Life Insurance for Patients with Pulmonary Hypertension
Talk to one of our experienced advisors, today!
15 Minute read
Originally published: May 10, 2023
Life Insurance for Patients with Pulmonary Hypertension
Talk to one of our experienced advisors today!
15 Minute read
Originally published: May 10, 2023
Embarking on the journey to find life insurance can be an overwhelming task, particularly for those living with Pulmonary Hypertension (PH). Nevertheless, obtaining life insurance coverage is essential for safeguarding your family’s financial well-being in the face of uncertainty. In this blog, we’ll explore the challenges, options, and strategies to help individuals with PH successfully secure the right life insurance policy.
In this article:
- Overview of Pulmonary Hypertension
- Can I get Life Insurance with Pulmonary Hypertension?
- Case Study: Securing Life Insurance for Kieran, a 47-year-old with Pulmonary Hypertension
- Why Life Insurance is Important for Individuals With Pulmonary Hypertension
- Life Insurance Challenges for Individuals with Pulmonary Hypertension
- Options for Choosing a Suitable Life Insurance Policy for Individuals with Pulmonary Hypertension
- Tips and Key Factors to Improve Your Chances of Obtaining Life Insurance with Pulmonary Hypertension
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance with Pulmonary Hypertension
Overview of Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension is defined as high blood pressure inside the pulmonary arteries, which are the vessels that deliver blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs.
Having damage to the right side of the heart muscle makes it less effective in pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body, making it a dangerous medical problem.
- Exhaustion and shortness of breath
- Feeling weak or lightheaded
Pulmonary hypertension can lead to heart failure, which occurs when the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood throughout the body, if it is left untreated,
Risk Factors for Pulmonary Hypertension
- Pulmonary hypertension affects individuals of all ages, including infants, and its prevalence rises with age.
- Pulmonary hypertension is more prevalent in women, non-Hispanic, black people, and people over 75 years.
How is Pulmonary Hypertension Diagnosed and Treated?
Early-stage pulmonary hypertension is difficult to detect through a routine physical examination. After two or three years, the symptoms may become severe enough to be observed.
Pulmonary hypertension is typically diagnosed with an echocardiogram, which is a cardiac ultrasound examination. The echocardiogram can estimate the pulmonary artery pressure and measures the size and shape of the heart using sound waves to generate an image of the heart.
Typically, secondary pulmonary hypertension is treated by addressing its underlying cause. For instance, if hypertension is caused by a blood clot or pulmonary embolism, the clot may need to be surgically removed.
Several treatments are used to manage primary pulmonary hypertension, but they do not cure the condition. These include:
- Calcium channel-blocking medications. These help the heart function more efficiently by relaxing the muscles in the blood vessel walls.
- ERAs or endothelin receptor antagonists. These medications reverse the effects of endothelin, a substance that induces constriction in blood vessels.
- Continuously infused epoprostenol. This medication dilates and reverses the thickening of lung blood vessels and prevents platelets from clotting blood. It must be continually administered via an implanted catheter and a portable, battery-powered pump. Because the drug has a half-life of less than six minutes, it must be perpetually infused into the bloodstream.
- Anticoagulants. These medications prevent blood from clotting, which improves blood flow.
- Diuretics. Prescribed to reduce fluid retention, which causes the heart to function harder.
- Digoxin. This medication can improve the pumping of the right side of the heart.
- Changes in lifestyle. Rest, a nutritious diet, physical activity, and stress reduction can all help to control the disease. Individuals with pulmonary hypertension should avoid smoking, pregnancy, contraceptives, and high altitudes.
- Supplemental oxygen. This is administered to patients with insufficient blood oxygen levels.
- Lung or heart-lung transplantation. Patients with severe pulmonary hypertension and an exceedingly poor quality of life undergo these procedures. This is the method of last resort.
Can I get Life Insurance with Pulmonary Hypertension?
Yes, If you have Pulmonary Hypertension (PH), you can still qualify for life insurance. However, due to the higher risk associated with the condition, securing coverage may be more difficult. People with PH may face stricter underwriting requirements or higher premiums from insurance companies. Seeking the advice of a life insurance agent may be a good idea to help you navigate the process and answer any questions you have.
