Absolutely! Many people go on to live long and healthy lives after heart valve replacement surgery. The success and reliability of heart valve surgery are steadily improving as is the long-term prognosis for patients. Getting life insurance after heart valve replacement does require some extra effort. This is the same concept for other forms of high risk coverage, such as life insurance with anxiety or life insurance with sleep apnea. But with the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable independent agent, you can get the life insurance you and your family need.
Heart valve problems can be caused by a birth defect that has become worse over time. Certain diseases can damage your heart valves and sometimes, old age can result in a faulty valve that needs to be replaced.
The American Heart Association states that heart “valve surgery is done to replace or repair heart valves that aren’t working correctly. Most valve replacements involve the aortic and mitral valves. The aortic valve separates the left ventricle (your heart’s main pumping chamber) and the aorta (the major artery that carries blood to your body from the heart). The mitral valve separates the left atrium from the left ventricle. “
Problems that can lessen heart valve function include when a heart valve doesn’t open enough or doesn’t allow enough blood to flow through, called stenosis, or when a heart valve doesn’t close properly and lets blood leak to where it should not, called incompetence, insufficiency or regurgitation. There is also a condition called prolapse which occurs when the mitral valve flaps do not close properly.
According to the American Heart Association, the “aortic valve and the mitral valve are the most commonly replaced valves. Pulmonary and tricuspid valve replacements are fairly uncommon in adults. The most common valve surgical procedure is aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the aortic valve.” Heart valve replacement is sometimes required to correct aortic regurgitation which is when the valve allows blood to leak back through the valve.
Heart valve surgery sometimes requires a sternotomy but less invasive procedures are sometimes an option. Replacement valves can be mechanical, made from plastic, metal or cloth, or biological, made from human or animal donor tissue.
Life insurance after heart valve replacement
Your life insurance company will be interested in all these aspects of your heart valve replacement. Still, the main thing life insurance companies will be interested in is how successful your surgery was and how well are you recovering.
According to WebMD, recovery “from heart valve surgery usually involves a few days in an intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital. Full recovery from heart valve surgery can take several months. Recovery includes healing of the surgical incision, gradually building physical endurance, and exercising.”
How long it has been since your surgery is a primary concern for life insurance companies. Because heart valve replacement recovery can be a difficult and lengthy process, many life insurance companies will require at least a year to pass before they will approve you for a fully underwritten policy. Positive results on diagnostic tests as your recovery signs of progress can serve as proof of the success of your heart valve replacement. Documentation of this progress and all of your recovery efforts can help to further convince a life insurance company that you are a good risk.
Many patients take blood thinners after heart valve replacement surgery. Those with a mechanical replacement valve made from plastic, metal or cloth will usually take blood thinners for the rest of their lives. If you have a biological valve made from human or animal tissue, blood thinners are only necessary for as little as a few weeks.
Any medication you are taking as a result of your heart problems and surgery, or for any other health condition you are experiencing, will concern life insurance companies. Medicines that may be very effective for treating one problem will sometimes create other, often serious, problems. Sometimes these ‘side effects’ can be as bad as the original problem.
If you have any other serious risk factors concerning your health, life insurance companies may be apprehensive about approving you for a policy at standard or even lower table rates. Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and tobacco use are all of the concern on their own. Things become more serious when combined with a major heart surgery.
When getting life insurance after heart valve replacement, the assistance of an experienced independent agent cannot be stressed enough. While some insurers cater to clients with “impaired” risk, others will only insure such individuals at very high rates. At Ogletree Financial Services we deal with impaired risk every day. And every day we get our clients who have had heart valve replacement, stent placement, or even bypass surgery, the most affordable life insurance rates available for the policy they need.
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