Getting Life Insurance With Atrial Fibrillation


Atrial fibrillation, commonly referred to as A Fib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat. It affects about 2.2 million people in the US, and becomes more common with age. Since it has no immediate effects, it’s possible that you won’t even know that you have it.

But what if you do, and you need to get a life insurance policy? A fib can complicate the life insurance application process, but it is usually possible to get a policy even if you have the condition.

What Is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation affects the functioning of the heart. Electrical impulses traveling through the atria do not do so in an orderly manner. A large number of impulses begin to spread through the atria and compete for the ability to travel through the AV node. The result is a rapid and often disorganized heartbeat. Though the AV node reduces the electrical impulses that travel to the ventricles, the heartbeat can still run in excess of 150 beats per minute.

A fib can often be determined in a routine medical exam, simply by checking your pulse. However since the condition is often sporadic and temporary, it can easily go undetected, even by an EKG test.

But when A fib is taking place, it can result in heart palpitations, which are sudden pounding, fluttering or racing of the heart. It can also cause fatigue, lightheadedness, chest pain or shortness of breath. Various electronic monitoring devices can then be employed to specifically diagnose the condition.

A fib is a known cause of stroke, due to the fact that the heart is more likely to produce blood clots that can travel to the brain. It can also reduce the ability of the heart to pump normally, and even result in heart failure.

How Life Insurance Companies Treat Atrial Fibrillation

Because of the potential for heart failure and stroke, insurance companies carefully review applications for people who have A fib. But depending upon the severity of the condition, as well as how well it is being managed, you can get a policy, often at standard rates.

The insurance company will want to know the following:

  1. How long you have had A fib
  2. The type of A fib that you have – intermittent (known as paroxysmal) or chronic, which is permanent
  3. The specific cause of the condition (though 10% of cases have no known cause)
  4. Other heart issues, including hypertension
  5. Other health related conditions (smoking, obesity, high cholesterol etc)
  6. Treatments you are undergoing for A fib

In general, the insurance company will want to establish the that your A fib condition is being well-managed, and represents a reduced risk to your health and longevity.

Fortunately, there are a large number of medications that can be used to control an A fib condition. This includes beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, as well as certain blood thinning medications, such as warfarin and Xarelto, to reduce blood clotting.

The doctor might also recommend an ablation procedure, which is a minimally invasive type of surgery (using catheters) that destroys a small amount of heart tissue in order to cause the electrical impulses through the heart to take place normally.

Applying For Life Insurance When You Have Atrial Fibrillation

The best strategy on your part is to make sure that you are being proactive in managing your condition. That starts with adhering to any treatment therapies required. This includes regular monitoring by your doctor, and undergoing any procedures required (including testing), and taking any necessary medications.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also critical. This can include one or more of the following:

  • Eliminate smoking
  • Weight reduction, especially if you are obese
  • Reducing consumption of caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoiding other stimulants, including certain cold and cough medications
  • Avoiding activities that increase the occurrence of A fib
  • Maintaining a healthy cholesterol level
  • Treating hypertension

The basic idea is to be sure that you are doing everything you can to control the condition. It also includes finding ways to reduce stress levels, which has also been connected with the incidence of A fib.

When completing your life insurance application, it’s also important to be completely truthful. You need to fully recount your medical history. That will include various episodes of A fib, procedures and medications taken, and various determinations made as a result of testing.

The Right Life Insurance Company Can Make All the Difference

Once you’ve done all that you can on your own, it will come down to your choice of life insurance companies. You should know that some companies take more positive view of applicants who have A fib. At the same time, other insurance companies might reject your application automatically, or charge a premium that you can’t possibly afford.

Knowing which companies are the best to apply to is critical. Unless you work in the life insurance industry, you probably have no idea who these companies are.

We do. Give us a call, and let us guide you through the life insurance application process. We know who the companies are that are most likely to approve your application, and to do so at the lowest possible premium rate.