About 60% of Americans have some form of life insurance. However, for the remaining 40%, the costs or inability to qualify for insurance may leave them without this protection. This is especially problematic for cancer survivors and cancer patients. Can you get life insurance if you had cancer?
Can you get life insurance when you have cancer?
The answer will depend on the type, degree and stage of the cancer. You can get life insurance with a pre-existing condition. Most insurance companies require cancer remission. They usually look back at least 10 years if you are looking for a traditional life insurance policy. Prior to policy coverage, most insurers will use the National Cancer Institute’s “Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results” (SEER) guidelines. The database contains anonymous information about millions of people who have undergone cancer treatment and their outcomes. The report also includes life expectancy tables that detail the survival statistics for different groups in remission.
Insurers will use this information, as well as case-specific details and forecasts, to determine if – and what type – the policy you qualify for.
Life insurance and medical problems for specific cancers
Each of the following forms of cancer has unique specific medical factors that a life insurance company will examine when considering a life insurance policy:
Skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma)
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer diagnosed in about 90% of patients with skin cancer. These skin cancers grow very slowly and can be easily removed. If the cancer has not spread in the next year or two and you are in fairly good health, you will probably be approved for life insurance at standard rates.
This is a more dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma tumors occur in only about 4% of all skin cancers diagnosed, but are responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths. However, if it is diagnosed and cured early enough, there is a good chance of a full cure.
If you have survived breast cancer, the most important factor that the insurance company wants to know is whether you are in full remission. The life insurer asks you questions such as the date of the first diagnosis, type of treatment, regular tests and duration of the cancer.
Obtaining life insurance after cancer diagnosis
Whether you are suffering from cancer or another pre-existing condition, getting life insurance will probably be more difficult and involve higher premiums.
It may be more difficult to get a policy individually, but you can get life insurance through your employer if your company offers a group life insurance plan. Coverage limits for these policies are usually lower because insurers must balance their risks. However, combining a group policy with life insurance with final expenses can provide some protection to beneficiaries instead of lifetime or lifetime insurance.