Over the course of an American woman’s lifetime, she will face the very real possibility of being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
The troublesome reality is 1 in 8 American women will hear those dreaded words: “You have breast cancer.”
However, for the majority of women in this unfortunate situation, the story does not end there.
Improvements in diagnosis, treatment, and recovery have drastically increased the life expectancy for people with breast cancer.
American Cancer Society released a recent report showing the fatality rate for breast cancer patients dropped by 40% over the course of the last 25 years.
Life insurance companies do take into consideration statistics such as this. So carriers are very open, now more than ever, to insure those with a history of breast cancer.
I’ve helped many seniors that have had breast cancer buy affordable over 50 life insurance.
I’m sharing with you a few pro tips learned over many years of experience. Be sure to check out all the details below.
Pro Tip #1 – Ratings for seniors with Breast Cancer
In the past, all breast cancer survivors (no matter the stage) had to wait a minimum of ten years before buying life insurance.
You see, life insurers viewed cancer as a death sentence and, therefore, were highly unlikely to insure someone that would not survive for long.
Today the life insurance game is completely different!
Amazing scientific advancements in the treatment of breast cancer have improved positive outcomes for breast cancer patients…both healthwise and in the ability to secure life coverage at decent rates.
So What’s the Deal with Life Insurance Ratings?
Check out this easy-to-follow cheat sheet for more info about rating classes, reasons for the rating, and corresponding pricing you may receive.
|Rating Class||Reason For Rating||Pricing|
|Preferred Plus||Healthiest, Lowest Risk Applicants||Best Pricing Possible|
|Preferred||Very Healthy, Low Risk Applicant||Better than Average Pricing Possible|
|Standard||Controlled Medical Condition||Average Pricing|
|Sub-Standard (aka Table Rating)||Chronic Illness (Moderate to Severe), High Risk||Below Average Pricing|
Reminder: Sub-Standard (“Table”) Rating covers 16 different ranks below a “Standard” rate class. The premiums typically go up around 25% per level.
Of course, this guideline may be different depending on the insurance company.
What Life Insurance Rates Can I Qualify For After Breast Cancer?
The life insurance rating you receive will greatly depend upon your breast cancer stage. So let’s get right to the various breast cancer stages and corresponding ratings normally assigned.
Stage 0 Breast Cancer: This is non-invasive breast cancer that has not spread beyond the initial disease location. It is not considered life-threatening.
You will most likely qualify for a Standard Rating.
Before applying for a traditional life insurance policy, it is best if at least 12 months has passed since your treatment was completed.
Stage I Breast Cancer: This cancer is usually diagnosed early while it is still contained within a specific area.
For the best rating, it’s important the tumor size didn’t exceed 2cm. It’s also best if you completed treatment at least 2 years ago.
In this case, you may qualify for a Standard Rating.
Stage IB Breast Cancer: This is when you have Stage I Breast Cancer that has a minor spread to surrounding lymph nodes.
You will most likely receive a Sub-Standard (Table Rating) of 1/A.
Stage II Breast Cancer: This is when the cancer is grown but still contained within the breast and nearby lymph nodes.
There are two groups within Stage II Breast Cancer: Stage 2A and Stage 2B. The main difference is the size of the tumor.
You should anticipate a Sub-Standard (Table Rating) within the first few levels. Possible outcomes could be Table Rating 2/B or lower.
Some insurance companies may skip the Table Rating and instead apply a “flat extra” fee to your premium. A “flat extra” is a set amount added to the pricing for a limited amount of time.
Stage III Breast Cancer: Typically this stage means the cancer has traveled beyond the first (original) site of the tumor to lymph nodes and nearby tissue.
Once an applicant is found to have advanced stages of breast cancer it’s difficult to anticipate what the insurance carrier may determine.
Give me a call to discuss your best options. We can talk more about your breast cancer journey and how it may impact your life insurance ratings.
