Having heart issues is scary enough for some people. Being faced with something like heart bypass surgery is even scarier.
While rates of bypass surgery have reduced over time, it is still quite common. And if you haven’t gotten around to getting life insurance yet, you might be worried.
Getting life insurance after heart bypass surgery is difficult. There are many factors that are used to determine if you are eligible and the rate you’ll be approved for.
Today, we’ll take a look at why someone gets heart bypass surgery and the causes. Then, we’ll discuss how to get approved for life insurance and the best rates you can prepare for. Finally, we’ll give you some tips for getting healthy and approved for life insurance.
What is Heart Bypass Surgery?
The most common type of heart surgery performed on adults each year is heart bypass surgery. This type of surgery can be called by other names, including:
- Coronary bypass
- Bypass surgery
- Coronary artery bypass (CAB)
- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)
- Minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB)
- Robot-assisted coronary artery bypass (RACAB)
- Keyhole heart surgery
The method used to perform the surgery is dependent on your
- Current health
- Any other heart-related health conditions you may have
- How many arteries need to be bypassed
So, when is heart bypass surgery performed? When one or more of the arteries in the heart are blocked or narrowed. Your heart is unable to pump enough blood to the rest of your body.
This can lead to:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden death
- Ischemic heart disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Coronary vascular disease
Coronary artery bypass surgery has come a long way in the 100 plus years it’s been performed. There are high success rates for people who follow their doctor’s orders and make healthier choices.
Still, most people have a higher mortality rate 8 – 10 years after bypass surgery. How you live your life during those years will determine your risk factor.
The most common cause of needing heart bypass surgery is leading an unhealthy lifestyle. The people who are at most risk of needing this type of surgery have the following health issues:
- High cholesterol
- Eat an unhealthy diet
- High blood pressure
- A sedentary lifestyle
Successful surgery will reduce the chances of having a heart attack or sudden death. Bypass surgery does not guarantee that you won’t have to have surgery again in the future.
Later, we’ll give you some tips to follow to reduce your risk of having further surgery.
The Life Insurance Process
When applying for traditional life insurance, there is a process to follow. Let’s take a look at that process and how to prepare.
First things first. You have to get a quote before you can apply for life insurance. This is the easiest part of the process for you.
To make it even easier, you’ll want to work with a licensed life insurance agent. They deal with people and their health issues every day.
Agents know which life insurance companies work best with different health concerns. They will get you a quote with those companies, which will increase your chances of an affordable approval.
When you speak with an agent, they’ll ask you some questions to get you to the right carrier:
- Current age
- Any current health issues
- Any health problems in the last 10 years (specifics may be needed)
- Amount of coverage needed
- Type of coverage needed
Pro tip: Wait at least 12 months after surgery to get a quote. Life insurance companies want to see how you healed and if you followed your doctor’s orders. They also want to see if you made positive changes to reduce further heart issues or surgery.
Once you’re ready to complete the application, you’ll need to provide specific answers related to your surgery.
Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- What was the reason for your bypass surgery?
- What type of bypass surgery was performed?
- Was your surgery elective or recommended by a doctor?
- Do you have any other health issues?
- Are you on any type of medication?
- Do you or your family have a history of heart disease?
- Did you have any complications during or after your surgery?
The Medical Exam
When applying for traditional life insurance, there is almost always a medical exam to follow. You can choose to have a lab tech come to your house or you can go to a facility.
- Confirm your personal information
- Take your vitals
- May take blood and/or urine samples.
The exam should take no more than a half hour. Once completed, the results will be sent to the life insurance company for review.
The Approval (or Denial)
Once you submit your application, an underwriter is assigned to your case. They will take all your information, medical records, and reports into consideration when determining your case.
The healthier you are when you apply, the better the rate will be. The better the rate, the better the premium.
That’s why it’s so important to wait 12 months after surgery. It will give you time to get healthier and increase your approval rating.
What Life Insurance Rates Can I Expect After Heart Bypass Surgery?
Here are the rates you can expect to get once you’ve applied for life insurance.
This life insurance rating is for the healthiest of applications. You won’t qualify for this rate if you’ve had bypass surgery.
