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February 5, 2021
Do I Qualify for a Medicare Supplement Plan if I Have a Heart Condition?

Do I Qualify for a Medicare Supplement Plan if I Have a Heart Condition?

In February, cards on Valentine’s Day aren’t the only heart you should be thinking about. To remind us all of the importance of prioritizing your heart health, February is American Heart Month.

A healthy heart is central to overall health. Not only is heart health vital to prevent heart attack or stroke, but people with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

If you already have heart disease, taking care of your cardiovascular wellbeing is even more critical to prevent increased severity and far more negative consequences.  

When you have heart disease, not only is your health threatened, but your healthcare coverage can also get a lot more complicated.

While every cardiovascular condition is different, and each state’s guidelines are equally varied, we are here to provide you with the need-to-know info on getting a Medicare Supplement plan with a heart condition.

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What Are the Most Common Heart Conditions?  

There are a variety of different issues that can affect your heart. Though cardiovascular illness can be scary, many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.

Heart diseases include:

If you think you might be suffering from heart disease, stay alert and listen to your body. Symptoms like chest discomfort, pain that spreads to the arm, dizziness, and more can indicate an issue with your heart.

When in doubt, talk to your doctor!

Maximize Your GI Situations and Know Your Open Enrollment Deadlines

Sometimes, there are “Guaranteed Issue” situations, where you can sign up for certain plans without having to pass medical underwriting.

Your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period is the other opportunity that you have to sign up for a new Medicare plan. This is the time that occurs the month you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B.

Read More: When Can I Enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Regardless of which opportunity you qualify for, the most important tip is to know your deadlines. The last thing you want is to realize you need to make a change in your Medicare coverage, or sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan, and then realize your opportunity has passed!  

Particularly if you have a heart condition, you can sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan during one of these times to avoid the hassle.  

Moral of the story – don’t miss your deadlines!

We can help with that. Contact us as you approach age 65, and we’ll ensure you have coverage before your underwriting-free time passes.

Medicare Supplement Underwriting of Heart Conditions

Unfortunately, there are no standard Medicare Supplement underwriting guidelines. Each company uses its own, so the questions asked can vary.  

However, there are some trends of what’s sometimes accepted and what’s never accepted. Regardless, Medicare Allies will research for you and find you the best Medicare plan for your needs and budget.

Rest assured: even if you have a declinable condition, we will still find a Medicare plan for you. In some states, there are Medicare Supplement companies that don’t ask any health questions. Also, there’s always Medicare Advantage, an alternative health insurance option with no health questions on the application.

Call us at 833-801-7999 or email us at help@medicareallies.com any time!

Medicare Supplement and 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 atrial fibrillation as a heart arrhythmia.

You may have been scared off by the stories about being denied different Medicare options because of preexisting conditions, but never fear! Medicare Allies is here to do the work for you and make sure you get coverage.

Ultimately, having Atrial Fibrillation is not a deal-breaker when it comes to being approved for a Medicare Supplement. However, it is a barrier to entry in many cases.  

While a heart arrhythmia by itself is not a reason for denial, the drugs you take and any other conditions you have in conjunction with Atrial Fibrillation could result in a decline. Even if you’ve recovered, there is often a lookback period of two or more years.

It’s not impossible to get a Medicare Supplement if you have Atrial Fibrillation, but it will reduce your options.

Luckily, you have Medicare Allies on your side, and we love a challenge!

Read More: Can I Still Get a Medicare Supplement If I Have Atrial Fibrillation

Medicare Supplements and Heart Attacks

A heart attack happens when one part of the heart muscle isn’t getting enough blood. This usually occurs when an artery is blocked.  

A heart attack's symptoms include long-lasting pain or discomfort in the chest, arms, jaw, and more.  

If you think that you are experiencing a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are usually the risk factors for heart disease. However, it is never too late to integrate positive lifestyle changes into your life to decrease your risk.

Here are a few examples of healthy lifestyle changes that prevent heart disease:  

  • Eat whole, nutritious foods.  
  • Increase physical activity  
  • Quit smoking  
  • Manage stress

If you have had a heart attack, Medicare Part B is known to cover cardiovascular behavioral therapy – a common treatment option.

Medicare Supplement underwriting usually includes questions about heart attacks. The majority of our most popular carriers have a one or two-year lookback. In other words, they ask if you’ve been treated for a heart attack in the last one or two years.  

Reach out to us to learn more about your coverage options if you’ve had a heart attack.

Medicare Supplements and Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a chronic disease where the heart does not pump blood as well as it should. Issues like high blood pressure or narrowed arteries can slowly leave your heart too weak to effectively pump its blood.  

Some companies won’t accept any history of congestive heart failure, while other companies often have a two-year lookback. In other words, if you’ve been treated for congestive heart failure in the past two years, you would be declined.

