Thyroid Cancer and Over 50 Life Insurance

The American Cancer Society estimates around 53,990 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed this year.

They predict 2,060 deaths from thyroid cancer before the close of 2018.

The good news in this report is that thyroid cancer has one of the best survival rates of any cancer diagnosis.

Life insurance companies recognize this reality.

Therefore, it is very possible for the majority of thyroid cancer survivors over 50 to secure affordable life insurance.

Securing a cheap life insurance when you are in your 50’s and 60’s is all about finding the insurance carrier that will look at your application most favorably.

It’s also important to be prepared for the application process and to know what to expect.

As an experienced  independent agent I can help.

In this article you will learn more about how your application may be viewed by an insurance company, as well as what rate class you are likely to be approved for.

Let’s get into the details!

What Kind of Thyroid Cancer Did You Have?

The type, stage, and grade of cancer are three of the biggest influences on your overall prognosis, as well as your life insurance application.

As you probably know, there are four categories of thyroid cancer:

  • Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma
  • Follicular Thyroid Carcinoma
  • Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma
  • Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma

Each type of thyroid cancer equates to a different level of risk for the insurance company.  This is because the prognosis for each version is so diverse.

Papillary & Follicular Thyroid Carcinoma – These are the most common forms of thyroid cancer. In fact, over 90% of ALL thyroid cancers are papillary or follicular. Most of these thyroid cancers occur in younger individuals, ages 20 to 40. They also have the best prognosis as the majority of papillary or follicular cancers will be cured.

If you had Papillary thyroid cancer but have no other big risks (such as other chronic health conditions or risky hobbies like piloting) in your profile, you should be able to easily qualify for a Standard rate, or even Preferred.

If you had Follicular thyroid cancer but have no other major concerns about your medical history and lifestyle habits, you will probably qualify for a Standard rate.

Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma – Medullary is responsible for 3-4% of all thyroid cancers.

Medullary cancer appears infrequently and is normally linked to heredity. Stage I medullary cancer has a good prognosis while higher stages are a bit more challenging.

Securing life insurance over 50 with Medullary thyroid cancer is possible with lower stage diagnosis.

Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma – This type occurs in only 1-2% of those diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It is rare. It is aggressive. This makes Anaplastic thyroid cancer the most difficult to treat and control.

Anaplastic has the highest mortality rate among all thyroid cancers. This means if you’ve had Anaplastic then it may very difficult for you to obtain a life insurance plan.

The longer it has been since you were originally diagnosed with Anaplastic the better your chances of getting coverage.

What Will the Insurance Company Want to Know About Me?

When applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy the insurance company will do a thorough underwriting process.

It start with the application which will ask you the basic like your age, your lifestyle, your smoking status, your overall medical history, and your driving record.

The insurance company may review your medical records.

They will also run prescription drug check to see what type of medications you’ve been prescribed, and if you are compliant with those medications.

The life insurer will look at whether you are showing up for your regular check-ups. If you are not doing so, it will reflect negatively on your application.

The insurance company wants to be sure you are taking care of your health.

If you want the carrier to take a risk on you, they will expect you to hold up your end of the bargain— try your best to stay healthy.

What Will the Life Insurer Want to Know about My Thyroid Cancer?

The insurance company will want to know:

  • What type of thyroid cancer were you diagnosed with?
  • What were your initial thyroid cancer symptoms?
  • What was the stage of your thyroid cancer?
  • Did any of your lymph nodes have cancer?
  • Did the cancer spread to any other organs? If so, which organs?
  • How old were you when you were diagnosed with thyroid cancer?
  • What type of treatment(s) did you receive?
  • What, if any, complications did you experience from your treatment(s)?
  • What was the last date all your treatment(s) were completed?
  • Are you (or were you) in remission? When were you first NED (no evidence of disease)?
  • Have you had any recurrences of your illness? If so, please provide details about the recurrence.

What Other Things Do Life Insurance Companies Check Into?