Case Study: Securing Life Insurance for Kieran, a 47-year-old with Pulmonary Hypertension
Background: Kieran, a 47-year-old lawyer, was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) five years ago. He is married with two young children and is the primary breadwinner for his family. Kieran realized the importance of life insurance to protect his family’s financial future and decided to explore his options.
Challenges: Kieran faced several challenges in his quest for life insurance due to his PH diagnosis.
- Limited options from traditional insurance providers, as many considered him high-risk.
- Higher premiums due to his PH diagnosis and associated risks.
- An extensive medical underwriting process, which required a thorough review of his medical records and history.
Approach: Kieran took the following steps to find suitable life insurance coverage:
- Consulted with his doctor to ensure he was following the best possible treatment plan and managing his PH effectively.
- Maintained a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising within his doctor’s recommendations, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Worked closely with an insurance broker experienced in helping clients with pre-existing conditions to navigate the process and find suitable providers.
- Explored various policy options, including term life insurance, guaranteed issue life insurance, and no medical exam life insurance.
- Gathered comprehensive medical records to demonstrate his commitment to managing his condition.
Outcome: After researching multiple providers and consulting with his insurance broker, Kieran was able to secure a term life insurance policy with a provider that specialized in high-risk clients. The policy offered a 20-year term with coverage that would provide his family with the financial protection they needed in the event of his death.
Although the premiums were higher than those for a healthy individual, Kieran felt that the peace of mind provided by the policy was worth the additional cost. By being proactive about his health, working closely with his broker, and exploring various policy options, Kieran was able to secure life insurance coverage that met his family’s needs and provided him with a sense of security.
Why Life Insurance is Important for Individuals With Pulmonary Hypertension
- Financial stability for dependents: Due to potential medical expenses, loss of income, and other related costs, Pulmonary Hypertension can place a strain on a person’s finances. Life insurance provides financial protection for the policyholder’s dependents in the event of the policyholder’s death. This guarantees that the beneficiaries will receive a death benefit sufficient to cover any outstanding debts, mortgage payments, and other living expenses.
- Funeral and final costs: The cost of a funeral and burial can be substantial, adding to the financial burden on the family of a person with PH. Life insurance can help cover these costs, alleviating the financial burden on family members during a difficult time.
- Income replacement: If the person with PH is the primary source of income for their family, death may result in a loss of income for their dependents. Life insurance can serve as a source of income replacement, ensuring that the family’s standard of living is maintained even after the death of the primary breadwinner.
- Medical debt and ongoing care: Individuals with PH frequently incur substantial medical expenses due to treatments, medications, and long-term care. In some instances, medical debt can become a burden on a deceased individual’s family. A life insurance policy can assist in covering these expenses, thereby preventing the family from experiencing financial hardship due to unpaid medical bills.
- Estate planning and inheritance: For individuals with PH, life insurance can be a crucial component of estate planning. It enables the policyholder to leave their beneficiaries a tax-free inheritance, ensuring their loved ones’ financial security in the future.
- Peace of mind: Knowing that one’s family will be financially protected in the event of one’s death can provide individuals with PH with peace of mind. Life insurance can alleviate some of the stress and anxiety associated with future uncertainty, allowing the policyholder to concentrate on managing their health and spending time with loved ones.
Life Insurance Challenges for Individuals with Pulmonary Hypertension
Challenges in getting life insurance with PH:
- Higher perceived risk: The risk profile of an applicant determines the premiums and eligibility for coverage by life insurance companies. Individuals with PH are frequently regarded as high-risk due to the condition’s potential influence on life expectancy. As a result, they may confront difficulties obtaining coverage or be charged higher premiums.
- Medical underwriting process: Applicants for life insurance are generally subjected to a medical underwriting process. This procedure includes reviewing medical records, performing a physical exam, and evaluating the applicant’s PH severity. The underwriting process may be more complex for those with PH, which may result in coverage delays or denials.
