How Insurances Companies Rate Cancer Patients
Not all cancers are considered equal by insurance companies. As stated previously some cancers are more treatable than others, so the key disposition on how they will assess you will be based on the cancer’s pathology (nature and progress of the disease).
Once upon a time, an insurance company would only consider life insurance approval following a waiting period for all types of cancer. This could mean anywhere from between 5 to 10 years in many instances to ensure that you had beaten the disease.
It’s still true today for certain types of cancers, but for some types of cancers you can get coverage even if you have just recently completed treatment. For some others such as early stage, low grade prostrate and melanoma for instance, it’s possible you can get immediate coverage if the treatment is successful.
Now, you should be clear about one thing – you are highly unlikely to be approved for a life insurance policy if you’re still undergoing treatment. In some instances you may only need to wait as short as 3 months past your last treatment, and in others you may have wait as long as 5 years before you can apply. It all depends on the grade, stage and type of cancer.
What Insurance Companies want to know about your Cancer
When applying for life insurance, the first thing I would advise is to always be truthful. If you lie about having been treated for cancer, the odds are huge you are going to be found out, so always be up front and truthful. That being said, the primary information insurance companies will want to obtain and know about your cancer includes:
■ When you were diagnosed
■ Medical records from your doctors
■ Treatment records and how well you followed up on the doctor’s recommendations
■ Pathology report from your Oncologist
■ Current medications
■ Other existing medical conditions
■ Date of last time you were treated
When applying for life insurance, I would suggest that you first talk to an independent agent such as myself to help guide you through what information needs to be gathered, and where you stand relative to your current condition.
The more information you can gather on your own before submitting an application, the shorter the time span to get approval. The insurance companies will want this information anyway, but it might take them longer to get it, then if you did it yourself.
How Much Will Life Insurance Cost?
Will you have to pay more for your premium if you have successfully completed your cancer treatment? Again, it depends on the type of cancer, stage, grade and prognosis. If the cancer was caught and treated early, there is a much better probability that you may get preferred rates right away or very shortly for some types of successfully treated cancers such as melanoma, Stage 1 breast, prostate, testicular, thyroid cancers for example.
In other instances, you might have to pay extra or a surcharge for a certain period of time such as 5 years. At the successful conclusion, you can apply or be automatically considered for better rates.
For other severe cancers such as Stage 2 or higher cancers, recurrent cancer, cancer that has spread or metastasized, development of multiple cancers, or other complicating health factors such as kidney or heart disease, your chances of getting approval for a policy is going to be far more difficult.
However, even in these tough cases, guaranteed issue life insurance is always an available, the most expensive type of coverage, as well as graded death benefit life insurance, if 2 years have passed since your last treatment, at which point you can qualify.