To get straight to the point, the answer is yes you can get life insurance if you have a pacemaker. But, there’s much more to the story, so please keep reading.
If you look back just a few decades, the response to this question was a “hard” no. However, technology has improved to the degree where pacemakers are allowing people to live longer, healthier lives. Because of this, life insurance companies have since adjusted the requirements to be approved when going through the underwriting process.
In reality, there are approximately 1.5 million Americans who have pacemakers. Since life insurance companies are in the business of making money, it wouldn’t be in their best interest to refuse business of this magnitude. In other words, they got their actuaries to work on how they can make offering life insurance to folks who have pacemakers a possibility.
After completing this research and having plenty of data to comb through, companies have concluded that the pacemaker alone is no longer a reason to deny coverage.
You may have to shop around, but don’t give up if you get denied. There are actually life insurance companies out there who specialize in approving clients with pacemakers. Much depends on the medical reason for the pacemaker.
However, you must be prepared to answer a number of life insurance and medical questions to determine whether you would be approved. Let’s take a look at some of these so you can get started on the process.
Why do you need a pacemaker?
If your answer is to control Tachyarrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat usually brought on by stress, the pacemaker is used only temporarily until the condition improves. Those situations are normally considered acceptable for getting life insurance coverage.
At what age did you get the pacemaker?
If you received the implant prior to age 40, typically because of a congenital heart block, you may still be approved but not at the “preferred” rate but rather a “high risk “rate.
, you may still be approved but not at the “preferred” rate but rather a “high risk “rate.
However, if you had the device implanted after the age of 40, companies tend to be a little more lenient on the rating.
How long has the pacemaker been implanted?
Life insurance companies will typically require a waiting period of 3-12 months without complications prior to approval, so it would be in your best interest to wait at least 90 days before applying for a policy. If you don’t have that long, then you’re more likely to get denied or receive an unfavorable rating.
Do you see your cardiologist on a regular basis?
Life insurance companies are going to want to see results for more recent tests such as echocardiograms, stress tests, and chest x-rays. It would be in your best interest to have had a recent follow-up appointment so the information is up to date and as accurate as possible.
The rule of thumb would be within three years, or you could risk denial of coverage or, again, an unfavorable rating which means a much more costly premium.
Are you currently taking medications?
The most common red flags would be beta-blockers and /or if you have been prescribed nitroglycerine; these will almost certainly render you denied for a life insurance policy.
Having only a pacemaker is not always a reason for denial
if there are compounding health issues such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. So if you have a pacemaker along with one of these conditions, it’s going to make getting coverage a little more difficult.
Can you reapply after being denied coverage?
In other words, if the pacemaker has proven to do what it’s meant to do, and improved your health, you could very likely be approved.
Not all companies are inclined to approve coverage with a pacemaker, so investigate companies that specialize in this type of coverage to get not only approval but the best rate as well. You could also look into finding an experienced broker who can match you with the right company for your specific needs.
The biggest factor in the approval process is the reason for the pacemaker and its ability to rectify your health issues prior to having the pacemaker.
It is all about Risk
Approval for coverage is all about “risk.” If the pacemaker has reduced your risk of death caused by the initial health issue, then companies are likely to approve the application.
While some insurance companies may view the pacemaker as a negative, others may see it as a positive because you have sought treatment and are no longer living with an untreated condition.
Life insurance companies may also approve the increased risk but it would most likely come with high-risk premiums. So, be prepared to budget accordingly.
Denied but still need coverage?
If you are denied but don’t want to leave your loved ones without protection, then you may still have another option.
That option would be the guaranteed life insurance policy (also called simplified life insurance). This one is provided without the underwriting process. However, it does come with very high premium rates and some conditions such as “the policy must be in force for a designated time period prior to a death benefit payout.”
Some said time periods could be up to 2 years. The amount of coverage will be significantly lower than an underwritten policy and premiums will be significantly higher. This could also be considered “final expenses” insurance. The main purpose is to cover funeral expenses as opposed to long-term financial relief for loved ones left behind.
Do not mistake guaranteed life insurance policies with “no Medical exam “policies. The “no medical exam” still requires you to answer medical questions. At the time of your death, the company would determine if you answered accurately and to their discretion. Insurance policies of this type may or may not pay out and your family cannot appeal them after your death.
With all of this being said, it is important to recognize that there are life insurance companies out there who specialize in high-risk clients, so don’t be discouraged by the first denial of coverage. Keep trying to improve your health as much as possible and know that even with limited options, there are life insurance opportunities for you.
If you are looking for more information about possible life insurance options, reach out to us directly to receive a free quote.