Can I Still Get a Medicare Supplement If I Have Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)?
If you have Atrial Fibrillation, commonly referred to as AFib, you may want to know if you’re still able to get a Medicare Supplement.
Rest assured – even if you have AFib, there are going to be times when you can get a Medicare Supplement without having to answer any health questions at all. However, if you miss that window or want to switch plans later on, you will have to pass medical underwriting.
So, if you have Atrial Fibrillation, will you be approved for a Medicare Supplement?
What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)?
Atrial Fibrillation is a heart condition in which the heart’s upper chambers beat out of sync with the lower chambers. The result of this is that your heart beats irregularly, and it can cause poor blood flow. Doctors also sometimes refer to AFib as a heart arrhythmia.
Individuals with AFib can experience heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Over time, those with AFib are more likely to have heart failure due to the lack of blood flow and an increase in blood clots.
More than 2 million Americans have AFib, and it’s most common in individuals over the age of 60.
The most common treatment for those with AFib include medications like beta-blockers, potassium channel blockers, and blood thinners. More extreme measures include medical procedures or a pacemaker.
Lifestyle choices that can help protect your heart from AFib include eating healthier foods, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and caffeine intake, and exercising more.
How Do Insurance Companies Look at Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)?
When insurance companies look at medical conditions, their goal is to evaluate how risky that condition will be to their bottom line. How much money could they end up spending on medical claims because you have AFib?
The biggest risk when it comes to AFib is future heart failure. According to a study done in 2013, total direct costs for heart failure were $175.6 billion.
That’s quite a big burden, and the insurance companies have to take this into consideration when looking at individuals with AFib.
Additionally, the cost of AFib itself can be quite high when you consider inpatient hospital stays, outpatient medical costs, and outpatient pharmacy costs. Recent estimates for the cost of AFib range between $6-$26 billion nationwide. That averages to about $8,705 per patient.
That explains why many insurance companies don’t want to insure individuals with Atrial Fibrillation.
Getting a Medigap Plan with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Without Passing Health Questions
If you have Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), know that there are two circumstances in which you can get a Medicare Supplement without having to pass health questions. These are called open enrollment and Guaranteed Issue (GI).
Open enrollment is when you’ve signed up for Medicare Part B for the first time. Guaranteed Issue (GI) is a special situation when you've lost your current coverage.
So, if you qualify for open enrollment or Guaranteed Issue (or both at the same time), you don’t have to pass medical underwriting at all. This is a surefire way to get a Medicare Supplement if you have AFib.
How Does Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Affect My Medicare Supplement Eligibility?
There will be circumstances in which you will need to pass medical underwriting. For example, if you miss open enrollment or if you want to switch plans later on to save some money, you will have to answer health questions.
Some companies do not accept individuals with Atrial Fibrillation. On many applications, this is also referred to as a heart rhythm disorder, so even if the application doesn’t specifically say AFib, it is implied in the line of questioning.
Additionally, there are insurance companies that won’t accept individuals who have had AFib in the last two years. So, even if you don’t have it any longer, you may need to wait a full two years before you’d be able to apply again.
Some companies will consider you if you haven’t had AFib for at least two years. However, for many individuals, this isn’t a condition that just goes away.
Additionally, many companies have a prescription drug decline list, which means if you take certain medications that are meant to treat AFib or a heart arrhythmia, you would be declined.
Examples of these medications include:
- Atenolol + blood thinner
- Calan + blood thinner
- Cardioquin + blood thinner
- Covera + blood thinner
- Dutoprol + blood thinner
- Inderal + blood thinner
- InnoPran + blood thinner
- Isoptin + blood thinner
- Lopressor + blood thinner
- Metoprolol + blood thinner
- propranolol + blood thinner
- Quinidex + blood thinner
- quinidine + blood thinner
- Quinora + blood thinner
- Tenormin + blood thinner
- Toprol + blood thinner
- verapamil + blood thinner
- Verelan + blood thinner
However, there are quite a few insurance carriers who will accept it. It depends on what other conditions you have in conjunction with the AFib, but we can help you determine your own eligibility.
Ultimately, having AFib is not a deal breaker when it comes to being approved for a Medicare Supplement.
Getting a Medicare Supplement With Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Our licensed agents at Medicare Allies can often find many companies in your state that are willing to accept atrial fibrillation. We are very familiar with each company’s underwriting policies.
We can also help you determine if you qualify for open enrollment or a Guaranteed Issue situation.
Finally, we can do a full evaluation of your health insurance plan to make sure that a Medicare Supplement is a good fit for you. There are alternatives, such as Medicare Advantage. With Medicare Advantage, it does not matter if you have Atrial Fibrillation – there are no health questions to pass.
Don’t hesitate to take advantage of our licensed agents! Start a conversation with us by calling 833-801-7999. Luke and Sarah are ready to help you – that’s right, no robots here!
We also have an online contact form that you can fill out if you prefer. We look forward to helping you!
Our team of dedicated, licensed agents can help you as little or as much as you need. Whether it’s answering a few questions about Medicare or creating a comprehensive Medicare Planner with you, we are your Medicare Allies.