In addition to evaluating the above details, a life insurer will also check into the National Cancer Institute’s “Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results” (SEER) database.

The information included in the SEER database is generated from oncologists, doctors, and medical researchers across the United States.

The SEER database offers insurance companies the capability of reviewing nameless patient demographics, diagnosis stages, first-course treatment plans, morphology, tumor locations, and follow-up procedures.

The insurance company will use the SEER statistics in reviewing your application.

Finally, unless you are applying for a no exam life insurance policy, you will also need to do a para-medical exam.

For this exam, a nurse will come to your home and collect blood and urine samples. This exam is normally completed in less than 30 minutes.

What Rate Class Will I Qualify For After Thyroid Cancer?

As I mentioned earlier, each life insurance company has different guidelines.

So your application with one carrier may be viewed positively while another carrier may decline your application altogether.

Life insurance companies generally use these rating classes to determine premiums. Keep in mind, the better the rating then the lower the premiums.

  • Preferred Plus – Typically thyroid cancer survivors of any form will not qualify for the Preferred Plus rating
  • Preferred – Possible if diagnosed with low stage Papillary cancer
  • Standard – Usually for those diagnosed with Papillary cancer or Follicular, some with low stage Medullary may qualify too
  • Sub-Standard (aka Table Rating) – Some, more advanced cases of, Medullary cancer and possibly Anaplastic (if diagnosed and treated many years ago).

A “Table Rating” can fall into one of  up to 16 different levels below “Standard”. Each level increases the overall premium by about 25% on average. This amount can vary from company to company.

Remember, the rate class you are approved for and the cost you’ll have to pay for life insurance will be based on ALL your personal information, not just your thyroid cancer. 

However, in regard to your thyroid cancer, the life insurer is looking to see the curability of your cancer.

The rate class you may be approved for will greatly depend on the likelihood that you your cancer will stay cured.

I am very familiar with the insurance companies that that are more lenient for seniors looking for quality life insurance protection.

More Ratings Possibilities for Thyroid Cancer Survivors

Instead of approving you with a table rating, a life insurance company may approve at a Standard Rate class and then add a surcharge (also called a “flat extra”) for a fixed amount of time.

The flat extra charge is usually $5 to $10 per $1,000 in coverage. For example, a $200,000 life insurance policy you would pay an additional $1,000 to $2,000 for a specific amount of time.

Once the time has passed, the flat extra fee will be dropped. Then you will simply pay the Standard Rate going forward.

Also, applicants still undergoing cancer treatments are always declined. The applicant must abide by the life insurance company’s waiting period.

If you are not able to be approved for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy, you may need apply for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy instead.

This type of life insurance does not involve any underwriting or medical exams.

Tips for Over 50 Life Insurance with Thyroid Cancer

There are lots of ways you can try to save on your life insurance premiums such as being a healthy weight, keeping fit, and not smoking.

In fact, smoking will double your life insurance premium. So put down that cigarette!

First or all, you should certainly secure insurance sooner rather than later.

Also, if you go through a positive change in your health status (like losing some weight or giving up chewing tobacco) then you may want to apply for a “reconsideration”.

This is an opportunity for your life insurance company to review your profile once more, with your current health improvements taken into consideration, and possibly approving you at a better rate class.

Every life insurance policy typically offers one consideration during the lifetime of the policy.

Finally, I strongly urge you to be honest on your life insurance application.

Denying, lying, or withholding details about yourself never works. In the end, dishonesty will only cause more headaches.

Besides it’s fraud to lie on an application.  Don’t do it.

Your life insurance coverage is too precious to put at risk!

What’s Next?

A thyroid cancer diagnosis is generally not a death sentence. This is because most thyroid cancers have a nearly 100% 5-year survival rate.

This translates to the majority of individuals over age 50 with thyroid cancer being able to secure an affordable life insurance plan.

I will be able to guide you through the entire application process and can answer all your questions along the way.

Get the peace of mind you deserve today.

I look forward to an opportunity to help you protect your family.