Stage IV Breast Cancer: This cancer has gone far beyond the initial tumor site and is most likely in other organs. This advancement of the cancer complicates your health and your life insurance options.
Give me a call to discuss your best options. Each applicant is unique and needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Pro Tip #2 – Application Questions for Breast Cancer Survivors
Many insurance companies will ask follow up questions. Once they know you are a breast cancer survivor then expect to answer the questions below.
Be sure to provide accurate information to the life insurer. They will use your responses to assess your application and assign premium pricing.
You want to be sure of what you are telling the carrier because a mix-up could be costly.
Common Application Questions
- What was the original date of your breast cancer diagnosis?
- How old were you at the time of diagnosis?
- What stage was your cancer diagnosis? Was it Stage 0, I, II, II, or IV?
- Has your breast cancer worsened since the initial diagnosis?
- At the time of diagnosis, was the cancer in your lymph nodes?
- Or did the cancer spread to your lymph nodes after diagnosis?
- What medications were you prescribed?
- What type of cancer treatment did you receive? Chemotherapy? Radiation? Mastectomy? Lumpectomy/wide excision? Excisional Biopsy? Hormonal therapy?
- What was the last date of your treatment?
- Was there any recurrence of your breast cancer? If so, how many and when?
- Are you cancer-free currently?
- If so, how long since your doctor declared your cancer in remission?
- Did you comply with all of your oncologist’s advice and guidelines?
- What, if any, other health conditions do you have besides breast cancer?
Remember, the insurance company is reviewing all aspects of your lifestyle and health – not just your cancer diagnosis.
Traditional life insurers rely on a variety of resources to help guide them through the life insurance rating process.
Life Insurers and SEER
Traditional insurance companies will usually look over your medical records, your application, your diagnostic testing, and possibly request a medical exam.
Most life insurance carriers also rely on the National Cancer Institute’s “Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)” as a guideline for breast cancer applications.
SEER is a database that provides reports and statistics on nearly 3 Million cancer patients throughout the United States. Doctors and medical researches across the nation submit nameless patient reports.
Insurance carriers are then able to access the SEER database as an independent resource when critiquing applicants.
Pro Tip #3 – It’s Not All about Your Breast Cancer
Your life insurance outcome isn’t all about your breast cancer or your age. In fact, your entire health history and your lifestyle choices will be just as important.
Lifestyle: Are you at a healthy weight or do you have some pounds to lose? Are you active or mostly sedentary? Do you have high risk hobbies like riding a motorcycle or climbing mountains?
Is your job risky like that of a fireman or pilot? Do you have any “Driving under the Influence” (DUI) convictions?
General Health: What is your overall health? Do you have any other systemic illnesses or chronic health conditions? Do you have Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, etc.? Have you ever been diagnosed with another type of cancer such as thyroid cancer? Do you take maintenance medications? Are you being treated for any mental conditions such as depression or bipolar disorder?
Tobacco Use – Do you smoke even one cigarette per day, week, or month? If you are a former smoker, has it been more than 12 months since your last cigarette? Do you use other tobacco products?
It shouldn’t be surprising that cigarette smoking is not viewed positively by insurance companies.
After all, tobacco use complicates your health and can ultimately lead to premature death.
Pro Tip #4 – Get Life Insurance Sooner Rather Than Later!
You are not just a breast cancer survivor…you are someone that is thriving despite the challenges of cancer. The most current statistics reveal you are not alone in this journey.
According to Breastcancer.org, there are more than 3.1 Million American women with a history of breast cancer. This total includes women being treated currently for breast cancer, as well as those ladies in remission.
I’ve helped many woman seeking life insurance coverage after fighting breast cancer. The fact is I understand how to find affordable life insurance over age 50 – no matter your situation.
If you want to give me a call we can discuss how to select a great life insurance plan for you and your family. The sooner you contact me, the quicker you’ll have peace of mind.
I look forward to speaking to you and helping you secure the coverage you need at a price that is affordable.