- Severity and progression of PH: The severity and progression of PH can have a significant impact on a person’s eligibility for life insurance. Those with a more advanced or quickly progressing form of PH may have a more difficult time obtaining coverage, as insurers may view them as a greater risk for complications of premature death.
- Co-existing medical conditions: Patients with PH may also have cardiac disease, lung disease, or autoimmune disease. These co-existing conditions can increase the applicant’s risk profile in the minds of the insurer, thereby making it more difficult to obtain life insurance.
- Age and lifestyle factors: Age and lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity, can also impact the application process for life insurance for those with PH. If they increase the perceived risk associated with the applicant’s health, these factors may result in higher premiums or denial of coverage.
- Lack of awareness and understanding: It is possible that some insurance providers are unfamiliar with PH or aren’t entirely aware of the condition’s implications. This lack of awareness can make it more difficult for people with PH to locate an insurer who recognises the condition’s nuances and is willing to provide appropriate coverage.
Options for Choosing a Suitable Life Insurance Policy for Individuals with Pulmonary Hypertension
- Term life insurance: Term life insurance provides coverage for a specified period, typically ranging from 10 to 30 years. If the policyholder dies during the term, the death benefit is paid out to the beneficiaries. This type of policy can be suitable for individuals with PH due to its affordability and flexibility. However, the coverage may not be guaranteed if the policyholder outlives the term.
- Guaranteed issue life insurance: Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of policy that does not require medical underwriting, meaning applicants with PH are not subjected to a detailed medical examination or review of their health records. This policy can be beneficial for individuals with PH who have been denied coverage elsewhere. However, guaranteed issue policies often have lower coverage limits and higher premiums compared to other life insurance options.
- No medical exam life insurance: Similar to guaranteed issue policies, no medical exam life insurance policies do not require a medical examination, but they may still involve some medical questions. These policies can be an option for individuals with PH who want to avoid the extensive underwriting process. However, like guaranteed issue policies, they often come with higher premiums and lower coverage limits.
- Graded benefit life insurance: Graded benefit life insurance policies have a waiting period (usually 2-3 years) before the full death benefit becomes available. If the policyholder dies during the waiting period, the beneficiaries receive a partial or graded benefit, often equal to the premiums paid plus interest. These policies may be suitable for individuals with PH who are unable to secure traditional coverage, but they should be aware of the waiting period and potential limitations.
- Group life insurance through employers: Some employers offer group life insurance as part of their employee benefits package. These policies often provide coverage without requiring a medical exam or extensive underwriting. Individuals with PH may benefit from these policies, as they can secure coverage without the challenges associated with individual policies. However, coverage may be limited, and individuals may lose the policy if they change jobs.
- Final expense insurance: Final expense insurance is a type of permanent life insurance designed to cover end-of-life expenses, such as funeral and burial costs. This policy can be beneficial for individuals with PH who want to ensure their loved ones are not burdened with these expenses. Final expense policies typically have more relaxed underwriting guidelines, making them more accessible for those with pre-existing conditions.
Tips and Key Factors to Improve Your Chances of Obtaining Life Insurance with Pulmonary Hypertension
Life insurance tips for those with PH:
- Maintain good overall health: Follow a balanced diet, exercise routinely (within your doctor’s recommendations), and avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption to improve and maintain your overall health. Good health can positively impact your risk profile, increasing the likelihood that insurers will approve your application.
- Seek medical advice and adhere to prescribed treatment plans: Consult your physician frequently, adhere to prescribed treatment plans, and effectively manage your PH. Increase your chances of obtaining life insurance by demonstrating that you are proactively treating your condition and adhering to medical recommendations.
- Collect extensive medical records: Create comprehensive medical records detailing your diagnosis, treatment history, and any improvements or stabilisation of your condition. Insurers can gain a better understanding of your situation if you keep accurate and thorough documents, which may result in a more favourable evaluation.
- Research and evaluate multiple providers: not all life insurance companies have the same underwriting guidelines or risk assessments. Investigate a variety of insurers, including those specialising in high-risk clients or pre-existing conditions, and compare their policies to determine which one best meets your needs.
