If you’ve been looking into buying life insurance after colon cancer was something you’ve battled previously, you’re probably well aware it may be more difficult to get approved. While this may be true, you may be surprised at what is still available.
There are many, many kinds of cancer, and each affects your ability to buy life insurance differently. Some are much more harsh, some are not terribly difficult; but there are lots of factors to consider.
Today, we’re going to focus on how colon cancer affects life insurance rates, specifically, and what you can do to give yourself the greatest chance for approval.
Buying Life Insurance After Colon Cancer
Each and every year, more than 90,000 individual cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed, and another 40,000 rectal cancer diagnoses will be made, according to the American Cancer Society. Because nearly half of all Americans don’t own any type of life insurance at all, this creates an estimated 45,000 instances of newly diagnosed cancer patients suddenly realizing the difficulty they now have to face in finding affordable coverage.
Fortunately, advancing technology, early detection through preventative screening, and innovative treatment options have helped to decrease the mortality of colorectal cancer, where more than 9 in 10 people who are diagnosed early will live, at minimum, five more years. Late stage colon cancer, however, can be as little as 1 in 10.
Just as important as these facts and figures are to promoting proactive screening and education, they are also important to how life insurance underwriters determine the level of risk a person might pose to the insurance company. This level of risk directly correlates to both the chance of getting approved for coverage and its cost.
Your first step, as with most high risk life insurance conditions, is to talk to an independent agent. An independent agent is one who can assist you by shopping all the major carriers in the industry for the most suitable policy. Not all carriers underwrite the same way, and they each have different prices.
The first thing you’ll want to do when talking to your agent is to explain, in as much detail as possible, about your history with colon cancer. Because the agent is a field underwriter, they ought to be able to give you a good idea with what your best route is, even before talking to an insurance company.
Here are some the questions you might expect right off the bat:
- At what age were you when originally diagnosed with colon cancer?
- At what stage had the colon cancer reached at diagnosis? Did it advance any further?
- Did you have any previous history with colon polyps, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or irritable bowel syndome (IBS)?
- Does your family have any history of cancer of any kind, especially colorectal, or Lynch Syndrome?
- What types of treatment did you undergo?
- Radiation therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Targeted therapy
- What was the final date of positive diagnosis?
- What medications were you prescribed? Are you currently taking any medications related to the colon cancer?
- Do you have any other medical conditions of any kind?
These are just the first of many health related questions you’ll need to answer, but are most specific to someone looking for life insurance with a colon cancer history. Other questions will pertain to factors like driving record, criminal record, bankruptcy, and more, and are all standard with any life insurance application.
With this information, your agent should be able to give you a basic idea of what kind of rating you should expect. If your agent feels you pose to great of a risk, especially due to stage, he may recommend other types of policies to avoid unnecessary wait times or declines. If your agent decides a fully underwritten policy is a possibility, he should begin with a preliminary quote from an underwriter, where possible.
Once the application is sent to the carrier by the agent, they will begin requesting for you to schedule a medical exam, and they will order any Attending Physician’s Statements (APS) from your primary care physician or cancer specialist. Your motor vehicle record, prescription database and more will also be accessed at this time.
Based on the stage alone, we can determine a reasonable estimate of possible approval ratings, though these are subject to change and assume no other negative health factors.
Stage 0 – Carcinoma in Situ
With just signs of abnormal cells within the mucosa, this stage is a localized threat which has not become cancer and spread to the connecting fats or muscle tissue. This is a low risk, and many patients who discover their colon cancer threat at this stage are able to get fully underwritten policies, some as high as Standard. With poor family history or problematic symptoms relating to the colon, this rating could be lowered.
Presence of abnormal cells and cancer cells within the surrounding muscle tissue in the localized area represents a Stage I risk. There could be problematic symptoms present, as well, such as mild bleeding, constipation, or other inflammatory concerns. When treated properly, colon cancer patients could still obtain traditional life insurance, though many carriers will require a certain wait time from the date of last positive diagnosis, as well as additional fees, called flat extras. The base rating is likely to be a mild Sub-Standard.
The final stage someone can buy life insurance after colon cancer by traditional means, Stage II will require even longer wait times (postpone period) and additional flat extra fees for risk. Stage IIC is likely not insurable without at least a 10 year waiting period, though some companies may not insure it at all.
Stage III & Stage IV
Anyone who was diagnosed with late stage colorectal cancer, considered to be Stages III & IV, traditional coverage is often not available. You’ll be advised to look into alternative products, like graded or guaranteed life insurance.
Again, these are general guidelines, and stand to change or be underwritten uniquely by each carrier. All other health concerns, exams, follow-ups, and more will all be taken into account. Those who have seen recurrences, especially more than one, will see drastically different results, as well, regardless of stage.
Finding affordable life insurance coverage after you’ve battled colon cancer isn’t impossible, though the late stage cases are significantly more difficult and expensive. While graded or guaranteed policies should be considered last resort, they may be the only options for Stage III cases and beyond.
Contact us or begin by getting a quote in the sidebar, and we’ll be happy to walk you through our process to see what you may qualify for.