How Can a History of Skin Cancer Affect My Life Insurance?

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It should come as no surprise to you that buying life insurance with pre-existing medical conditions is not only more expensive but, many times, is impossible to achieve. When it comes to skin cancer, the type you had, recurrences, stage, and many other factors will be among the few questions your broker will ask to determine your eligibility for coverage.

In this post, I will go over the concerns the insurance carrier will have if you have had a history of skin cancer, the rates you should expect to get, and the type of cancer that will get you approved or denied.

Related: Life insurance for high-risk individuals

What Is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. It is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells caused by ultraviolet radiation from overexposure to the sun. There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. I will go over the underwriting scenarios for each form of cancer below.

What Are the Insurance Companies Looking for When Insuring Skin Cancer Survivors?

When insuring individuals with a history of skin cancer, the insurance underwriter is interested in a few necessary parameters to gauge the risk you pose to the insurer. How severe was the condition? Have you received full treatment? Are you following your doctor’s orders? This approach applies to other types of medical impairments such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or sleep apnea, for instance. Let’s discuss the questions the underwriter will ask that are related to skin cancer:

Related: What do life insurance companies test for in underwriting?

Date of First Diagnosis

The date you were diagnosed along with how much time has passed since will give the underwriter an idea of how safe you are to insure. For instance, if you had melanoma type, you will need to wait four years before being considered for coverage.

Which Type of Skin Cancer Have You Had?

This question is a big one not only concerning your overall health but your life insurance rates. As mentioned above, there are three types of skin cancer:

  1. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type and has the best prognosis. BCCs looks like open sores, red patches, or scars and are usually attributed to excessive sun exposure. They are rarely metastasized (spread) beyond the original location, even though recurrences are pretty frequent. BCC is highly treatable, and from the insurance company’s standpoint, you can get preferred or preferred best rates after excision.
  2. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type, which develops in the squamous cells that make up the middle and outer layers of the skin. Recurrences are frequent, and 3% to 10% will spread. With localized SCC, and surgically removed, you can expect preferred or preferred best rates.
  3. Malignant melanoma is the least common but most dangerous form of skin cancer. These abnormal cell growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations which lead to multiplication and spreading of the skin cells and form malignant tumors. Recurrent melanomas are declined.

Has the Cancer Metastasized (spread) Beyond the Skin?

The pathology report will not only help the doctor come up with a treatment plan but will also give the life insurance underwriter more information about your insurability chances.

The underwriter will take a close look at the staging, classification, and ratings based on the staging system. A skin cancer staging system is based on TNM (Tumor, node, metastasis). The tumor’s criteria (Tis, T1a, T1b, T2a, etc.), thickness, Clark’s level, and ulceration are the parameters that you will need to know and submit with your life insurance application.

Has There Been Any Evidence of Recurrence?

Recurrences of basal skin cancer are common but rarely spread to other body parts. If, however, you’ve had recurrences in the malignant melanoma type, positive lymph nodes, or metastases, you will not be able to buy a traditional life insurance policy and may need to opt for a guaranteed issue policy.

Related: What to do if my application for life insurance was denied?

The Numbers of Episodes and Date of Last Episode

This is another crucial factor in assessing the seriousness of your condition. The number of episodes along with the amount of time since the last one may get your application postponed for four years or more.

What Other Questions Will the Underwriter Ask?

life insurance underwriting questions

Skin cancer isn’t the only issue the underwriter is interested in. Your overall health, family history, driving records among many others are also a vital part in the underwriting process. Note that if your skin cancer was malignant melanoma, the underwriter will order APS (attending physician statement) to confirm the stage, type, and criteria. Below are a few questions you should be ready to answer:

  • Current age
  • Gender
  • State of residence
  • Height and weight
  • Income and liabilities
  • Occupation
  • High-risk hobbies (if any)
  • Current and past health history
  • Family history
  • Foreign travel
  • Smoking habits
  • Alcohol habits
  • Driving history
  • Criminal history
  • Prescription usage

What Rate Class Can I Qualify for If I Had Skin Cancer?

If you only had basal cell carcinoma, you may get preferred or preferred best rates. Keep in mind that if you have any other health issues, such as depression or being overweight, it will push the prices much higher. As a broker, I usually quote individuals with a history of skin cancer a standard rate.

The insurance company, not the broker, is the one who dictates the final rate, so I like to be a little more conservative and not give any false hopes. If they come back at a preferred rate, I’m as happy as they are. For the more severe type, such as melanoma, there are too many variables to conclude, and without knowing about the stage, Clark’s level, ulceration, and thickness, it will be impossible to estimate.

Life Insurance with a History of Skin Cancer Sample Monthly Rates

skin cancer life insurance sample rates

40-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class$100,000$250,000$500,000
 Preferred$13.03$21.66$37.63
 Standard $18.23$32.59$59.94
 Table B$23.49$41.67$75.60
 Table D$29.57$53.81$98.96

40-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class$100,000$250,000$500,000
 Preferred$11.43$18.81$32.38
 Standard $16.10$28.87$51.93
 Table B $20.34$34.41$62.63
 Table D$25.37$44.03$81.66

50-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class$100,000$250,000$500,000
 Preferred$26.53$49.44$91.18
 Standard $37.36$77.31$143.59
 Table B$49.22$98.11$187.19
 Table D$63.87$129.06$247.74

50-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class$100,000$250,000$500,000
 Preferred$19.92$37.80$69.08
 Standard$29.05$58.36$110.95
 Table B$38.98$73.17$137.23
 Table D$50.22$94.63$181.13

60-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class$100,000$250,000$500,000
 Preferred$64.79$127.83$243.38
 Standard$91.85$204.70$392.71
 Table B$126.00$251.41$492.75
 Table D$166.25$333.37$655.15

60-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class$100,000$250,000$500,000
 Preferred$42.96$92.97$170.12
 Standard$65.62$143.50$273.89
 Table B$86.10$175.83$337.70
 Table D$113.05$232.60$448.42

Bottom Line

Every life insurance company has its own process for underwriting individuals for coverage. Where one company charges you a standard rate, the other will offer preferred. If you have a history of skin cancer and are looking for a life insurance policy, work with a broker who represents many companies instead of an agent who represents one company.

Saving money on life insurance starts by choosing the best company for your unique health condition. That is what we do here at Effortless Insurance. We work for you by matching you with the best company for your circumstances. You can give us a call at 866-326-3053 for a quick, unbiased quote, or you can go ahead and run the quotes yourself on this page and receive instant quotes. (be sure to select the regular health class).

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2018-09-16T18:23:11+00:00July 18th, 2018|Categories: Impaired Risk|0 Comments

About the Author:

Ron is a licensed life & health insurance broker. He has two amazing rescued Pitbulls. He also enjoys real food, heavy squats, critical thinking, and reading.

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