As we transition away from September, we are graciously welcomed by the color pink. Everywhere you turn in October you will be reminded of the many women (and even men) who have courageously battled with breast cancer. This month isn’t about professional athletes showing their feminine side with pink patches on their jerseys but to bring awareness and support to a disease that will affect 1 in every 8 women. October embodies the color pink as its identity for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, not because it is synonymous with females, but because the true essence of the color brings a sense of comfort, warmth and hope that everything will be okay. And now there is new hope for breast cancer survivors when applying for a life insurance policy.
Not too long ago, breast cancer survivors had little-to-no hope of acquiring life insurance, even after undergoing successful treatment and remaining cancer-free for years. But with the overwhelming awareness and support for research over the past decade, the rate of survival has dramatically increased. This is BIG news for life insurance underwriters who are basing policy approvals/denials on the likelihood of post-treatment survival. Due to the increasing survival rate, the underwriting process for breast cancer survivors has dramatically changed, allowing survivors obtain to policies if they meet certain guidelines. Below is a list of the new standard questions:
- What type of breast cancer?
- When you were diagnosed?
- What stage were you in?
- How big was the tumor?
- Were lymph nodes involved
- Did it metastasize?
- What type of treatment did you receive?
- How long since treatment?
- When did you start/finish treatment?
- Was there any recurrence?
- Are you on medications, what kind?
The likelihood for acceptance and the policy rate issued relies heavily on the answers to these questions. Those survivors who were diagnosed early with no lymph nodes affected and received treatments have an almost guaranteed standard rate approval. The more mature and involved the cancer becomes, the tougher the requirements become. However, the longer the period of time one waits to apply for life insurance – postpone period – after successfully completing treatment, the better odds you have of qualifying for a standard rate.
It is worth mentioning that as research and survival rates continue to grow, some life insurance companies are now beginning to offer some breast cancer survivors standard rates, without the flat extra fee. This flat extra fee is common for cancer survivors and is an additional premium that can decrease and disappear over time, so long as the client remains cancer-free. The Good News: the upward trend in breast cancer survival is allowing companies to do away with this flat extra fee for those who had stage 0 or 1 with no lymph node involvement. This flat extra fee will most likely appear for those who had more advance staged breast cancer, but will similarly diminish over time.
Therefore, best rule of thumb is to stay up to date on your check-ups, seek a doctor for any concerns, and live a healthy, smoke-free lifestyle. The sooner any cancer is found, the better the chances are for survival as well the ability to obtain a good life insurance policy once recovered. Mammograms: good for your health, good for your life insurance rates!