There is much unknown after getting an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), especially if it was due to an incident that came on suddenly.
After serious health events, it is common to look through the lens of life a little differently. You could be contemplating what’s next, what’s next in terms of health, family, finances, etc.
One thing that is not always considered is the cost associated with funeral expenses and the ability to qualify for coverage with the best burial insurance companies.
Can I Get Burial Insurance With A Defibrillator?
After your defibrillator implant procedure, it is still possible to get affordable burial coverage. The main thing that will affect your ability to qualify for a policy is how long you have had the implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Other pre-existing conditions will also play a role in policy acceptance.
Burial coverage is also known as funeral insurance and final expense insurance. This was designed to create financial protection for seniors when planning their funeral expenses and other final costs.
The average funeral cost in the United States is $7,643 for a burial and $6,280 for cremation. This is where final expense life insurance steps in.
Underwriting: Why A Defibrillator Matters For Funeral Insurance Coverage
Having an ICD does not change the underlying condition that led to the implantation. It is simply to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest.
While defibrillators have been proven to save lives, the fact that you have a pre-existing and potentially life-threatening condition is a major factor for life insurance companies.
Most burial insurance companies will request access to your medical records and prescription history to confirm the answers that you gave on the application were true and accurate.
3 Ways Burial Life Insurance Companies Ask About a Defibrillator
Nearly every company will ask about an ICD on an application for final expense insurance coverage. Sometimes it will not list it out specifically but will instead ask about a circulatory or heart surgery, or medical procedure. If this is the case, a defibrillator implant will fall into this category.
“Have you ever had a defibrillator implant?”
This question would either disqualify you for coverage or place you into a more restricted plan if you have ever had an ICD. You will want to avoid applying with a company that asks about it in this way.
“In the last X years, have you had or been advised to have an ICD?”
Typically the time frame is 12- 24 months. However, some companies look back into health history 5 years. By asking about your implantable cardioverter-defibrillator in this way, it allows for some flexibility.
If you have had your defibrillator for several years, you will be able to qualify for coverage as though you do not have one. As long as you can favorably answer the other health questions, you could be able to get one of the best policies on the market.
The application won’t ask at all.
The application would ideally not ask about having an ICD at all. This way, you do not have to worry about how long you have had it for.
However, a defibrillator implant is a standard question on most applications, so be prepared. It will most likely ask about your pre-existing condition as well.
Plans Based on Your Answers to the Medical Questions
Acceptance for most insurance policies depends on when you received your implant and any other health concerns you have.
Immediate Coverage & Low Price
You may qualify for the best plan a company offers with no waiting period and their lowest available prices. This is usually the case if it has been over 2 years since the implant procedure.
This is known as level coverage and is the premium plan option if you can qualify. Level plans often have two subcategories.
Preferred: This has the most strict underwriting and the lowest cost. If over 2-years since the implant, you can qualify with several companies, such as Mutual of Omaha Living Promise.
Standard: With slightly more lenient qualifying criteria, a standard policy is a little more expensive than preferred. If it has been over 12 months, but less than 24 months since your procedure, there are a few life insurance companies that will accept you. CVS/Aetna is a great option if it has been between 1 – 2 years.
Waiting Period & Higher Prices
Two years is the typical amount of time when there is a waiting period imposed. Several companies offer these plans, including graded, modified, and guaranteed issue policies.
Graded, modified, and guaranteed issue plans all have a waiting period. You must understand the payout structure during this time because some are more favorable than others.
A true graded policy has a progressive payout structure if death occurs during the waiting period. Commonly it is 30%, 70%, and 100% of the death benefit amount in years one, two, and beyond, respectively.
Modified and guaranteed issue plans return the paid premiums plus interest to the beneficiary.
Guaranteed issue plans ask no health questions and are a good coverage option if it has been less than 12 months. AIG Life Insurance provides great low rates.
How To Find The Best Burial Insurance Policy With A Defibrillator
As mentioned, the biggest thing that will determine your eligibility for funeral insurance with a defibrillator is the amount of time that has passed since its insertion.
3 Things to Look For in a Policy
The following items are foundational when getting burial life insurance.
Financial Rating: A company with a high financial rating will show that it will be around for many years to come and will be able to pay your claim when due.
Prices: Getting the lowest price for coverage is important as not all companies charge the same rate.
Beginning of Full Coverage: If possible, get immediate coverage. If your defibrillator surgery was recent, go with a low-cost and highly rated guaranteed issue policy.
How to Purchase: Captive vs. Independent Insurance Agent
Both agents can provide you with final expense insurance coverage. However, what sets these two apart is their access to insurance policies.
Captive: This type of agent can only sell products from the one company they represent. Since they represent limited policies, they may have strict underwriting or higher prices. Especially with a defibrillator, they might steer you towards a guaranteed acceptance policy even if it has been a decade since the procedure.
Independent: These agents represent several companies allowing them to find the best plans for their clients. Essentially they can shop around on behalf of their clients to bring the best rates. This saves the consumer time and money.
Understanding Final Expense Insurance Coverage
This coverage is a type of permanent whole life insurance that never expires. As the name suggests, it lasts for the entire life of the insured. This is much different than a term life policy that terminates coverage at a specified time.
Since it is a whole life insurance policy, there are basic features that coverage comes with.
Whole Life Insurance Policy Basics
No Expiration: These policies are permanent and last for the entire life of the insured. As long as you continue to pay the monthly premiums, the policy will always provide financial protection.
Coverage Lock: The death benefit amount never changes. Having a locked-in amount of coverage allows for easy planning of funeral costs.
Price Lock: The burial insurance cost never fluctuates, so seniors on a budget can prepare accordingly for their monthly expenses.
Builds Cash Value: This acts as a living benefit and allows you to access some of the money during your lifetime. With each premium made, a portion goes into the cash value account. This amount accumulates over time and can be borrowed from with a low, predetermined interest rate.
Funeral Insurance Features
There are specific benefits that make burial coverage worth it for millions of Americans.
Affordability: These plans have a low cost because of the smaller death benefit amounts that are available. Traditional whole life policies provide protection over $50,000, while funeral insurance comes in $2,000 – $40,000. The less coverage you get, the lower the monthly cost will be.
No Medical Exam: Burial insurance plans are “simplified issue,” meaning they go through a simple underwriting process. This is why there are no medical exams required with any policies of this type.
No Denial: Applicants need to qualify to receive immediate coverage. If the defibrillator implant was recent, there could be a waiting period enforced.
Final Thoughts On Burial Insurance With ICD
a. Seniors can get burial insurance with a defibrillator implant. The insurance companies are going to look for the amount of time it has been since the procedure.
b. If it has been over 2 years since your procedure, more plan options will be available to you. If the surgery was 12-24 months ago, opportunities will be limited, but no waiting period options are available. Implant within the last year will have a waiting period imposed.
c. It is important to work with an independent agency as they will best assist in finding a plan suited for your unique situation, especially since a defibrillator is often placed due to major pre-existing conditions—overall health matters when applying for final expense insurance coverage.