Obtaining life insurance with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) depends heavily on how much information is available to evaluate your risk. In general, the more information available, the better chance you have of getting better rates.
Underwriters want to see EKG’s and current stress tests with Ejection Fractions. If you haven’t had these tests done recently, get them done before applying for life insurance. If there’s no recent information, you’re looking at a decline. Underwriters want to know you’re actively taking control of your CHF.
Congestive Heart Failure is underwritten based on what condition or disease has lead to the symptoms of CHF, what attempts you’ve made to treat the condition, and how well the treatment has worked. Newly diagnosed cases of CHF are often postponed or declined pending evaluation for a cause. Once a cause is known, life insurance underwriting will be based on the severity of symptoms and documented treatment successes for the condition.
Health Ratings for CHF
- A “Standard” life insurance health rating is possible (but very rare) with very mild heart disease where the heart’s effectiveness is stable and near normal. The heart’s effectiveness is usually measured via the Ejection Fraction (EF). The EF measures how much blood volume is pumped effectively with each heartbeat. Ejection Fraction measures of 55% and higher can often be underwritten at Standard rates if the condition is stable.
- Table 2-Table 4 ratings are more common. Especially if you’re under age 60 with Ejection Fractions less than 55%.
- Table 4-Table 6 ratings will be likely if you’re Ejection Fraction is in the 40%-50% range.
- If your Ejection Fraction is below 40%, but the underlying cause has been successfully treated and documented recovery is well underway with an increasing EF you may qualify for a Table 8 rating.
Anything not being successfully treated with an EF of below 50% will be a decline and you are only eligible for graded death benefit plans.
Most people with CHF get declined for life insurance because they take the approach to apply and “let’s see what happens”. Proper case preparation for CHF cases is a must. Here’s what we need to know:
- Date of Diagnosis
- What condition has been diagnosed that lead to CHF? (Atrial Fibrillation, Cardiomyopathy, Heart Valve Disease, High Blood Pressure, Hyperthyroidism, Myocarditis, etc…)
- Approximate dates of the following (and were results normal)? Resting EKG, Stress EKG, Echocardiogram, Chest X-Ray
- Current Ejection Fraction of the most recent Stress EKG?
- Are all medications currently taken?
- Have any immediate family passed away from heart disease prior to age 60?
- Are there any other underlying health issues?
With this information, we can assess your Congestive Heart Failure and give you an accurate rate. Anyone who doesn’t ask these questions is just guessing.
A very important part of applying for life insurance (that most agents fail to do) with Congestive Heart Failure is finding underwriting credits. By underwriting credits, we mean things like healthy eating, exercise, no family history of heart disease, non-smoker, or any information that would help an underwriter lean toward a better health class rating.
Life insurance applications don’t ask this information. We ask you these questions because we volunteer it to the underwriter through a “cover letter”. We’ve been able to secure better rates for those with healthy lifestyle habits.
As you can see, we’re very experienced in underwriting Congestive Heart Failure life insurance policies. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve been declined. More than likely you picked the wrong carrier.
It really takes an experienced agent who knows the best carrier to see your CHF most favorably. We have our “favorites” list of life insurance companies who have given favorable approvals time after time for those with CHF.