policies, guaranteed policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period. These policies commonly pay premiums plus interest if you die if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
Also, like the "final expense" write up says, these provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
No Exam Required on guaranteed policies
There is no exam for guaranteed life insurance. After all, it's guaranteed to be issued regardless of your health.
Contestability on Guaranteed issue policies
Although the contestability laws are the same as other policies, beyond age and citizenship, it's difficult to see where contestability may arise in a guaranteed issue case.
Next steps for guaranteed Issue Policy with Atrial Fibrillation
The guaranteed issue process is lightning fast and can be handled over the telephone in a matter of minutes. Give us a call or email us.
Why You Should Use an Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Atrial Fibrillation
In addition to reassuring you that life insurance is attainable with AFib, this article pointed out that insurance companies have different pricing and underwriting standards from one another.
Furthermore, these underwriting differences are a reflection of the company's appetite for a specific health risk.For example, Prudential Financial may have more of an appetite for the risk that Afib presents than say, Banner.
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 you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel?You'd probably be sad like the puppy or mad at the agent or yourself or both.
So it's crucial that your Agent represent multiple carriers. In fact, most good independent agents will have access to over 40 or 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at the best rate.
Thank you for choosing the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance with atrial fibrillation. We are committed to a totally transparent process (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like), and making the application process as painless as possible.
Should you have any question, please do not hesitate to give us a call or contact us via email.
Fast Facts about Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Atrial fibrillation or AFIB is the most common heart arrhythmia condition. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way. When a person has AFIB, the normal beating in the upper chambers of the heart (the two atria) is irregular, and blood doesn’t flow as well as it should from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart (the two ventricles).
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), AFib affects as many as 6 million US residents. Because Atrial fibrillation is more common among older people-and women live longer on average-, more women are affected than men. Additionally, people of European decent are more likely to suffer the condition than African Americans.
More than 750,000 hospitalizations occur each year because of AFIB. The condition contributes to an estimated 130,000 deaths each year.
AFIB costs the United States about $6 billion each year. Medical costs for people who have AFib are about $8,705 higher per year than for people who do not have AFib. (Source: CDC).
A few of the well known people who suffer from AFIB are: President George H.W. Bush, Vice President Joe Biden and singer Elton John.
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