How to Buy Life Insurance after a Diagnosis of Bundle Branch Block

Written by Ty Stewart - Last Updated March 6, 2018

Is it possible to buy life insurance after a diagnosis of bundle branch block?

Yes.

But knowing where and how to apply is the key to getting approved.  Here we explain how you can buy affordable life insurance when you have this preexisting condition.

Where Should I Apply When I Have Bundle Branch Block?

All life insurance companies have different underwriting guidelines, but some are more lenient than others.  We’ve helped many people with Bundle Branch Block because we know who will view your condition most favorably.

Underwriters will require detailed information about your health history, medical status, and how controlled your symptoms are.

They’ll use this information to judge the risk of your condition by determining what the underlying cause of your illness is, and what type of Bundle Branch Block you have.

We won’t know where to apply until we discuss your medical information and determine your current health situation.

life insurance underwriting for people diagnosed with BBB

How Life Insurance Companies View Bundle Branch Block

What is Bundle Branch Block (BBB)?

“Bundle branch block is a condition in which there’s a delay or obstruction along the pathway that electrical impulses travel to make your heart beat,” according to the Mayo Clinic.  It is different than coronary artery disease, which affects the heart’s blood vessels.

BBB is an uncommon condition usually diagnosed after being noticed on an echocardiogram.  It is more prevalent in men than women, and the risk factor goes up after age 50.  Some people are asymptomatic, however, others suffer debilitating symptoms. For most, BBB requires no treatment yet in some cases medication is used to control symptoms.  At times, corrective surgery is required, such as angioplasty or the insertion of a pacemaker.

BBB can block or delay the electrical impulses going to the left or right side of the bottom chambers of the heart.  It can cause the heart to beat abnormally, make it harder to pump blood, and rob vital organs of oxygen.  The most serious heart blocks can cause a cardiac arrest.

When BBB affects the left chamber, it’s called Left Bundle Branch Block (LBBB).  When it affects the right chamber, it’s called Right Bundle Branch Block (RBBB).

Most cases of RBBB are caused by heart attack, myocarditis, high blood pressure, pulmonary embolism, or congenital defect.  LBBB is often caused by heart disease, cardiomyopathy, virus or bacterial infection, myocarditis, and high blood pressure.

Due to the possibility of serious underlying health problems and the potential complications of BBB, underwriters look at this medical condition with great concern.  One of the first things they’ll want to determine is what type of BBB you have.

Types of BBB

The three types of Bundle Branch Block are:

  1. First-degree heart block: Least serious.  Causes minor beat interruptions.  Usually does not require treatment.
  2. Second-degree heart block: Impulses fail to reach the heart causing skipped beats.  The patient may require a pacemaker.
  3. Third-degree heart block: Most serious. Patient requires a pacemaker to prevent a heart attack.

When you apply for insurance, you’ll need to be prepared to provide detailed health information in order to receive an accurate rate quote, including:

  • Age
  • Date of onset
  • Any changes to your EKG or ECG
  • What the underlying cause of your condition is
  • What treatment/s you’ve had
  • What your overall health is like
  • If you’ve been hospitalized
  • If you’ve had any surgery or plan to
  • What tests you’ve had (EKG, ECG, ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, etc)
  • List of medications
  • Height/weight
  • Lifestyle habits (do you drink, smoke, exercise)
  • All other medical conditions
  • Name of physician/s

You’ll be asked if you have:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital defect
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Recent heart attack
  • Pacemaker
  • Bacterial or viral infection

Don’t worry if you can’t remember all the details of your health information.  The underwriters will find it when they review your medical records, however, it’s important to be as forthright as possible.

You’ll also be required to disclose all of your current symptoms.  For example, do you have chest pain or dizziness?  This is the time to explain if your symptoms have resolved, such as after receiving a pacemaker or getting your blood pressure under control.

Common symptoms of Bundle Branch Block include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Palpitations
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Struggle to exercise
  • Cardiac arrest

How Much will Life Insurance Cost if I have Bundle Branch Block?

The type of BBB you have and your current medical situation will determine what rate class you’ll be assigned to.  The rate class assigned will ultimately determine how much you’ll pay for insurance.

The typical rate classes are:

The best or Preferred rates:  Not possible

Standard Plus:  Depends on the underlying health condition

Standard:  BBB with no known heart disease or changes in ECG

Table Rating (Substandard):  Third-degree, total heart block

If you are over 50 and looking for ‘no exam’ or ‘guaranteed issue’ life insurance, there are a limited number of companies who do provide Whole life coverage in limited amounts.  If you want term life, you’ll have no choice but to undergo a health exam.

There are many variables when it comes to coverage and rates.  For example, if your BBB has been stable more than six years and your recent tests are normal, underwriters will look at your condition more favorably than someone with changes to their ECG.

The bottom line….

All life insurance companies view BBB differently.  Finding the one that views your risk most favorably is the most important tactic to prevent denials and sky-high premiums.

We specialize in helping people find the best company for their individual needs.  We’d love to help you too.  There is no charge for our service.  To get started or ask a question, please feel free to contact us today.

About Ty Stewart
Ty Stewart is the founder of SimpleLifeInsure. He is an independent life insurance agent that works for his clients nationwide to secure affordable coverage while making the process simple. There is never any cost to use his services.

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