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Cardiomyopathy

I Have Cardiomyopathy. Now What?
Any condition affecting the heart is a concern to life insurance companies. Cardiomyopathy is a particularly interesting condition, since this is a condition describing a set of heart muscle disease for which there is no identifiable cause. Until recently, if you were diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, you would have been declined by a life insurance company. Recently, however, due to advances in technology and diagnosis techniques, there are many insurers who now feel that there are individuals with cardiomyopathy that can be insured.

If you have dilated cardiomyopathy, you will receive a minimum two year postponement following your last successful treatment before your application will even be considered. If you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, you will be evaluated based on age of onset (the earlier the onset the worse the rating), whether fainting spells were present, whether you had shortness of breath at last treatment, if there is a family history of this condition, and/or if there have been sudden, unexplainable deaths in your family. Finally, if you have been diagnosed with alcoholic cardiomyopathy, you will need to have been abstinent for several years with evidence that your heart has returned back to its normal state to even be considered for life insurance.

If you have cardiomyopathy, be prepared for an extended application review period as the life insurance company obtains and evaluates all your medical records and history. Be prepared also for higher insurance rates, and even possible declination depending on the severity of you cardiomyopathy. Providing plenty of detailed information will help expedite the process.

 
Cardiomyopathy's Effect on Insurance Rates
This table outlines some general, expected ratings for different cardiomyopathy scenarios.

Scenario

Rating

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Initial two year postponement following last treatment; high Table ratings to Decline

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Table 4 to Decline

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy

High Table ratings, assuming several years of abstinence and evidence that the heart has returned to normal size and function

 
More Information on Cardiomyopathy
While the underlying causes for cardiomyopathy are not clearly identifiable, there are some conditions that are believed to help cause this disease. These conditions include alcoholism, muscular dystrophy, amyloidosis, collagen diseases, hemochromatosis, Friedrich's ataxia, and others. Cardiomyopathy is classified into two major categories: dilated and hypertrophic. Dilated cardiomyopathy is characterized by the stretching out of either of the ventricles, or sometimes both. Only about 6 out of every 100,000 people have this condition and it impairs the contraction of the systolic ventricular function, which often leads to congestive heart failure. In a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic 77% of patients diagnosed with this condition died within two years. The other 23% showed significant improvement and often returned to normal heat size and function.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a bit more common, occurring in about 19 out of every 100,000 people. This condition is recognized by unusual enlargement of the left ventricle outflow tract and the septum, which obstructs heart muscle contractions. In turn, the volume of the left ventricle is reduced, causing inefficient pumping activity which leads to symptoms such as breathlessness, irregular heart beats, and fainting.

There is also alcoholic cardiomyopathy which is a version of this disease that is triggered by frequent, excessive alcohol use. Victims of this condition will experience irregular heart beats and episodes of congestive heart failure in conjunction with bouts of alcoholic consumption for no obvious reason. This condition may be reversible in its early stages assuming the individual quits drinking altogether.

 
Important Things to Know for Those with Cardiomyopathy

What are some of the issues that interest underwriters?

  • When were you first diagnosed with this condition?

  • Do you have a family history of cardiomyopathy?

  • Do you experience symptoms? If so, what are they?

  • What were the results of your most recent Echocardiogram results?

 

What can I do to help the underwriting process?

Life insurance companies have only recently begun to ensure those with cardiomyopathy. As such, this is closely evaluated on a case-by-case basis, which means you need to provide as much information as possible. This information should include contact details for all your treating physicians, test results, and any other information you feel is relevant.

Complete the following form, or call us toll-free at 888-854-7526 if you would like to speak with someone or get more information.

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