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Cancer and Life Insurance

Cancer FAQs (click here)

If you are a cancer survivor, congratulations. Many of you have had a very difficult road to travel and it’s a testament to your will, determination and perseverance that you’ve been able to overcome this disease.

Whether or not you will be able to get life insurance will depend on several factors: the most significant being the type of cancer you had and the amount of time you’ve been cancer-free. From an underwriting standpoint, the amount of time needed to have passed [to be eligible for life insurance coverage] since you were first considered in remission or had a cancer surgically removed will largely depend on the type of cancer and how it was treated. That said, it is very important that when speaking with a independent life insurance specialist about your life insurance needs, that you be prepared with date of diagnosis of the disease, type of cancer, location and how it was treated as well as how long you have been medically documented cancer-free.

Skin Cancers: Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer with Basal Cell Carcinoma accounting for 90% of all skin cancers. Since these cancers are characteristically slow growing and more often than not, easily excised, having one of these types of skin cancer is usually not a big deterrent to getting accepted for life insurance. Generally speaking, if you’ve had a skin cancer removed and there is no sign that the disease has spread during the next year or two (and assuming you are in good health otherwise) you should be able to get life insurance coverage at standard rates.

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, arises in melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment. Although melanomas account for only about 4% of all skin cancer cases, it causes most skin cancer-related deaths. The good news is that melanoma is often curable if it is detected and treated in its early stages. Melanomas usually begin in moles and if they metastasize (spread) they can show up in the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. If you have had this cancer and had it removed in its early stages and a year or two has passed, you should be able to get an offer for coverage. If the disease has been spread through the blood stream and cured with chemotherapy and /or radiation, then you may have to be cancer free for up to 10 years, before an insurance company will consider you for life insurance coverage. Within the first 5-7 years after successful treatment, coverage may be available at higher rates where the insurance company might Table Rate the policy or charge a Flat Extra premium for a period of years. Within the first 5 years after treatment, it is usually very difficult to get an offer for coverage.

Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States (other than skin cancer). If you are a breast cancer survivor seeking life insurance there are many factors that will be weighed by the insurance company before they can offer or decline coverage. The number one concern is whether the cancer has been effectively eradicated, so it is necessary to show that significant time has passed since surgery or other treatment and that regular testing has shown that the disease is gone. Be sure to have all the necessary facts before speaking with an independent insurance broker who works in the Special Risk Marketplace, including date of diagnosis, type of treatment and how long you have been cancer-free Typically, the longer that you’ve been cancer free, the greater the chances of getting coverage at reasonable rates. Coverage may be available earlier at higher rates where the insurance company might Table Rate the policy or charge a Flat Extra premium for a period of years.

Prostate Cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in the United States (other than skin cancer). Of all the men who are diagnosed with cancer each year, more than one-fourth have prostate cancer. If you’ve had prostate cancer and want to apply for life insurance there are several things you need to know. The insurance company will look closely at your PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) levels before and after cancer treatment
as well as your Gleason Score. The Gleason Score assigns a ranking to the prostate cancer cells from 2 to10 based on how they look under a microscope and how likely they are to spread. A low Gleason score means the cancer cells are similar to normal prostate cells and are less likely to spread; a high Gleason score means the cancer cells are very different from normal and are more likely to spread. The number one concern is whether the cancer has been effectively eradicated, so it is necessary to show that significant time has passed since surgery or other treatment and that regular testing has shown that the disease is gone.

Try to have all the necessary facts before speaking with a independent life insurance specialist, including date of diagnosis, type of treatment and how long you have been cancer-free. Typically, the more time you’ve been cancer free, the greater the chances of getting coverage. Life insurance coverage may be available earlier at higher rates where the insurance company might Table Rate the policy or charge a Flat Extra premium for a period of years.

How do I Get the Best Rate?

The most effective way to be sure you are getting the best offer for coverage is to use an independent life insurance broker that works daily in the Special Risk marketplace. He or she will have the experience, knowledge and persistence to get you the best possible rates available. A good broker knows from experience which life insurance companies are pre-disposed to giving you the lowest rates for your particular condition.

Click here to contact an independent insurance broker who works in the Special Risk Marketplace.