Life insurance for someone with atrial fibrillation

Someone with atrial fibrillation needs life insurance

Someone who has atrial fibrillation (AFib) may experience difficulty getting life insurance or getting it at an affordable price. This is because many people with also have complications that can lead to a premature death. And, not surprisingly, life insurers will either not want to take the risk at all; or will want to charge extra premium to cover the extra risk.

So what exactly is atrial fibrillation?

According to The Mayo Clinic “atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.” A normal heart will contract and relax to a regular beat. This regular beat move the blood into the heart and pumps it out to the rest of the body. With AFib the heartbeat becomes irregular. And this irregularity can cause a few problems.   

What are the possible causes of AFib?

Something causes the electrical signal that travels through the heart’s atria (upper chambers) to misfire. This misfiring causes the atria to contract unnaturally fast. Atrial fibrillation is associated with abnormal heart structure. It can be brought on by hypertension, heart attack, hyperthyroidism, abnormal valves, metabolic imbalance, lung disorders, sleep apnea, virus, stress.

What are the problems AFib causes?

When your heart rhythm is off your heart may not be able to keep up with your body’s needs. It may have to work extra hard. And this extra work can cause heart failure. The AFib flutter can cause blood to pool in your heart. If this pooled blood forms a clot, it could break off and travel to the brain; causing a stroke. And a stroke can mean premature death; which life insurers are trying to avoid.

But heart failure and stroke are not the only problems; just the most major. AFib usually travels with bad company like high blood pressure, cardiac artery disease, lung disease, and sleep apnea.

Additionally, some therapies can increase the risk of sudden death. Since blood pooling and clotting is a major problem, a standard therapy if to offer anticoagulant (blood thinner) medicine. Blood that is less resistant to clotting can cause someone to ‘bleed out’ after an injury or internal bleeding. But for many people the the risk of a bleed out is preferred than the risk of a stroke.

All in all people with AFib have a higher incidence of premature death which is why life insurers will want extra premium in order to take on the extra risk. Yet, some Afib cases are considered more risky than others.


How is AFib treated?

The initial treatment is intended to get the heart rhythm to go back to normal. This is done medication or electrical stimulation. If these treatments are not successful or the AFib turns chronic then medication or a pacemaker are used to control the the heart rate.

Sometimes surgery is used to permanently prevent the AFib: Pulmonary Vein Isolation (PVI) is an attempt to scar or destroy the heart tissue that is allowing the irregular heart rhythm.


What do life insurers want to know about someone’s Afib?

The life insurers will want to know whether the Afib is paroxysmal (intermittent) or chronic. They will also want to know if there is underlying heart disease or lung disease.

Someone with paroxysmal AFib with infrequent episodes and no underlying heart or lung disease could get as good as a standard rate. Whereas someone with chronic Afib and underlying heart or lung disease could be declined.


What can someone expect to pay for life insurance? 

Copy of Male 60 Non-Smoker $100,000. 20 Year Level Term Life

ConditionRate ClassAnnual Premium
In frequent episodes, no underlying heart disease, normal echocardiogramStandard$1436
Chronic AFib with no underlying heart disease and normal echocardiogramStandard + 150%$2517
One year after successful PVIStandard$1436
Afib with severe underlying heart disease or lung diseaseDeclineNo Offer


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