Life Insurance After Skin Cancer
Can I get life insurance if I have skin cancer? That will depend! Once you have a history of skin cancer you now have a pre-existing medical condition.
When getting life insurance after a skin cancer diagnosis you may be surprised that you are able to purchase any kind of coverage. Above all, it will depend on the type of skin cancer that you have.
There are three types of skin cancer that can have an impact on rates. We will look at every one.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. This year just under 100,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma.
Skin Cancer Life Insurance Rate Class
Now that you know you can get life insurance under certain conditions, let’s talk about how it will affect your rate for skin cancer patients.
Life insurance companies will follow their own guidelines when determining what rating class they will offer. In most cases, the standard is the best rate you will be able to get.
This usually has to do with a diagnosis of Basal Cell or Squamous Cell as these are the most common forms of skin cancer. Now Melanoma, that’s a different story.
The rating class that insurance carriers will offer based on Melanoma will determine on the stage, treatments, and any reoccurrences.
Melanoma rating is usually substandard rates and with a recurrence, it’s normally a decline.
Life Insurance After Melanoma
After being diagnosed with melanoma it can be pretty scary, to say the least. Being able to acquire life insurance will depend on treatment. Let’s face it, melanoma is serious cancer.
However, just like most cancers such as lung, colon or breast cancer, if caught very early you may be surprised to be able to get the near the top rates. Again, it will depend on how early and what type of treatment.
Melanoma In Situ Life Insurance
If you have a history of malignant melanoma in-situ then preferred is possible with some carriers. But it will still be a slim shot. Everything must line up right for the insurance carrier to look at it as low risk.
Here are the main things the underwriter will look at when determining the risk when you are acquiring life insurance with melanoma in-situ.
- Date of diagnosis
- Depth and thickness of the tumor
- Type of treatment
The farther you are away from the date of diagnosis and treatment ending the better your rate will be.
The depths of the skin will have a major factor as well. There are three layers of the skin that is important when having melanoma.
- Hypodermis (Subcutaneous Tissue)
Again, the deeper the tumor goes the (Hypodermis) the more chances the melanoma will spread. If caught early, (Epidermis) then it usually will be a fast surgery with no additional treatment. In this case, better rates will be available.
Again, malignant melanoma in-situ has a possible preferred rate with John Hancock.
Melanoma Life Insurance Underwriting
Ok, this is when we can get down to the nitty-gritty. Understanding the reasons why insurance quotes are what they are will determine what type of insurance coverage you will get.
First thing, you will have to take a medical exam. Keep in mind, with a history of melanoma you will be considered higher risk.
Life insurance underwriters will also want to know how you were diagnosed. So they will be ordering an APS to see the start of this unfortunate journey.
Here are a few things a dermatologist will look at:
- New growth on the skin
- Suspicious change in an existing mole
- Sore that does not heal for a few weeks
The other piece of the puzzle the underwriters will want to look at when determining if the carrier wants to take the risk is the pathology report. This report will have the results of the biopsy which will determine the stage and treatment goals.
This is what the pathology report will determine:
- The thickness of the melanoma
- Presence or absence of ulceration
- If cells are dividing, including type/subtype of melanoma
- Immune cells are present (Lymphocytes)
- Margin status, how deep is the melanoma cells
This will determine which stage or type of melanoma the patient has. The thickness of the tumor will determine the degree of the chances of recurrence.
For instance, more than 4mm thick means a higher chance of recurrence. This also may mean cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body. If this has happened then a biopsy from the lymph nodes will be done.
Ok, so let’s focus on the stages of melanoma and how it will determine life insurance quotes or rates.
Melanoma Stages that life insurance underwriters will look at
Stage 0 – This is referred to as melanoma in-situ where the cells are found in the outer skin (Epidermis)
Stage I – Still in the thin skin, this stage is in 2 subgroups IA or IB, this will depend on the thickness.
Stage II – Thinker than stage I as it is extended through the epidermis to the dermis which is the inner layer of the skin. There are three groups, A, B, or C, depending on the thickness.
Stage III – This is when the melanoma spread locally or through the lymph nodes. This stage is divided into 4 subgroups, A, B, C, or D depending on the size and lymph nodes involved.
STAGE IV – This is when the melanoma spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Most common organs its spreads to are lung, liver, brain, bone or gastrointestinal tract. This is further evaluated on the distance by the following:
- M1a – Spread to distant skin or soft tissues
- M1b – Spread to the lung
- M1c – Spread to any other location but not the central nervous system
- M1d – Spread to the central nervous system, brain, spinal cord
Obviously, the higher the stage the more at risk the underwriters will conclude. Here is the other information that will be with the APS:
- Regular follow-up
- Hospital treatment reports
Here are the likely underwriting decisions:
- In-Situ, possible preferred
- Stage 1 and 2, $5-$7/1000 flat extra for a minimal of 3 years
- Stage 3-4, declined for 2-5 years following treatment.
Standard Plus is possible after 10 years after qualifying for standard rates.
Life Insurance For Melanoma Survivor
If you were a melanoma survivor then you are already blessed. It’s nice to know that you are able to get among the best rates if caught early.
However, even if you beat the higher stages and are not able to get traditional coverage for up to 5 years, you can still get a guaranteed acceptance policy.
Basal Cell Skin Cancer Life Insurance
If you get skin cancer basal cell is the one you want. This is the type of cancer that rarely spreads. Even the APS is not required if it was determined to be basal cell carcinoma.
Consumers diagnosed with basal cell will be able to get standard or better immediately upon removal, Preferred is very possible as well.
Term Life Insurance And Skin Cancer Basal Cell
After a diagnosis of basal cell, underwriting will be the same as if you were not diagnosed.
Skin Cancer Life Insurance Squamous Cell Carcinoma
If you were diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma then you will probably qualify for preferred rates to standard once cancer has been removed.
90% of all skin cancer that is diagnosed is from basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. Again, if you get skin cancer these are the two you want.
For more information, click here for the skin cancer foundation.