If you already have a Medicare Supplement and have congestive heart failure, it is likely most beneficial to keep your current coverage. Major heart disorders can prevent you from changing carriers at all, as well as finding any better options.  

Medicare Supplements and Defibrillators

There are several different types of defibrillators, but they all restore a normal heartbeat by administering an electric pulse or shock to the heart.

Some are external and usually only used once on an individual, and others are internal, implantable devices used in long-term care.  

If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, your regular Medicare may cover an implantable, automatic defibrillator. The plan that covers each is dependent on how the procedure takes place.

However, defibrillators are almost always listed as a declinable condition in Medigap underwriting.

Though this can be disheartening, all hope is not lost! By discussing your options with an experienced agent, you can increase your likelihood of finding an excellent coverage option.  

Medicare Supplements and Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy, otherwise known as a heart muscle disease that makes pumping blood difficult, can be a serious condition.  

While there may be no symptoms early on, signs of breathlessness, irregular heartbeats, chest discomfort, and more can escalate as the disease progresses.  

Always keep an eye on your health and take your symptoms seriously. If you think something might be wrong, check with your doctor.  

Unfortunately, the presence of cardiomyopathy can be a question that leads to a decline in the underwriting of Medigap coverage. However, some companies have a two-year lookback, so if you’ve overcome cardiomyopathy, you may be eligible for Medigap coverage.

While getting coverage with cardiomyopathy may be difficult, it is not impossible, and we will fight for you!

Medicare Supplements and Enlarged Heart

An enlarged heart is pretty close to what it sounds like. It is identified by imaging showing the individual’s heart is a larger size than it normally should be. However, the issue is not the heart's enlargement, but rather whatever illness is causing the heart to be enlarged.  

An enlarged heart can occur due to short-term stressors like pregnancy or a medical condition. However, it can also be an indicator of a more severe and long-term condition.

Symptoms include the following:  

  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in the upper areas of the body (arms, neck, jaw, back, or stomach)

If you’re concerned about your heart health, contact your doctor.

Because an enlarged heart can occur through a variety of different illnesses, the direct cause is what would or would not prevent you from receiving Medigap coverage. While a short-term condition may pass, a long-term heart condition may be cause for decline.  

Enrollment eligibility varies across each state and company, so check with your agent to determine whether your specific heart condition can cause a decline!

Medicare Supplements and Pacemakers

A pacemaker is a small device implanted under the skin to help control your heartbeat. This requires a surgical procedure.

Your Medicare plan should cover your pacemaker if it is deemed medically necessary. If you already have a pacemaker, you might be issued a decline because of Medigap underwriting.

However, this isn’t an immediately declinable condition. There may be some wiggle room, depending on your lifestyle and the company’s specific rules.  

Many companies have a two-year lookback, so they may ask you something like “In the past 2 years, have you had a pacemaker installed (or has a doctor advised you to do so)?”

A few companies have a 12-month lookback, but two years is fairly common. Don’t worry – we can analyze all of your options to make choosing a plan simple.  

Medicare Supplements and High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is almost always asked about in Medigap underwriting.

A typical question would look like this: “Was your last blood pressure reading higher than 175 systolic or higher than 100 diastolic?” Keep in mind the exact numbers can vary depending on which company we’re looking at.

Some companies don’t ask about specific blood pressure readings – instead, they’re concerned with how many medications you take to control your blood pressure. For example, you might be asked if you take more than 3 medications, and if you do, you aren’t eligible for coverage.

Yet another variation is a company primarily concerned if you have high blood pressure in combination with another condition, like diabetes. Diabetes combined with other heart conditions is often an underwriting hurdle when looking for Medigap coverage.

Again, even if you have high blood pressure and have missed your open enrollment window, we can help. Just call us at 833-801-7999 or email us at help@medicareallies.com, and we will go to work! Our services are completely free.

Consider Medicare Advantage

If you are worried that you might not qualify for a Medicare Supplement plan, consider a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Advantage plans have no underwriting, so you can’t be disqualified because of preexisting conditions. This is an ideal option if you are struggling to find affordable coverage or any coverage at all.

Read More: Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplements: How Do You Choose?  

Conclusion

If you have a heart condition, you should be worried about keeping yourself healthy rather than the fine print on Medicare Supplement applications!  

That’s where we come in. If you feel bogged down by fees and payments that aren’t covered by your traditional Medicare plan, give Medicare Allies a call.  

We will prioritize you – and help you prioritize your health!

Luke Hockaday
By
Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday is a Customer Success Rep here at Medicare Allies. Luke has been helping Medicare-eligible clients with their insurance and retirement-planning needs since 2011. Luke is passionate about 3 things, and 3 things only: senior insurance, football, and food!

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