If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, you might be wondering if you’re even eligible for life insurance at all.
Life insurance companies decide who to cover by accessing their risk. In addition to overall health and lifestyle, they also strongly consider your history with disease and illness.
While cancer was once a huge red flag for life insurance companies, modern medical treatments and technologies have greatly increased the chance cancer survivors will live a long and healthy life.
This is good news for you – it means many life insurance companies are judging health issues, such as thyroid cancer, less harshly. There’s a good chance those who have had this form of cancer will receive coverage at a reasonable premium.
Below we break down what exactly underwriters look at during the application process and how likely you are to find life insurance after thyroid cancer.
Can You Still Get Life Insurance After Thyroid Cancer?
First, let’s discuss thyroid cancer and its risks, so we can see exactly why a life insurance underwriter might take such a scrupulous look at your application.
As the name implies, thyroid cancer is a type of cancer affecting the thyroid.
The thyroid is a gland located at the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. The purpose of the thyroid gland is to regulate growth hormones in your body.
These hormones ensure the smooth function of several systems within your body, including your metabolic, heart, and digestive systems. They’re also pivotal to proper muscle control, bone maintenance, and brain development.
In addition to less severe medical issues like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, the thyroid is a common target for cancer.
The first signs of thyroid cancer are usually a lump in the neck. These are the cancerous cells beginning to grow.
However, a lump in the neck is certainly not always the sign of thyroid cancer. It requires a professional inspection and diagnosis by a doctor.
Along with a lump in the neck, thyroid cancer’s first symptoms often include neck pain and enlarged lymph nodes. Sometimes it doesn’t even have any symptoms.
Be certain to seek a doctor’s opinion as soon as you notice lumps in your neck. Early detection is vital to receiving proper treatment as well as getting the best life insurance rates.
There are Different Types of Thyroid Cancer
There’s not just one type of thyroid cancer, either. In fact, it’s broken down into four main types.
Two of these types account for more than 95% of cases.
- Papillary Thyroid Cancer – High rate of survival. Accounts for roughly 80% of cases.
- Follicular Thyroid Cancer – Much more aggressive with a lower survival rate, but accounts for only 15% of cases. Early detection greatly increases chance of survival.
The other type types account for the last 5% of cases. These are:
- Medullary Thyroid Cancer – Uncommon and difficult to treat, most life insurance providers don’t insure those with this form of the disease.
- Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer – Even more serious than medullary, it’s unlikely you’ll qualify for life insurance with this form of the disease.
As mentioned above, your chances of qualifying for life insurance after thyroid cancer depend greatly on the specific type you were diagnosed with.
Who Gets Thyroid Cancer?
Certain people are more likely to get thyroid cancer than others.
According to the American Thyroid Association, women are not only at a greater risk for getting thyroid cancer, but also for getting any type of thyroid disease.
The organization states women are around 5 times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men.
Questions You’ll Be Asked
You’ll be asked a long list of questions when you apply for life insurance.
It can be tempting to “stretch the truth” or “leave things out” if you have a serious medical condition like this.
However, honesty is absolutely imperative. Your life insurance provider will find out about your thyroid cancer before long, so it’s best to fill them in up front.
The information you give during your life insurance application will be used by the company’s underwriters to assess your overall risk as a client.
They’ll decide on a level of risk to give you a rating class. The rating class you fall into dictates the premium you’ll pay for coverage.
A few of the questions you can expect to answer about your thyroid cancer include:
- When were you diagnosed?
- What type of thyroid cancer did you have?
- What were your symptoms?
- How often did you experience these symptoms?
- What treatments or medications did you take?
The answers to all of these questions will be used by the underwriter to assess how much of a risk your thyroid cancer is to the life insurance company.
Of particular importance is your treatment. Of course, those who have had their thyroid cancer removed or go into remission will likely receive better rates, but even those still struggling with the cancer can still receive coverage.
The Application and Approval Process
Applying for life insurance after thyroid cancer isn’t any different than applying for life insurance without thyroid cancer.
You’ll be asked the same basic questions.
You must take the same basic steps.
The only difference is your thyroid cancer will be taken into strong consideration during the approval process.
The application process starts with filling out an application. Some companies offer online applications while others require you fill out actual paperwork.
Once the application is complete, the life insurance will typically take between 4 and 6 weeks to approve or deny you for coverage.
If you’re approved, you’ll be notified of your approval along with your rating class.
Your rating glass dictates the premium you’ll pay.
Some life insurance companies now offer expedited or even immediate approval. However, those with a condition such as thyroid cancer don’t usually qualify for these quick approvals.
You must also remember life insurance companies look at additional factors, such as your overall health, including any heart problems or high blood pressure, as well as obesity.
Your Life Insurance Options
Fortunately, your options for life insurance are not eliminated or reduced just because you have had thyroid cancer in the past.
In fact, you have a very good chance of qualifying for life insurance coverage, unless you have one of the more serious forms of thyroid cancer.
If you’re worried about getting the best rate, it’s never a bad idea to apply to multiple life insurance providers at once. This way you can compare the rates offered by the various companies who accept you.
In addition to the type of thyroid cancer you had, another key factor in getting the best coverage is how long ago your treatment ended.
If your thyroid cancer was treated more than 10 years ago with no further symptoms during this time, you’ll probably qualify for a preferred rating.
A Standard rating is more likely if your treatment time is between 5 and 6 years ago. Some providers will even offer coverage to those who ended treatment only 2 or 3 years ago, depending on the severity of the cancer and its symptoms.
If you don’t qualify for traditional life insurance, there are still options for you. A guaranteed issue life insurance policy is the best bet for those denied because of thyroid cancer.
You don’t have to meet medical expectations with guaranteed issue life insurance. Though it has lower policy limits and comes with a higher premium, this type of coverage is beneficial for some people.
Find the Best Life Insurance Policy After Thyroid Cancer
Do your homework to increase your chances of finding the best life insurance after thyroid cancer.
It means knowing what companies look for in their clients. It also means collecting and reviewing your medical records.
Another huge aspect is researching companies. Some life insurance providers are more likely to offer life insurance after thyroid cancer than others.
Target these companies, as well as others who catch your eye. All life insurance providers have something different to offer as far as services, rates, and customer service go.