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Coronary Heart Disease: A Major Concern to Life Insurance Companies

I Have Coronary Heart Disease. Now What?

A proposed individual with a condition relating to the heart is of concern to life insurance companies because there is a heightened risk to insuring that individual. Coronary Heart Disease, also called Coronary Artery Disease, is the leading cause of death among both sexes in the United States. Therefore, if you have Coronary Heart Disease, you should expect two things: first, allow plenty of time for the life insurance companies to review your records. Second, expect to pay higher rates than you would if you were a perfectly healthy individual.

In general, life insurance companies will base your rating on a number of factors including your ejection fraction, the results of other cardiac tests (e.g. stress test, EKG), age, cholesterol, your history of heart attacks, the number and severity of blood vessels affected, the degree of damage that has already occurred to the heart, what kind of treatment you have had, along with other factors. If you have already had a heart attack, it is essential that you include a copy of the emergency room report. 

As you can see there are many factors that go into assessing the severity of Coronary Heart Disease. The more information you provide the better since ambiguity is never rewarded with good risk assessment. 

Coronary Heart Disease's Effect on Insurance Rates

Here is a general outline of what ratings you can expect to receive if you have a history of Coronary Heart Disease. Do keep in mind, though, that this is only a rough outline since there are many factors to assessing this condition. 


Expected Rating

Best cases (individuals over age 60 with mild heart disease)

Standardthrough Table 4

Normal cases

Table 4 through Table 8

Moderate to severe cases (younger individuals with more severe heart disease)

Table 8 through Decline

More Information on Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease is a condition where blood supply going to your heart is either wholly or partially blocked. As indicated above, Coronary Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. This condition is usually the result of fatty build-ups in the walls of the coronary arteries, though it can sometimes be due to birth defects, viral infections, or damage to the artery. When the blood flow to the heart is restricted, it can eventually lead to a heart attack. 

Important Things to Know for Those with Coronary Heart Disease

What are some of the issues that interest underwriters?

  • Do you currently smoke?

  • Do you experience/have you experienced one or more of the following: heart attack, hypertension, angioplasty, heart bypass surgery, elevated cholesterol, ischemia, or angina?

  • Which of the following tests have been performed on you and what were the results: EKG, PET (Positron Emission Tomography), Ultrafast CT, Electrocardiogram, SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography), or Thallium Stress Test?

  • Do you currently take any medication for this condition, and if so, what do you take?

  • What does your family history look like? 

What can I do to help the underwriting process?

Please provide any test results you have as well as contact information for your physician and medical facilities. If you have ever been to the emergency room as a result of your Coronary Heart Disease (this includes a heart attack) please include the emergency room report. Please feel free to also include a cover letter explaining any outstanding circumstances you feel are relevant. The more information you provide the more accurately your situation can be assessed. Finally, Coronary Heart Disease is a very complex situation and you should never simply send in an application to a life insurance company just to "see what happens." Your application needs to be prepared properly, preferably by a life insurance broker or agent.

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