You’ve probably, by now, detected a pattern with underwriting life insurance for any high risk disease: each situation is looked at individually, meaning not all risks are created equal.
This is, for many of our clients, incredibly frustrating. Perhaps the biggest frustration our clients have occurs when they find a less expensive life insurance policy after already purchasing one.
The clients who experience this anguish also follow a pattern: they did not seek the help of an agent prior to searching for coverage.
How Aortic Regurgitation Affects Life Insurance
With any high-risk disease – especially related to the heart – it is important to seek out expert help before purchasing a policy.
This blog is intended to provide additional resources for individuals shopping for life insurance; however, it should not take the place of a trusted life insurance agent.
The next topic in our heart disease segment is aortic regurgitation and, like other high-risk diseases, rated based on severity and an applicant’s overall picture of health. In this article, we will go over the disease and what insurance companies look for when rating an applicant with aortic regurgitation.
What Is Aortic Regurgitation?
Before you can understand aortic regurgitation, you must understand the structure of the heart.
The heart has four chambers and four valves. The chambers of the heart consist of two upper chambers, known as atria, and two lower chambers, called ventricles. Each side of the heart’s atria and ventricles has a different role.
The right atrium receives oxygen-deficient blood from the body, pumping it into the right ventricle, which then sends it to the lungs.
The left atrium receives oxygen-dense blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle. The blood then gets pumped throughout the body.
The heart’s four valves are responsible for controlling blood flow.
The tricuspid and mitral valves control the blood flow from the atria to the ventricles.
The pulmonary and aortic valves control the flow of blood from the ventricles to the lungs or the rest of the body.
During the heart’s resting beat, the aortic valve closes in order to prevent blood from flowing backward to the heart.
When these valve does not close tightly – or if the valve does not close all the way – an aortic regurgitation occurs, causing more blood to leak into the left ventricle. The left ventricle then has to work harder to pump out the blood.
In severe cases, the left ventricle’s walls will thicken considerably and will be unable to pump blood effectively. This is known as hypertrophy and can lead to heart failure.
Individuals who experience an aortic regurgitation often notice heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain and fatigue. Weakness, fainting spells, and swollen ankles or feet are also side effects associated with aortic regurgitation.
Aortic regurgitations are often diagnosed as heart murmurs during initial checkups.
The causes of aortic regurgitation may include:
- High blood pressure
- Weakened valve tissue due to age
- Untreated cases of syphilis
- Bacterial infection of the heart’s tissue
- An untreated injury
How Will Aortic Regurgitation Affect My Insurance Premium?
Your current state of health, the severity of the aortic regurgitation, the causes of the disease and your age will all be examined before classifying your risk level.
Generally, if the case is mild and not likely to deteriorate quickly, a change in rating will not be necessary. However, degenerative causes will lead to table ratings, which often means paying a flat extra for your premium.
Most individuals applying for life insurance with aortic regurgitation should expect to pay a bit extra for your coverage, depending on the severity of your symptoms and the results of your cardiological examinations.
Because underwriters are not cardiologists, they classify aortic regurgitation in terms of severity of symptoms and test findings.
For example, each category will be rated mild, moderate or severe. These categories include patient-reported symptoms, EKG findings, any signs of heart enlargement, and echocardiogram results.
Should you fall under a “severe” category, showing many symptoms and signs of degenerative causes, you will most likely be declined for coverage. If this situation applies to you, please give us a call so that we can direct you to alternative coverage options.
Your age will be a big deciding factor in your premium rating, with older individuals experiencing a lower rating than younger individuals.
When you speak to your agent, be sure to disclose the severity of your aortic regurgitation and any symptoms you may experience.
A list of the medications you are currently taking will be vital, as certain medications can interfere with the heart’s natural rhythm, further aggravating an aortic regurgitation.
Your diet and exercise regimen are also incredibly important factors in helping your agent communicate your risk, particularly if your aortic regurgitation is mild. A diet rich in heart-healthy whole grains, low in red meats and high in fiber – along with a doctor-approved exercise regimen – can help lower your risk.
Final Thoughts on Life Insurance with Aortic Regurgitation
Your heart works hard for you, so shouldn’t you work hard to keep it healthy?
We understand that certain high-risk diseases, such as aortic regurgitation, are not always in your control. However, a healthy diet, smoke-free lifestyle and an exercise regimen that incorporates cardio can be the keys to managing your aortic regurgitation, strengthening your heart and lowering your life insurance premiums.
Finding the right life insurance company to provide coverage for aortic regurgitation does not have to be a difficult or stressful process. Because so many details of an applicant’s health go into underwriting a policy, it is incredibly beneficial to have an agent on your side.
To talk to the best agents out there, who can find you the best life insurance coverage, reach out today!