Life Insurance Coverage and Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women in the US, with nearly 300,000 new cases expected to be diagnosed this year. The likelihood a woman will develop breast cancer during her lifetime is 1 in 8. While the disease is far and away a woman’s disease, men are not immune to it. Each year about 2,400 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in men. A man’s lifetime chance of developing breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. For the millions of breast cancer survivors in the U.S. the opportunity to secure term life insurance protection for themselves and their families is absolutely there.
Life insurance companies want to see that women with a history of breast cancer have received full treatment and have completed regular follow up visits per doctor’s orders. Lifelong follow up is very important, as recurrences can occur as many as 30 years after the initial diagnosis.
The life insurance company you apply with will be looking specifically at:
- Age at diagnosis
- The amount of time since diagnosis
- The stage and grade of cancer
- The tumor size
- Any lymphatic node involvement
- Whether metastasis is present
- Whether there was any recurrence of cancer following recovery
- Length of time since treatment and/or recovery
- Menopausal status
- Treatment success and adherence to treatment recommendations
- Follow up visits as recommended by doctor
- Tobacco/drug/alcohol use
- Any other major health problems
Additionally, there are important steps your client can take before applying for life insurance which will improve their chances of getting approved at the best rating class possible:
- Have all doctors’ name/address/phone available.
- Make sure the doctor(s) has copies of all records regarding the cancer treatment, pathology reports, and follow up reports.
- Have a list of all medications and their dosages available.
- Do not skip any follow up doctor visits.
Lower Life Insurance Rates for Remaining Cancer Free
If your client remains cancer-free, he or she may be able to lower their life insurance rates over time. However, their rate depends on the type of cancer they have, and how long they’ve been in remission. Most life insurance companies follow the guidelines provided by the National Cancer Institute’s database known as SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results). Some cancers are considered relatively “low risk.” These include non-melanoma skin cancer, early stage breast cancer, prostate, testicular and thyroid cancer. These are typically treatable cancers and your client may soon be eligible for standard rates.
Breast Cancer Facts & Figures
Courtesy of: The American Cancer Society