- Consider collaborating with a broker or life insurance agent: An experienced insurance agent or broker can provide invaluable guidance and assistance in locating appropriate life insurance coverage. They can guide you through the application process, recommend suitable policy options, and negotiate with insurers on your behalf.
- Be truthful and open in your application: On your application, provide accurate and truthful information about your PH and any other health-related issues. Withholding or misrepresenting information can result in coverage denial or the termination of an existing policy.
Insurers may consider the following factors when evaluating applicants with PH:
- Severity and stage of PH: Insurers will evaluate the severity and stage of your PH to determine how it will affect your life expectancy and overall risk profile. Applicants with milder forms of PH may have a higher likelihood of obtaining coverage than those with more advanced stages.
- Co-existing medical conditions: Additional health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, or other chronic conditions, can affect an applicant’s risk profile. These coexisting conditions are taken into account by insurers when determining an applicant’s overall health status and prospective life expectancy.
- Age and lifestyle factors: Applicants’ age and lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and weight can play a role in the evaluation process of insurers. These variables may impact an applicant’s eligibility for coverage and premium rates by contributing to the overall risk assessment.
- Compliance with treatment plans: By examining the applicant’s treatment history and adherence to prescribed medications or therapies, insurers can evaluate the applicant’s ability to manage their PH. Effectively managing your condition can have a positive impact on your insurer’s evaluation.
- Overall well-being and health: The applicant’s general health, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and exercise practises, can also influence an insurer’s evaluation. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can increase your prospects of obtaining life insurance.
It can be difficult for individuals with Pulmonary Hypertension to navigate the world of life insurance, but it is possible to find coverage that meets your needs. You can secure the financial protection you and your loved ones need by understanding the importance of life insurance for those with PH, investigating various policy options, and following tips to increase your chances of approval. During the application process, remember to consult with insurance brokers or agents, research multiple providers, and maintain transparency. Finding the correct life insurance policy will ultimately provide peace of mind, knowing that your family’s financial future is secure despite uncertainty.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance with Pulmonary Hypertension
Yes, life insurance can be obtained with PH. You may encounter obstacles during the application process and may need to investigate specialised insurance providers, high-risk policies, or employer-sponsored group insurance.
Due to the increased risk associated with the condition, your PH diagnosis may result in higher insurance premiums. The severity of your PH, your overall health, and your lifestyle choices can also affect your premiums.
Yes, there are life insurance policies available that do not require a medical exam, such as guaranteed issue or no medical exam life insurance policies. However, these options often come with higher premiums and lower coverage limits compared to traditional life insurance policies.
Depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy, you may be able to add additional coverage or riders to your life insurance policy, such as disability income or accelerated death benefit riders. However, eligibility for these options may vary based on your PH diagnosis and overall risk profile.
The best life insurance policy for someone with PH depends on their unique circumstances and needs. Options such as term life insurance, guaranteed issue life insurance, no medical exam life insurance, and group life insurance through employers may be suitable for different individuals. It’s essential to research and compare various policies and consult with an insurance broker or agent to find the best fit for your needs.
To increase your chances of getting approved, maintain good overall health, follow your doctor’s advice and treatment plans, gather comprehensive medical records, research and compare multiple insurance providers, work with an insurance broker or agent, and be honest and transparent in your application.
While it is possible to be denied life insurance coverage due to your PH diagnosis, there are still options available to secure coverage, such as working with specialized insurance providers or exploring policies like guaranteed issue life insurance or group life insurance through your employer.
Find a solution for what you’re looking for
Individuals with Pulmonary Hypertension can overcome the challenges of obtaining life insurance by exploring various policy options, maintaining good overall health, and seeking professional guidance. At Protect Your Wealth, we work with and compare policies and quotes from the best life insurance companies in Canada to ensure the best solution for you and your needs. We provide expert life insurance solutions, including no medical life insurance, critical illness insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance to build the best package to give you the protection you need.
To schedule a consultation about your income protection goals, or if you have any questions about insurance in Ontario or Canada, please contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta including areas such as Kitchener, Brampton, Grande Prairie, and Nanaimo.
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