Life Insurance Is Available to Recovering Cervical Cancer Patients

A fresh survey of top life insurers has revealed that life insurance is available to recovering cervical cancer patients, contrary to what most people might believe.

Every year, the United States Congress designates the month of January as Cervical Health Awareness Month with the mission of spreading awareness on issues related to cervical cancer, HPV disease and the importance of early detection.

The awareness is also sponsored by the National Cervical Cancer Coalition and its local chapters across the country. While NCCC Chapters host events throughout the year, the month of January has a special educational meaning as Cervical Heath Awareness Month and working towards spreading the word about the importance of cervical health.

As part of the awareness month, the NCCC has released “Ten Things to Know about HPV” pamphlet to help educate individuals about the virus, which is thought to cause certain cancers in women. The pamphlet addresses all of the main issues surrounding HPV and how you can get help.

Cervical cancer is a serious disease that used to be the leading cause of cancer related deaths among women in the United States.

However, due to medical advancements in the past 40 years, the number of cases of cervical cancer and the number of deaths from the cancer has significantly decreased. The cancer is now ranked as the 14th most common cancers affecting U.S. women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this decline was largely due to the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which help detect abnormalities before they turn into cancerous cells.

Being diagnosed with cervical cancer not only affects your health and state of mind, but it can also affect your ability to get life insurance, yet, depending upon your profile, there may be some good news.

As like any other type of cancer or disease, your insurability really depends on a number of factors – including the severity of your cancer and the look back period each company uses from the date of diagnosis.

If you are a recovering cervical cancer patient and want to apply for life insurance, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • When were you diagnosed with cervical cancer?
  • What stage was the cancer?
  • How was it treated?
  • When did you complete your treatments for cervical cancer?
  • Have there been any recurrences?
  • Do you have a family history of cervical cancer?
  • Do you smoke or have any other health-related problems?
  • How long have you been cancer-free?

When shopping for life insurance, market analyst Michael Bruce said, “work closely with a competent agent who represents many companies, apply to only one at a time and always be truthful in your answers.”

“Another tip is to have the agent first make an informal inquiry to the insurer he or she thinks is most likely to want your business,” Bruce said. “This relieves stress and helps put into perspective the likely final premium. But understand that, once underwritten, the life insurer could come in as quoted, come with a higher premium offer or decline you altogether.”

Insurance companies will use all of the provided information to determine whether or not you qualify for life insurance. A key element for qualifying for life insurance is number of years you have been cancer-free and your current health status. Companies typically look for three years or longer of no problems before they want to underwrite your application.

While rate-class verbiage does vary from one company to another, focus on the price being offered.

Generally speaking, individuals who were diagnosed with cervical cancer will not qualify for “preferred plus” or “preferred” ratings (the best ratings) as the risk for future problems is too high.

However, a surprising 20 percent of life insurers surveyed stated that their preferred rates might be available to a former cervical cancer patient as long as the cancer was termed stage 0 with carcinoma in situ (i.e., the cancer had not spread to any neighboring tissue), the individual had a hysterectomy, it had been at least five years since the last round of treatments and the applicant tested negative for HPV.

In most circumstances, the best case scenario for a cervical cancer survivor who was diagnosed with either a stage 0 or stage 1 cancer and has completed treatment at least three years ago is known as “standard” or “standard plus” (i.e., the second best rating). This is also assuming they had a hysterectomy and the cancer did not spread.

As the severity of the cancer increases, so do the rates for life insurance to the point where a stage 4 cancer patient may be deemed uninsurable. Individuals who were diagnosed with stage 2 or higher should plan on waiting five to seven years after completing treatment to qualify for a traditional term life insurance policy.

If the agent deems you uninsurable in the standard life insurance markets, make sure to ask about what is known as “guaranteed issue” plans.

As Bruce explained, “There’s a segment of life insurers out there who provide life insurance without asking any medical questions and without any medical exams. These policies have low face amounts between $5,000 and, say, $35,000. Their premiums are guaranteed for life – and they ask no health questions. These policies cost more than traditional life insurance because of the risk and they typically require you to live three years before the full policy limit goes into effect.”

Qualifying for life insurance after cervical cancer depends upon the staging of your cancer, your recovery period and your ability to locate a competent agent who has the market access to shop several insurers on your behalf.

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