Some of the potential clients we speak with mistakenly believe that they can no longer qualify for affordable life insurance if they have been diagnosed mitral valve stenosis.
While this may be the case when applying with certain life insurance companies, there are a handful of top-rated life insurance carriers who will offer affordable policies to applicants even if they have mitral valve stenosis.
In this article, we’ll provide a brief overview of how life insurance providers evaluate mitral valve stenosis and tips to obtain affordable coverage.
Quick Article Guide:
- What Is Mitral Valve Stenosis and What Are the Most Common Causes?
- What Do Insurance Companies Consider When Approving Applicants With MVS?
- How We Can Help You Find the Best Life Insurance Options Available
Mitral Valve Stenosis, also referred to as MVS, is the narrowing of the mitral valve opening within the heart. When mitral valve stenosis is present, the blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle is reduced. This reduction of blood flow can cause a variety of symptoms including; tiredness, lack of energy, and shortness of breath. These symptoms are due to a decreased amount of oxygenated blood traveling from the lungs and throughout the rest of the body.
Life insurance underwriters are normally very cautious when reviewing applicants who have been diagnosed with mitral valve stenosis because MVS can lead to heart failure, stroke, arrhythmia, and endocarditis (an infection of the heart). In addition, the blood that is trapped in the left atrium can build up pressure and eventually cause the left atrium to become enlarged. Over time, the enlargement of the left atrium often results in fluid being built up in the lungs causing additional symptoms like chest pain, coughing, and fainting.
MVS normally develops early in a person’s life, but most people do not experience any symptoms for many years. According to heart.org, “Mitral stenosis almost always results from rheumatic fever, a childhood illness that occurs after untreated strep throat or scarlet fever.” Luckily, rheumatic fever is rare in developed countries such as the United States due to the effectiveness of our antibiotics. Another common cause of MVS is calcium deposits that can build up over time around the mitral valve ring in older adults.
In most cases, doctors will diagnose the disorder with an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, or a chest X-ray. These tests will also help the doctor determine the severity of your mitral valve stenosis as well as what caused it.
Every life insurance company evaluates applicants with mitral valve stenosis differently, and some insurance companies are more lenient than others. When applying for life insurance, an experienced agent will ask you some questions about your condition to make sure you apply with the best company available for your specific situation. Applying with the right company can save you a considerable amount of money on your coverage and prevent your application from being declined.
Here are some questions your agent will likely ask you to find your best options for affordable coverage:
When were you diagnosed with mitral valve stenosis?
While mitral valve stenosis is normally a condition that develops early in a person’s life, the later you experience symptoms, the better. This is because mitral stenosis is considered to be a progressive disease and symptoms tend to get worse over time.
Most applicants aged 30 to 59 with mitral valve stenosis will generally receive mild to moderate substandard ratings. For applicants age 60 or older with slight to mild MVS, standard rates may be possible with a handful of insurance companies. However, if you’re under the age of 30 and have been diagnosed with MVS, you may be looking at a severe substandard rating or a denial of coverage.
Do you get regular checkups with your primary care doctor or cardiologist?
Life insurance carriers and underwriters like to see that you’re doing your part to control your condition. This means getting routine checkups with your physician and/or cardiologist as well as yearly echocardiograms to see if there are any noticeable changes in your heart’s rhythm or function.
Are you currently taking medications to help control your mitral stenosis?
Unfortunately, medications cannot resolve a heart valve issue, but in many cases doctors will prescribe diuretics, blood thinners, and anti-arrhythmia drugs to help alleviate some of the symptoms. When shopping for life insurance, make sure you have a list of the medications you are currently prescribed. This information will help your agent determine your best options for coverage.
Has your mitral valve stenosis been classified as slight, mild, moderate, or severe?
When you are diagnosed with MVS, your doctor or cardiologists will likely classify your condition as slight, mild, moderate, or severe. Life insurance companies are the most lenient with applicants who have slight or mild MVS. Many cases of moderate or severe mitral stenosis require surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve. We’ll explain these surgeries below.
Has your mitral valves stenosis required surgery?
Moderate to severe cases of mitral valve stenosis often require surgery to repair or replace the patient’s mitral valve. With mitral valve replacement surgery, your cardiologist will recommend a mechanical valve replacement or a tissue valve replacement. Both of these surgeries have pros and cons in the eyes of an insurance underwriter, however.
Artificial heart valves last longer, but you’ll likely need to be placed on blood thinners such as Plavix, Warfarin, or Coumadin, indefinitely. This is due to the fact that artificial heart valves have a higher risk of causing blood clots that may cause strokes or heart attacks. A replacement heart valve made of tissue has a lower chance of causing blood clots, but these valves usually have to be replaced every 10 to 20 years, and heart surgery carries its own set of risks.
In general, mitral valve repair is usually viewed more favorably by the life insurance carriers than mitral valve replacement, but again most of these repairs are not permanent.
Do you have any other health risk factors?
If you have any other minor or serious health conditions, it’s important to let your agent know about them. Minor health conditions like being overweight, or taking a blood pressure or cholesterol medication shouldn’t have an impact on your insurability or your rates. However, more serious health issues like diabetes or COPD can greatly affect your rates and options for insurance. Giving this information to your agent upfront will greatly reduce your chances of applying with a company that will likely decline your application.
Have you made any lifestyle changes to help improve your condition?
Smoking and heart conditions go together like oil and water. Tobacco use has been proven to harden the arteries over time, and it is also linked to heart disease. If you have any heart valve issues, it’s very important to stop smoking immediately. If you have been diagnosed with mitral valve stenosis and still smoke, your application will most likely get declined, or you’ll have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for your policy.
On the other hand, if you follow your doctor’s advice and quit smoking, limit your alcohol intake, start an exercise regimen (those with moderate to severe stenosis should consult their doctor before doing so), maintain a healthy weight, and eat a heart-healthy diet, you should let your agent know. The life insurance companies and their underwriters often provide some leniency for applicants that take their health seriously and have made improvements to their lifestyle.
While it’s always ideal to apply for life insurance when you’re still young and healthy, let’s face it, most of us don’t. Many people tend to put off buying insurance until a significant event happens and they realize that they truly need it. The good news is, we can help!
At Term Life Advice, our agents specialize in helping applicants that are considered a “high risk” to insurance companies. By working with more than 60 top-rated life insurance companies, we’re able to help our clients obtain the most affordable life insurance coverage available. We’re licensed to sell life insurance nationwide, and we offer our clients more than 60 years of collective experience.
Most importantly, our agents understand the need to provide financial protection to your loved ones if something were to happen to you. As an owner-operated agency, we’re large enough to serve, but small enough to care. We pride ourselves in providing our potential clients with a consultative approach to life insurance. Our experienced agents do not have lofty sales goals or monthly quotas to meet – our only goal is your satisfaction.
We take our time with every person we speak with to make sure they receive the information they need, and the best customer service in the industry. Give us a call today, toll-free at: 855-902-6494 and we will help you find an affordable life insurance policy that fits your needs. Or feel free to request a free quote online below to instantly compare rates from some of the highly-rated life insurance companies we proudly represent.