Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. One Million Americans are diagnosed each year with one of the three types of skin cancer.
If you are over 50 years old then there is a good chance you may have experienced a Basal Cell, Squamous Cell, or Melanoma diagnosis.
Keep in mind, a past skin cancer diagnosis will not exclude you from qualifying for an affordable life insurance policy when you are over 50 years of age.
Your long-term prognosis, as well as any other health conditions you may have will certainly impact the type of policy and rate you can get.
However, in most cases, I will be able to help you secure coverage with an insurance company that will welcome your business no matter the circumstances.
How Is Skin Cancer Rated by Insurance Companies?
Cancer survivors may apply for all the same life insurance policies as their peers, including permanent (whole) life insurance and term life insurance.
Of course, term and whole life insurance coverage does require underwriting.
Life insurance companies generally use these rating classes to determine premiums:
- Preferred Plus
- Sub-standard (aka Table Rating)
The rate class you are approved for isn’t just about your skin cancer diagnosis.
The insurance company evaluates your application based on your overall medical history, driving record, and other lifestyle habits.
There are plenty of ways you can try to save on your life insurance premiums such as not smoking and buying the right type of life coverage.
How Much Will I Have To Pay For Life Insurance?
Well it depends. All else being equal it depends on the type of skin cancer that you were diagnosed with.
Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma Rating Class
The most common types of skin cancer are squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas. About 90% of skin cancer patients are diagnosed with one of these types.
People between the ages of 50 and 70 years old are most frequently diagnosed with basal cell and squamous cell cancers.
Typically these forms of skin cancer grow slowly and can be easily removed.
If the cancer does not spread for two years from completion of treatment and your overall health is good, you will likely be approved for a life insurance policy at a Preferred Rate.
If you have had basal cell re-occurrences, you may still be approved at a Standard Rate.
Malignant Melanoma Rating Class
Malignant Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer because it is the most invasive. It appears in less than 5% of all skin cancer diagnosis, but results in the most skin cancer deaths.
If melanoma is diagnosed early enough, there is a good chance of total recovery.
The most dangerous aspect of melanoma is that it commonly metastasizes (or spreads) to other areas of the body, including the lymph nodes and organs.
This is why the life insurer will want to know if you your melanoma was diagnosed “in situ” or contained within one specific location.
If your cancer has been successfully treated, and you have remained cancer free for a minimum of 6 months, you will most likely qualify for an affordable life insurance plan and be approved at the Standard Rate.
If the skin cancer has traveled through the body to other organs, then you may have to wait 5 to 10 years to get life insurance. Usually your life insurance premiums will be higher than your peers.
More Information about Ratings for Skin Cancer Survivors
Instead of rating up your premiums, life insurers will occasionally assign a Standard Rate class and then add a surcharge (aka “flat extra”) for a predetermined amount of time.
The flat extra charge is usually $5 to $10 per $1,000 in coverage. So for a $100,000 life insurance policy you would pay an additional $500 to $1,000 for a specific amount of time.
Once the time has passed, the flat extra surcharge will be dropped. You will just pay the Standard Rate going forward.
Also, if you are still undergoing treatment you will be declined. You must wait until treatment is completed.
If you can’t get approved for a traditional life insurance policy, as a last resort you do have the option to obtain a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
This type of life coverage does not involve any underwriting or medical exams.
Application Process for People Over 50 with Skin Cancer
The reality is your chances of securing a life insurance policy at a reasonable price is directly impacted by the stage and grade of your skin cancer.
Plus, life insurance companies want to know what type of treatment you have received, and whether you’ve been following your doctor’s advice.
They will likely want to review your medical records and will study your pathology reports.
You will also need to do a para-medical exam unless you apply for a policy for that does not require a medical exam.
For this exam, a nurse will come to your home and do things like collect blood and urine specimens. Typically, the whole exam takes 20-25 minutes.
Again, there are also no exam life insurance options that you may qualify for as well.
The insurance company will want to consider the following as it relates to your skin cancer diagnosis:
- What was the date you were first diagnosed with skin cancer?
- What type of skin cancer? Were you diagnosed with Basal Cell, Squamous Cell, or Melanoma?
- What was the stage and grade of the cancer?
- Did the cancer spread or metastasize?
- Did you have clean margins when skin cancer growths were removed?
- How many occurrences have you had?
- Did you have any recurrences of skin cancer spots that were previously removed?
- What was the type of treatment? Chemo? Radiation? Surgery?
- What was the start and completion dates of your treatment?
- How long you have been cancer-free?
- What, if any, medications are you currently taking?
- Do you have annual check-ups with a dermatologist or doctor?
And of course, the life insurer will need to know your basic information. This includes your age, job, driving record, tobacco use, and hobbies.
When Did All Your Skin Cancer Treatments End?
Many cancer patients are prescribed surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation treatments.
The life insurance company will want to know the last date of ALL your cancer treatments.
They want to know all your treatments are completed.
If you are still going through treatments, you will not yet be able to buy traditional life insurance.
Life insurers generally expect an applicant to be 1 YEAR past his/her skin cancer diagnosis and ALL prescribed treatments.
However, these are general guidelines. I have received approvals for people even when it has been less than a year.
Talk about Your Follow-Ups and Any Recurrences
All cancer survivors go for regular check-ups following completion of their treatment.
These check-ups are intended to be sure the cancer has not returned.
Life insurance companies will review your medical files to confirm you have been complying with your regular follow-up appointments.
Furthermore, the life insurance company will look to see if all your check-ups show normal results.
Any abnormalities found will most likely cause your application to be postponed or declined.
As a skin cancer survivor shopping for life insurance, you may be wondering how life insurance companies will view your particular diagnosis.
How Do I Begin Shopping for Life Insurance?
The number of U.S. skin cancer diagnosis increase each year, yet the survival rate continues to rise as well.
All forms of skin cancer found in the earliest stages have a 95% survival rate.
Many seniors like yourself have gone on to secure cheap life insurance despite a previous skin cancer diagnosis.
I can help you make the application process as easy for you as possible.
I can shop the market for you and find the best over 50 life insurance quotes that are available for you.
Fill out a form to get a generic quote or better yet just call me. Your family will thank you!