11 December 2012 0 Comments

Heart Attack! Now Can You Get Life Insurance?

Heart attack, also referred to as a Myocardial Infarction (MI), is the leading cause of death in the United States.  Whether life insurance is available to you at all, following an MI (and what it will cost) depends on how much of the heart muscle has been irreversibly damaged. Other factors include how much medical follow up is required plus the necessary lifestyle improvements that you will need to make.

Each case has so many variables it is impossible to give a premium range.  We associate severe chest pains with an MI.  This is true of the more severe case, but there can also be a “silent heart attack” where only a small portion of the heart has been affected.With these the pain is very minor and might be self-diagnosed as “indigestion.”  These might be first diagnosed with a resting EKG completed at the time of a life insurance medical exam.

Resting EKG’s often raise more questions than they answer, so an Exercise EKG (EEKG) is required to more properly diagnose the degree of heart damage.  Due to the expense of EEKG’s, they are seldom included as a part of the insurance exam.  The insurance company will obtain copies of EEKG’s and other more extensive tests that have been performed by an applicant’s attending physician.   Occasionally they might make an offer of a premium based on what has been provided, but indicate that an improved premium might be available if the applicant provides more current tests.  Always lock in the premium offered before providing any additional data.  The additional tests might improve the offer, but the information developed might also result in an increased premium.

To obtain the lowest premium, an MI victim must follow up with regular visits to their Attending Physician as well as implementing positive lifestyle changes:  Cessation of smoking, dietary improvements, weight loss, approved exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, control of blood pressure/cholesterol and stress management.  The applicant who recognizes where modifications are required, implements those changes and outlines this in a letter to be presented to the insurance company underwriter will increase their chances for the most favorable premium.

Coming up will be a discussion of life insurance considerations when going through a divorce

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