While everyone understands the importance of life insurance, very few people follow through and actually purchase a plan. Nobody wants to think about his or her own death, but not planning for it is an awful mistake.
It can be daunting to obtain life insurance after you have had a major illness.
High deductibles and even higher premiums can make getting decent insurance seems almost impossible.
However, breast cancer survivors are becoming more and more insurable thanks to medical advancements and a stronger prognosis and survival rate.
It is not likely that you will be able to obtain an insurance policy if you are currently being treated for cancer or undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, or if you have been diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer.
However, if you have been diagnosed with stage one breast cancer, the outlook on obtaining life insurance with cancer is much better.
For more advanced cancer, say, stage 2 or above, some life insurance companies may require that you have been in remission for at least 3 years. At the very minimum, they may require that three years have passed since your last treatment without signs of advancement.
New Research on Breast Cancer Favorable for Life Insurance Applicants
However, new research has shown that many breast cancer survivors can have a mortality rate that very closely matches the general population. In other words, being a breast cancer survivor does not mean that your life expectancy is shorter than someone who has not been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, provided you seek proper treatment.
This does not mean that if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer you have to wait years to get the cheap term life insurance or should expect massive premium increases, though. More and more often, early detection and treatment are the keys to survival, and since awareness has increased, screenings are more common, and treatments have improved, it is completely possible to have a very good prognosis as a breast cancer survivor, allowing you to obtain life insurance, or even switch companies if your companies rates begin to skyrocket.
Declined for Life Insurance? Don’t Get Discouraged
Don’t be discouraged if you get turned down initially. Some companies shy away from insuring “high risk” clients, including those with medical diagnosis such as cancer, but also those with high-risk jobs (offshore workers) or poor family history (generations of heart disease).
This does not mean, though, that you as a breast cancer survivor are necessarily high risk to insure, and many companies are starting to recognize that.
Some companies are better for high-risk applicants. These high-risk companies have tons of experiencing working with breast cancer applicants and can give you a quality and affordable life insurance policy.
Client Case Study
We had a female client that was looking for burial expense and to pay off her mortgage. She was initially diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer in 1986 and then had a mastectomy. In 1993 she had radiation and oral chemo therapy for 5 years. According to her doctor, she’s currently Stage 0. She gets regular mammograms and even more importantly has no family history of breast cancer.
Note: For a female applying for life insurance that doesn’t have breast cancer, she can still be rated if her mother was diagnosed with it. Even more so if it was a young age.
In this women’s case, our underwriter felt comfortable rating her at Standard (possibly Standard Plus) since the occurrence was well over 10 years ago.
Many of the top term life insurance companies are now changing their underwriting guidelines so that even clients with a history of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment can obtain a more favorable rating. A more favorable rating means less of a wait to obtain insurance, as well as lowered premiums and deductibles.
Since the prognosis for breast cancer survivors has improved so greatly, and, as mentioned earlier, the mortality rate is comparable between breast cancer survivors and the general population, life insurance is completely attainable if you find a company that understands this prognosis.
Life Insurance Breast Cancer Questionnaire
1. Date of diagnosis, date of last treatment.
2. Exact name of the type of breast cancer that has been diagnosed.
3. What is the stage of the cancer?
- Stage 0, Ductile carcinoma-in-situ
- Stage 0, Lobular carcinoma-in-situ
- Stage 0, Paget’s disease of nipple
- Stage I
- Stage II
- Stage IIIA
- Stage IIIB
- Stage IV
4. Was the cancer graded? If so, what grade was assigned?
- Grade I
- Grade II
- Grade III
- Grade IV.
5. How has the cancer been treated? Please check all that apply.
- Excisional biopsy (limited excision)
- Lumpectomy (wide excision)
- Partial Mastectomy
- Modified Radical Mastectomy
- Radical Mastectomy
- Radiation Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
- Bone Marrow Transplant
6. Does the proposed insured take any medications at this time, yes or no? If yes, please name the medication, dates used, quantity taken, and frequency taken.
7. Has there been any evidence of recurrence? If yes, please share details.
8. Has there ever been any kind of other cancer diagnosed for the proposed insured?
9. Does proposed insured have any other medical conditions?
Each of these questions will impact your chances of getting life insurance for high risk people and how much you will pay for your coverage.
There are a lot of different factors that the insurance agent will review when you’re applying for life insurance. Your breast cancer diagnosis is a major part of it, but it’s not the only factor that they are going to look at. Just like with every other applicant, they are going to want an overall picture of your health. This is why they require a medical exam.
During the exam, they want to know your blood pressure, weight, and heart rate. Additionally, they will take a blood sample and urine sample. All of these are going to be used to determine how good or poor your health is. The better the results form the medical exam, the higher your chances of getting cheaper coverage.
There are several different things that you can do to improve your chances of getting life insurance and getting a more affordable life insurance policy. While there are some things that you can’t change, like your family history or if you are 50 and looking for life insurance coverage, there are some aspects that you can improve, which increases your chances of getting lower insurance rates.
If you want cheaper coverage, you have to do some shopping around. Each company has different views on applicants with a history of breast cancer. Some companies have much better standards, and you need to shop with one of those companies.
There are 6,000 carriers. Most are going to automatically decline you because of breast cancer. You could spend several days sifting through the companies. Or you can work with an independent agent to take that work off your plate.