It’s extremely rare to get this life insurance rating. The only way you’d be eligible is if you had elective bypass surgery. You would also have to be in perfect health otherwise to qualify.
If you’ve had bypass surgery for any other reason, don’t expect this rating.
This is the best life insurance rate you should expect to qualify for. You will have to wait at least 12 months after your surgery to be considered for this rate.
The reason for your bypass surgery will be a deciding factor. If you have any other health issues or are a smoker, you will probably not get the standard rating.
Substandard (Table Rating)
You will likely be approved for a substandard rating after having this type of surgery. There are different table ratings which also change the premium.
The factors considered for this rating are:
- Your current health
- How long it’s been since your bypass surgery
- If you smoke or have in the last 12 months
- The severity of your blockage and if you have had any other procedures
- Any complications you may have had during or after surgery
There is a possibility that you can be denied for life insurance after heart bypass surgery. If you apply for life insurance sooner than 12 months after surgery, you will probably be denied.
Factors like the ones listed above will all help decide which rating you get. If you did not make positive lifestyle changes after surgery, you risk getting denied for life insurance.
What if I Get Denied or Need Life Insurance after Surgery?
There is an option for you if you need to get life insurance sooner than 12 months after surgery. It also works if you’ve been denied for traditional life insurance, regardless of the reason.
Guaranteed issue life insurance is the best choice for these scenarios. If it is offered in your state, then you are eligible for this type of life insurance policy.
The coverage amount might not be much and the premium can be expensive. But it will give you some coverage now while you wait to improve your health or heal after surgery.
Once you are ready to try again with traditional life insurance, you can reach out to one of our agents. They can assist you with the best coverage and company to get you approved at a price you can afford.
Tips for Recovery and Getting the Best Life Insurance Rates
These tips are not only to help you get better life insurance rates, but they will also assist you in recovery. If you make positive lifestyle changes it will also increase your life span and reduce the risk of future surgery.
When applying for life insurance, you will automatically be rated higher if you are a smoker. You must be tobacco-free for at least 12 months in order to qualify for nonsmoking rates.
Smoking is one part of an unhealthy lifestyle that can cause you to need bypass surgery. To help heal and also reduce the chances of a blockage coming back, you should quit smoking.
If you need help quitting, there are many resources available. Here are ten great tips to help you quit smoking and leave it in the past for good.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
A bad diet is another factor that can lead to heart issues and other related health problems. By changing your diet and eating healthier foods, you can help your body heal. Weight loss is also another welcome side effect of eating a healthy diet.
Consider the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. There are different versions of this diet that you can choose. This way of eating has the ability to reduce heart failure by as much as 50 percent.
By taking charge of your diet and making other healthy choices, you can almost guarantee a better life insurance rating.
Make Exercise a Priority
If you lived a sedentary lifestyle before your bypass surgery, you’ll need to make changes here too. By being more active, you will make your heart stronger and also reduce your chances of sudden death.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a weekly minimum of:
- 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity
- 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity
You can also do a combination of the two. Pick activities that you enjoy to keep yourself motivated to stick with it.
Get your family involved in activities as well. It will increase bonding time and you can all make memories spending more time together.
Treat Other Health Issues
Depending on the reason you had bypass surgery, it’s likely you have other health concerns. The good news is, the other tips will help you in this area as well.
If you are also suffering from:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Then you will want to make sure you are doing everything you can to control those. Work with your doctor to show that you are making positive lifestyle changes. Follow any other orders they give you, like taking medication, to increase your chances of curing your health issues.
Get Control of Your Stress
Living in a fast-paced world, it can be hard to manage and reduce stress. It takes time that a lot of people believe they don’t have.
But if you don’t decrease your stress, over time it will land you back in the hospital. Not sure what you can do to reduce your stress levels?
Here are some ideas:
- Exercise regularly
- Deep breathing exercises
Once you get started with something you like, managing your stress will be something you look forward to. Think of it as a reward for taking better care of yourself. It provides much needed “me time” that so many people don’t take advantage of.
You, however, definitely should. Your life could depend on it.
Getting life insurance after heart bypass surgery is not impossible. But, your overall health will determine if you are approved or not.
If you are ready to get a quote to start the life insurance process, you can get one right now!