If you have been diagnosed with cancer, or you’re a cancer survivor, you may want to consider buying life insurance. It’s understandable you want to provide for your loved ones.
Cancer Life Insurance or even life insurance for cancer survivors used to be an option that just did not exist.
Many life insurance companies do not have enough information to make a fair assessment of the risk, to properly underwrite the risk of insuring people with cancer, or those who have survived cancer.
Did you know almost 185,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year?
The American Cancer Society estimates doctors will diagnose more than 1.4 million new cases of cancer in the U.S.A. in 2007, and there may be more than 559,650 cancer-related deaths.
If you are a cancer survivor, you may be facing another struggle: Buying life insurance.
Although it’s a difficult diagnosis, the chances of surviving cancer and living a long life are getting better. In fact, 93% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will live at least 10 years. In the 1980’s, that number was just 50% according to the National Cancer Institute.
Purchasing a life insurance policy after a cancer diagnosis may be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Your ability to buy life insurance may depend on the type of cancer you have, the stage and grade of your cancer, and possibly, the treatment plan.
In fact, certain types of cancer, such as low grade skin cancer, are considered very low risk by some life insurance companies. However, most life insurers will not offer a life insurance policy to a person still undergoing treatment for their cancer.
Some life insurance companies have taken a position of offering life insurance to cancer survivors, considering the improvements in treatment, and increasing longevity for those diagnosed. Some forms of cancer, such as prostate cancer, are now considered more treatable, and life insurers are now offering coverage to some cancer survivors.
There are certain underwriting guidelines in order to be approved for life insurance. And, each insurance company may vary in how they review your application for life insurance.
Due to detection and treatment, men whose cancer is restricted to the prostate have almost the same 5 and 10 year survival rates as men without prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Also, after having been treated for cancer, you may be eligible for life insurance without having to wait years, depending on the insurance company.
The Hartford is one of the leading life insurers providing coverage to some people who have been diagnosed with cancer in the past. AIG American General is another carrier that may provide life insurance for cancer survivors.
Here are some steps to take to help you in buying life insurance and getting the best plan and premium.
If your cancer treatment has been successful, and you are now in good health, you may be able to qualify for life insurance.
Cancer is a malignant tumor where cells have acquired the capacity to invade adjacent tissue and is considered high risk by life insurance companies. Cancer is the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease.
Life insurance companies usually do not consider offering life insurance for people who currently have cancer. And, until treatment has been completed, most insurers will not accept an application. One alternative is guaranteed issue life insurance which guarantees your approval if you are age 45-75.
By comparing plans and rates from an online life insurance quote provider, you have the opportunity to request quotes from more than 70 leading companies, some of which may specialize in underwriting life insurance for cancer survivors.
The rules may vary quite a bit between insurance companies, make sure to answer all application questions truthfully, and include how well you are controlling your health condition, and provide clear, concise information from your doctor regarding your current health status.
Your ability to purchase life insurance may improve quite a bit if you stay healthy for a few years. Many life insurance companies may sell life insurance for cancer survivors at normal rates if they have a clean bill of health for at least five years.
And, you may already have life insurance provided by your employer. If you do have coverage through work, and you lose your job, you may be able to convert your group life insurance into an individual policy. However, you may have to pay up to four times the premium as someone who never had cancer.
If you do have cancer, the best solution may be to look for insurance carriers who specialize in providing life insurance to people with medical conditions.
If you get rejected by one life insurer, keep trying. Each life insurer has different rules depending on certain medical conditions. One company may reject your application for life insurance, while another may be able to offer you’re an affordable rate.
Insurance companies will require a review of your medical records. Some conditions may or may not be insurable. There is a range of possible acceptance and premiums based on medical history. For instance, if several years have passed since your cancer treatment, you may be able to receive approval with standard life insurance rates, again, depending on the insurance company.
If you are unable to get life insurance because of your cancer, you may still be eligible for guaranteed issue life insurance. These policies are available to anyone (usually age 45-75) and ask no health questions, but they are more expensive.
Request your free life insurance quotes to start the process of finding life insurance companies with the most flexible guidelines and most affordable premiums for your health status.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance may be one option for people living with cancer. However, there are restrictions on these life insurance policies that may not make them a viable option for you. There is usually a waiting period of 2-3 years. That means the coverage does not take effect for that time period, but you are required to pay your premiums. If you do not outlive the waiting period, the policy would pay nothing to your beneficiary.
The benefits offered by guaranteed issue policies are usually limited to $5,000 to $25,000 of coverage.
The cost of guaranteed issue life insurance may be quite expensive, averaging up to $50 or more per month, depending on the policy and the coverage amount.
This type of coverage is usually only available to people over the age of 40 or 50, in some cases.
Make sure you pay the premiums, if you miss a payment, you may be canceled and lose all the money you put into the policy.
Another option for Cancer Life Insurance may be your Employer Group Life Insurance Policy. Remember, once your employment ends, you may be able to convert your group life insurance policy into an individual life insurance policy. But this change must take place within 31 days (usually) of the end of your employment.
Or, you may want to join an Association, Union, or Credit Union in order to be eligible for enrollment in a group life insurance policy.
There are some life insurance companies that have chosen to offer life insurance policies to people with cancer, or cancer survivors. Among those is the Hartford. They are a life insurer specializing in life insurance for survivors of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and other types of cancer.
Other insurance companies who have offered Cancer Life Insurance or Life Insurance for Cancer Survivors include AIG American General. They may be better able to differentiate the risks of individual cancers, in order to determine premiums where they can factor in cancer types and treatments. The end result may be better premiums because applicants are lumped together as an “average.” The requirements as well as the amount of coverage available may vary by company. You may want to contact an independent life insurance broker to get you quotes for life insurance from these companies.
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Here are some additional resources that you may find useful:
American Cancer Society - Provides resources and information explaining cancer, how to join the fight against cancer, news, support programs, and resources for living healthy.
John Wayne Cancer Institute - Cancer research Institute.
OncoLink - Provides cancer information, research, and treatment.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center - Learn about cancer treatments, research studies, and clinical trials.
National Cancer Institute - Provides comprehensive information on all types of cancer, including a cancer dictionary, studies, clinical trials, articles, treatment information, causes, and statistics.