Life Insurance for Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Information verified correct on September 24th, 2016

Find Trauma Insurance with Cover for Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA)

Out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is one of the leading causes of death in Western Countries. It has been estimated that from 15 to 20 percent of all deaths in the United States are the result of OHCA. The most recent Australian data, based on ambulance attendances in metropolitan Melbourne, show that 2,000 lives are lost annually from OHCA. Trauma Cover, otherwise known as critical illness insurance, provides a lump sum payment when an insured person is diagnosed as having suffered a medical condition listed on their policy. Most life insurance providers will recognise Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest as a condition that is eligible for cover. This article will give an overview of this condition and how life insurance companies in Australia cover it.

Compare policies with cover for Cardiac Arrest

What is Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest?

How is it caused?

Coronary artery disease is the usual cause of OHCA and most people who die of the disease, which accounts for 90 percent of all victims, have major pathological changes in two or more coronary arteries. Hypoxic brain injury occurs at four minutes and death will occur within 12 minutes if no therapy is offered. It has been stated that with ideal pre-hospital care, survival rates could be extended to 70 percent.

Resuscitation following cardiac arrest

The ultimate success of any resuscitation attempts performed on a victim of OHCA is dependent on the person’s own characteristics including:

  • Any previous medical conditions
  • The cardiac rhythm associated with the collapse
  • Whether the collapse was witnessed or not witnessed
  • Response from medical practitioners

A system organised to deal successfully with OHCA must also include a 'chain of survival'. This concept was first described by Cummins in 1991 and has since been adopted by the American Heart Association. It focuses on four critical links, these being:

  • Early recognition and access to emergency medical attention
  • Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Early defibrillation
  • Early advanced cardiac life support

Life Insurance and Trauma Insurance for Cardiac Arrest

Life Insurance companies in Australia generally use the same definition for Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest in establishing whether or not a benefit will be paid.

Conditions for benefit payment for OHCA

    • Cardiac arrest is not associated with any medical procedure
    • Is documented by an electrocardiogram
    • Occurs outside of hospital
    • Is the result of;
      • Cardiac asystole (Seizure of the heart) or
      • Ventricular fibrillation (muscle fibres of ventricle beat rapidly without regulating any blood)

If the insurance provider verifies the above conditions, a full payment of the total sum-insured will be provided.

Bundling Life Insurance and Trauma Insurance

Many life insurance companies allow applicants to bundle Trauma cover on their Life cover policy as an additional option. This enables the policy owner to receive a benefit payment for specified Trauma events by paying an additional premium. It is worth noting that in the event of a Trauma benefit being paid, the Life Cover sum-insured is reduced by whatever has been paid for the trauma benefit. As an example, the policy owner may have $1,000,000 in Life Cover on their policy. If a $250,000 Trauma benefit is paid, the Life Cover Sum-Insured will be reduced to $750,000. This can be avoided by applying for cover with Buy-Back Option.

What is Buy-Back?

The Buy-Back option enables the policy owner to repurchase the sum-insured for Life Cover that was reduced when a benefit was paid for Trauma Cover. Most insurers will only allow cover to be repurchased at least one year following the Trauma benefit payment.

Is it possible to take out life insurance if I have suffered a cardiac arrest?

Anyone that is applying for life insurance will be required to state any pre-existing medical conditions that they have prior to taking out cover. A pre-existing medical condition is recognised as any condition that first occurred or circumstances leading to the condition first became apparent prior to the policy commencing. Policy owners that do not state any pre-existing medical conditions at the time of application or policy renewal may find that, in the event of a claim, their policy is rejected.

It is not impossible for someone that has suffered a cardiac arrest to take out life insurance. Each insurer has different criteria for assessing applicants when deciding whether or not to provide cover. The applicant will most likely be required to:

      • Provide details of their medical history
      • Complete a medical questionnaire
      • Provide evidence from a certified practitioner on the stability of their condition and any treatment that they are undertaking
      • Any other necessary documentation to help the insurer assess their condition

Based on the medical evidence that is provided, an insurer will then decide if and on what terms cover is provided. In most cases a premium loading or exclusions will be applied to the policy. It is always in the applicants best interests to provide as much evidence on their condition as possible to the insurer. As stated previously, each insurer will have different criteria for underwriting clients and just because one insurer is not willing to provide cover, does not mean that none will.

Compare life insurance policies with cover for out of hospital cardiac arrest

Trauma Insurance provides the much-needed security of knowing that in the event that you suffer a serious medical condition, the financial support will be there to let you and your family maintain the same quality of life. Most insurers will provide cover for up to 50 different conditions and offer additional cover options such as, child cover and buy-back benefit to ensure there is an adequate level of cover in place. By making an online enquiry with a certified insurance consultant, you can compare different cover options available from Australian insurers and find cover that is both comprehensive and affordable.

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