DARIEN, Ill., Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Life Quotes, Inc. wants heart attack survivors to know that, while it may be tough to get a life insurance policy, it's not impossible. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in America and many survivors are unaware of the life insurance options that may be open to them.
The American Heart Association (AHA), the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that coronary heart disease was responsible for 1 in every 6 deaths in the U.S. in 2007— according to the most recent statistics. In that same year, 1 in 9 death certificates cited heart failure as the mortality culprit. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes one can make to reduce their risk of heart attack or prevent the occurrence of a second one. The primary causes of heart attack have not changed over the last decade. Smoking, obesity and lack of exercise all contribute to the risk of heart disease.
"A heart attack survivor who is stable and compliant with their doctor's orders can be eligible for a fully underwritten life insurance policy," says Phil Young, Life Insurance Product Analyst for Life Quotes, Inc. "Heart attack patients are underwritten very closely and the most desirable applicants can oftentimes obtain a standard rating instead of the higher-priced table ratings." Young continued, "The key to a successful life insurance shopping experience is to work with an experienced and skilled agent to make sure your situation is fully presented with no unanswered questions."
Based upon the experience of selling 276,000 life insurance policies, Life Quotes, Inc. has compiled a list of factors that could lead to a higher rating:
- Heart attack at younger ages
- History of more than one heart attack
- Ongoing episodes of angina or chest pain
- New electrocardiogram changes
- Uncontrolled hypertension or other cardiovascular or renal disease
- Decreased left ventricular function
- Degree of coronary artery disease
- Complications such as persistent arrhythmias
- Poor lipid control
It pays to shop around and obtain the advice of several agents because, in most cases, the final rate offered to a life insurance applicant who's had a heart attack can vary significantly from one company to the next.
If you have a history of heart attack and have the need to shop for life insurance, Life Quotes, Inc. suggests that you obtain recent workup results from your cardiologist and have those in hand at the time you submit an application. Submitting doctor letters or medical records at the time of submission can remove a lot of doubt and mystery and help to put the underwriter's mind at ease.
Life Quotes, Inc. suggests heart attack survivors make the following changes to improve their chances of receiving life insurance coverage at an affordable rate.
Time does matter: Robert Pokorski, chief medical strategist for The Hartford's individual insurance division, says that typically life insurance can be offered to an individual six months after bypass, angioplasty or the use of stents. This varies by insurance company, but generally after suffering a heart attack there is a waiting period of at least 1 to 2 years of good health. An insurer will ask for a recent EKG, stress test, or chest x-ray that proves that your condition is stable.
Improve your weight: Obesity puts undue strain on the heart muscle. Where you measure on the scale and how it affects your health is typically dependent on a few factors such as your Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI is a measurement of your weight as it relates to your height. Also, assessing your BMI isn't the only tool that should be used to measure weight. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends checking your weight measurement as well. Stomach fat contributes to disease risk, so a woman with a waist measurement of 35 inches or more and a man with a waist measurement of 40 inches or more is considered to have a high amount of body fat.
If you weigh 20 percent more than you should, most doctors suggest shedding that weight in order to decrease any further risk of heart attack. In fact, a heart attack victim's prognosis starts to improve even after a five to ten percent reduction in weight. If you lose at least 10 pounds you are already on your way to better health. Obesity also contributes to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, which increases the risk of having a cardiac episode.
Stop smoking and cut out ALL tobacco products in your life: One of the absolute worst things you can do when seeking out life insurance coverage or when it comes to your health is smoke. Smoking contributes to heart attack risk in addition to a number of other life-threatening medical conditions such as lung cancer. The World Health Organization recently reported that the risk of coronary artery disease is reduced by 50 percent in the first year after quitting smoking. Tobacco products include cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigars and electronic cigarettes.
Start an exercise regimen and stick to it: A sedentary lifestyle does more damage to your heart than getting off the sofa and exercising. The American Heart Association recommends exercising at least 20 to 30 minutes a day in order to achieve optimal heart health. And this includes any type of exercise and it doesn't have to be pumping iron in a gym. Running, walking and bike riding at least once a day can help prevent a second heart attack in the future.
Reduce the stress in your life: Stress is a part of life, but too much of it can be deadly. The NHLBI reports that stress is a dangerous factor when it comes to heart disease because it causes your arteries to narrow, which raises your blood pressure and your risk for having a heart attack. Intense emotions such as anger can also trigger a heart attack. Another reason why stress is so bad for your health is because people often use unhealthy habits such as smoking, abusing alcohol and overeating to cope with stress. It's best to speak with your physician or counselor to learn more positive coping mechanisms that will help reduce your stress levels.
Health experts suggest exercising regularly, resolving conflicts with other people, eating a balanced diet, talking to a friend, and tackling the small problems first can all help to improve your stress levels and emotional well-being.
When trying to obtain life insurance after having a heart attack Life Quotes, Inc. recommends the following:
- Document everything. Provide details about your heart attack and cardiac history to your agent, such as date and time of the heart attack and any factors that lead up to the cardiac event. Also provide documentation to your agent about the diagnoses, procedures, surgeries and treatments.
- Be open and honest with your insurer about your medical history and any medical conditions you may have.
- Have your doctor write a personalized letter to give to your agent that summarizes everything you have done in the last several months and past year to improve your prognosis. This could include weight loss, regular exercise (joining a health club or working with a personal trainer) and quitting smoking. If you are taking anger management courses you might want to include that in the letter as well.
- Discuss any medications you are taking to reduce and control high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Provide a list of any smoking cessation products or types of nicotine replacement therapy you are currently using to quit smoking.
For more, see "How To Obtain Life Insurance When You Have Heart Disease" http://www.lifequotes.com/articles/how-to-obtain-life-insurance-when-you-have-heart-disease/
About Life Quotes, Inc.
Originally founded in 1984 as Quotesmith Corporation, Life Quotes, Inc. owns and operates a comprehensive consumer information service and companion insurance brokerage service that caters to the needs of self-directed insurance shoppers. Visitors to the Company's Web site www.lifequotes.com, are able to obtain free, instant car insurance quotes, instant life insurance quotes, home, business and health insurance quotes from leading insurers and have the freedom to buy online or by phone from any company shown. Life Quotes, Inc. generates revenues from receipt of industry-standard commissions, including back-end bonus commissions and volume-based contingent bonus commissions that are paid by participating insurance companies. We also generate revenues from the sale of Web site traffic and insurance leads to various third parties.
SOURCE Life Quotes, Inc.