I’ve Had Bypass Surgery – Can I Get Life Insurance?


In 2011, more than 213,000 patients underwent heart bypass surgery. And while that number has dropped by nearly half from a decade earlier, that’s still a lot of people walking around who have had the procedure. If you are one of them, does that mean that you will not be able to get life insurance?

Fortunately, it doesn’t mean that at all. It does however mean that you have an additional risk factor in the eyes of the life insurance world, one that will have to be properly managed in order for you to obtain a policy at the best possible rate.

Risk factors leading to bypass surgery

For the most part, factors that lead to a need for bypass surgery can largely be controlled. But even if you have had bypass surgery, the following factors will be considered in underwriting your life insurance policy:

The presence of any of these risk factors, especially a combination of several, can indicate the success rate of bypass surgery. People who are high risk in these categories are more likely to develop complications even after receiving the surgery.

Yes, you CAN get life insurance

Even if you have had bypass surgery, it’s still highly likely that you will be able to obtain life insurance.

Much will depend on the factors that led up to the need for bypass surgery. For example, if you have experienced a heart attack that led to the need for the surgery, this represents a higher risk classification for insurance purposes. But in other situations, where the surgery is recommended on the basis of blockages and risk factors, those risk factors for insurance purposes may be lower.

Your follow-up and health habits after the surgery will have an important impact on your premium rates. You’ll be prescribed a regimen of diet, exercise, and medications that will improve the long-term prognosis dramatically. If you follow the regimen, and follow-up monitoring by health professionals indicates the situation is stable, you’ll receive a more favorable rating by the insurance company.

And naturally, the failure to follow through, or an indication that the factors that led to the bypass surgery are not improving will result in higher premiums.

Waiting periods

It should be clear from the outset that obtaining life insurance immediately after bypass surgery will not be possible. Most insurance companies don’t even consider an application in which the applicant has had the surgery less than six months prior to applying. The insurance company needs a certain amount time to pass since the surgery in order to properly determine the prospects of its success.

Most insurance companies will begin to look upon your application more favorably if at least one year has passed since your surgery. And naturally, the more time that has passed since the surgery, the greater the likelihood of both favorable consideration and lower premium rates. But again, much will depend upon your progress following surgery.

Overall health

As is always the case whatever a person has a high risk medical condition for insurance purposes, the company will always look at the bigger picture, which is your overall health and the presence of other risk factors.

Some of the considerations that will be reviewed in your application include:

  • Your age
  • The amount of time has passed since your bypass surgery
  • Whether or not the surgery was necessary as the result of a heart attack
  • The number of blood vessels that were bypassed (there can be as many as six, but fewer is always better)
  • The measured success of the surgery, as evidenced by follow up monitoring and the presence or absence of any related symptoms
  • Other health risks not directly related to the bypass surgery.

Certain combinations of risk factors – like bypass surgery and continued cigarette or cigar smoking – will likely result in a decline in your life insurance application. Taking care of your overall health then becomes extremely important. If you already have a bypass in your health history, you must make sure that every other area of your health that is within your control is being properly managed.

Getting the right policy is EVERYTHING

Any time that you have a major health risk factor, such as bypass surgery in your past, it’s absolutely critical that you work with a competent, knowledgeable insurance agent. Such an agent will know which life insurance companies are more likely to look favorably upon your application. He will also know which companies have the most affordable rates under the most advantageous terms.

If you have had bypass surgery, don’t try the do-it-yourself route when applying for life insurance. Be sure you have the guidance of someone who knows his way around the insurance world, and can get you the coverage that you need.