Doctors often check the calcification levels in your arteries as this helps predict your risk of heart disease.
They can use noninvasive tests like the Electron Beam CT (EBCT) and Multislice CT (MSCT) to determine your calcium scores.
If you’ve ever had one of these tests, insurance companies will be able to see the results and this will be a factor for your insurance rating.
To help you out, we’ve created this article to guide you through the life insurance process as an applicant with high calcium scores.
Life Insurance Underwriting for Calcium Scores
After you’ve had your calcium score tested, the life insurance agent will ask several questions about the results:
- When did you have your EBCT or MSCT?
- What was your total calcium artery score?
- Have you had any other heart tests like a stress test, stress echocardiogram and/or coronary angiogram? What were the results of these tests?
- Do you have any other risk factors for heart disease?
- Do you have any other serious health problems like cancer?
- Are you taking any prescriptions?
While there are no specific medications to treat your calcium levels, you could be taking various heart medications. All of the common prescriptions are not going to cause you to be declined.
Be sure to answer all the questions on your application truthfully with as much information as possible. Insurance underwriters get nervous when an application seems incomplete and might give a worse rating than you deserve.
Life Insurance Quotes for Calcium Scores
Doctors test your calcium score because this information is a good predictor of future heart problems. They have found that the higher your calcium score, the more likely your arteries will build plaque which could lead to blockages and heart problems. As a result, a higher calcium score is worse for your insurance rating.
Insurance companies also consider your age as they are more tolerant of higher calcium scores for older applicants. Every company has different categories, but here are the most common:
- Preferred Plus: Possible for an applicant that shows no sign of calcification or an applicant older than 35 with very little calcification, usually a CACS score lower than 10. Applicant should have no risk factors for heart disease.
- Preferred: Also possible for an applicant that shows no sign of calcification or an applicant older than 35 with very little calcification, a CACS score lower than 10. It’s a bit easier to get this rating than Preferred Plus. Applicants can have some minor issues like being overweight or high cholesterol.
- Standard: Applicants that are older than 35 and have low levels of calcium could also qualify for a standard rating. This would be CACS levels anywhere from 5 to 50. Older applicants have more leeway and could qualify for a standard rating with higher calcium levels. Applicants who are younger than 35 cannot show any signs of calcification.
- Table Rating (substandard): Applicants showing signs of calcification are most likely to get a rated policy. Applicants younger than 35 must have CACS levels lower than 10 to qualify for a rated policy. Applicants between 35 and 44 must have CACS levels lower than 400, applicants between 45 and 64 must have CACS levels below 1,000, and while there is no CACS limit for applicants older than 65. The lower your CACS levels, the better your rating will be. Your table rating will also depend on your other risk factors for heart disease and overall health.
- Declines: Applicants with CACS levels above the accepted limit for their age group will be denied a policy. Also, applicants with other heart issues or risk factors may also be denied as these problems combined with calcification could be too much for an insurance company to accept the risk.
Calcium Score Life Insurance Case Studies
Each person is different, and everyone has different health situations. To give you a rough idea of what you can expect, here are some examples of clients we’ve worked with in the past.
Case Study 1: Male, 38 y/o, non-smoker, test for low levels of calcium at 34, was denied for coverage.
He had calcium levels of 34, and CACS of 11. When he applied after his test, he was declined. He assumed he wouldn’t be able to get life insurance.
After talking to us, he realized that he just applied too young given his calcium levels. Now that he was in a different age category, his chances were better. We also referred him to a company that regularly handles applicants with high calcium levels and was more accepting of this risk factor. By trying again this time, the applicant received a rated policy.
Case Study #2: Female, 58. Diagnosed with CACS of 500 at 54, former smoker and used to be overweight, now taking medication for cholesterol and high blood pressure.
For years, she was in poor health. She was overweight, smoked, and wasn’t treating her high cholesterol and blood pressure. After an EBCT showed that her calcium levels were quite high, she decided to improve her lifestyle. She lost weight, quit smoking, and started taking the medications and this made a big difference for her health.
After she made those changes, she applied again, assume she would get an excellent rate. However, she applied but was rejected. Even though this applicant had an acceptable calcium score for her age group. We knew the insurance company must be too focused on her past health.
All she had to do was get a statement from her physician which showed her improved lifestyle and better health. After that, she got a rated policy. Easy as that.
Life Insurance with High Calcium Score
If you have a high calcium score, then you’re going to get a higher rating category. Before you apply, you should do some of the work we mention above, like improving your health.
Aside from improving your health, the best way to secure cheap coverage is to compare carriers. Each company will offer different rate classes to applicants with higher calcium scores. You want to find the best company, obviously, but how do you find it?