Can I Still Get Long Term Care Insurance If I Have Coronary Heart Disease?

Even after a coronary attack, you may be able to qualify for Long Term Care Insurance

Spotlight Series on Select Health Conditions and Long Term Care Insurance

This week’s focus…

Can Someone with Coronary Heart Disease Buy Long Term Care Insurance?

As with any serious health condition the answer is not always Yes; but more importantly, not always No! There are many cases where someone with coronary heart disease can secure long term care insurance coverage. Working with a qualified long term care insurance advisor is extremely important if you, or someone you know, has this disease and is interested in getting long term care insurance coverage.

Some Facts…

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 26.6 million Americans are diagnosed with some form of heart disease. It could come as no surprise that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both women and men.

Heart disease can consist of many different types of diseases. Just a few common examples would be coronary heart or artery (ischemic), rheumatic or valvular, hypertensive or inflammatory heart disease.

For purposes of this blog we’ll focus in on coronary heart disease.

Approximately 1 in every 13 adult Americans have coronary heart disease.

Often time a heart attack is the end result of having some form of heart disease, especially coronary heart disease.

The American Heart Association reports that every year around 735,000 Americans experience a heart attack. The average age for women is 70 and for men 66.

Coronary heart disease is generally defined as a narrowing of the coronary blood arteries that supply blood to the heart. For someone who has coronary heart disease they may experience angina or suffer a heart attack. Immediate treatments range from angioplasty, stents or bypass surgery.

Coronary heart disease is a progressive disease. One interesting statistic is that 24% of adults have been told by a member of the medical field that they have hypertension…which can be a dangerous precursor to coronary heart disease.

Specifically relating to long-term survival after a heart attack, it will depend on a number of factors such as the severity of the heart attack, the extent of damage to the heart itself and what kinds of preventative measures are taken afterwards.

Often times having coronary heart disease (including having a heart attack) can ultimately lead to a chronic condition that requires custodial care. Of adults who are receiving home care according to the CDC, 9.3% are reported to be related to heart disease in general.

Coronary Heart Disease and Long Term Care Insurance

While long term care insurance companies will consider offering someone who has coronary heart disease (even had one or more heart attacks, they will consider a number of factors). Anyone who recently underwent surgery whether angioplasty or bypass, will have to wait a minimum of 6 months (one company allows for consideration after just 3 months) before applying for coverage.

Other than the one company noted above, if it’s been more than 6 months since you’ve had a single heart attack, have no other co-morbid (simultaneous or sequential) conditions, and have been asymptomatic with follow-up visits showing complete recovery and stability, many companies will offer their standard health rating. Some might require a longer elimination period; for example, you may not be able to get an elimination period of less than 90 days (this is the most common elimination period for all long term care insurance policies so this is not necessarily bad.)

If you were a smoker before the first heart attack, companies will generally increase the 6 month waiting period to 12 months. Conversely, if you had multiple heart attacks and your current health is uncontrolled (some companies will still consider offering coverage even if you’ve had more than one heart attack under certain conditions,) or you have circulatory disease in other areas of the body, long term care coverage will not be possible.

As mentioned earlier, insurance companies will also be much more concerned if, in addition to the coronary heart disease, you also have had or currently have diabetes, hypertension, a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or other vascular disease among other conditions. These co-morbid conditions significantly increase the chances of a subsequent heart attack.

It’s also important to note that is you have any planned surgery in the future the insurance company will most likely want to postpone any underwriting of your case until the surgery has been completed and a post-surgery waiting period has passed.

The Importance of Working with the Right Advisor

It’s important that you work with a qualified advisor if you have coronary heart disease or the presence of other co-morbid diseases.

Not all insurance companies underwrite exactly the same. As discussed in a previous blog about cancer survivors and long term care insurance, it’s very important that your insurance advisor do preliminary “underwriting” with you before any formal application is submitted. This pre-underwriting process will allow the advisor to gather as much information as possible about your condition. Then the advisor will then submit this information confidentially (without any specific names or other identifying information) to various insurance companies for their underwriting departments to review.

By doing pre-underwriting, the advisor will receive tentative underwriting responses from the companies which will help determine in consultation with the client which company would be the best to work with.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to do “pre-underwriting.” I’ve personally had clients approach me who have had good-intentioned “financial” advisors provide them with long term care insurance quotes where there was never a discussion of health status. If someone with coronary heart disease (or any other significant medical history for that matter) where to simply submit an application without pre-underwriting, they run the risk of having the application declined. Once a person has been declined by an insurance company that underwriting decision must be disclosed on any future applications which could be problematic to say the least!

Call today.

Give us a call at 866-609-4909 and let us help you with your long term care insurance needs. We are an independent agency that represents YOU, not some particular insurance company.

As an independent LTCi Advisor, my goal is to provide unbiased advice and help educate you on the various options available to you when planning for Long Term Care.
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Scott F. Coomes, J.D., CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®

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