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Can You Get Life Insurance If You’ve Had Prostate Cancer?

Posted In: Prostate Cancer
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Getting approved for life insurance after prostate cancer is no easy task. But 2.5 million men in the United States have survived prostate cancer and many of them are looking for the best way to get life insurance.

Prostate Cancer in the United States:

  1. One out of every seven adult males will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime
  2. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among American men
  3. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death for American men
  4. There are 2.5 million prostate cancer survivors in the United States today

The good news is that the prostate cancer death rate is decreasing after a peak in 1990. At the same time, survival rates are up, as you can see in the graph below. For prostate cancer survivors seeking life insurance coverage, this means their chances of obtaining life insurance are better than ever.

That’s because insurance carriers frequently update their underwriting guidelines to keep pace with innovation in the medical community.

prostate cancer deaths in the U.S

Does the Type of Prostate Cancer Impact My Life Insurance?

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system which is located in the urinary bladder. Abnormal growths on the prostate gland are called prostate cancer. The most common types of prostate cancer are sarcoma and adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma has a better prognosis than sarcoma as it grows slower than sarcoma.

The type of prostate cancer you have is less important than the pretreatment PSA levels and Gleason score. Since insurance companies are trying to determine how likely you are to die within the policy period they will be more interested in your general medical health.

My Prostate Cancer is in Remission, Do I Qualify For Life Insurance?

It’s possible to obtain coverage if you’re undergoing treatment for prostate cancer—or if your cancer has been successfully treated and is in remission.

In a recent case we were able to help a 61 year old prostate cancer survivor obtain a term life insurance policy. This particular client, let’s call him “Jim,” had attempted to obtain coverage through him home and auto insurance provider but was declined.

He attempted to obtain coverage through another well known life insurance carrier but was declined again. After several more attempt with local insurance agents Jim decided to call Big Lou®. Big Lou was able to get him a term life insurance policy that met his needs. That’s because Big Lou® specializes in helping men with prostate cancer obtain life insurance.

Life Insurance Underwriting for Prostate Cancer Survivors

The general life insurance application process is no different for men with prostate cancer or prostate cancer survivors. The application process and medical testing (such as blood testing, the submission of medical records, and urine tests) are generally similar.

However—in some cases an insurance carrier’s underwriting department may request additional information such as treatment reports from your doctor or an additional third party medical examination. In some cases your life insurance underwriting may charge an additional premium based on the details uncovered during the underwriting process.

The criteria that will impact your life insurance is:

  1. Your age at the time of a prostate cancer diagnosis
  2. The type of treatment you’re currently receiving or received in the past
  3. When the treatment was completed
  4. The outcomes of any follow up medical testing or treatment
  5. The stage of your prostate cancer during the initial diagnosis

You should work together with your insurance agent to build a portfolio of information about your particular medical case. The more information you have related to the diagnosis and treatment of your prostate cancer the better. Having little or no information about your medical condition and corresponding treatment forces underwriters to assume the worst.

The Five Year Waiting Period For Prostate Cancer Survivors

Is there really a 5 year waiting period for prostate cancer survivors?

At Big Lou® we’ve heard this story many times: a client goes to a local life insurance agent and the agent tells them there’s a 5 year waiting period for prostate cancer survivors. The same agent suggests that the client doesn’t apply for life insurance until 5 years after their treatment is completed.

While there are many life insurance companies that won’t even consider a prostate cancer survivor there are companies that do specialize in writing policies for prostate cancer survivors without a 5 year waiting period.

To be clear—most companies won’t even touch a prostate cancer survivor. That’s why you need to ensure you work with an independent agent that specializes in writing this type of business.

How Much Will I Have to Pay For Life Insurance If I’ve Survived Prostate Cancer?

In the best case scenario, you may qualify for a “standard” health rate class. For example, if you have stage 2 prostate cancer and had a total prostate resection 12 months ago you may still qualify for a standard rating and receive a good price on your life insurance policy.

The bottom line: it depends. Let’s look at the details.

An insurance carrier will look at a number of factors, like the ones we’ve already covered here. First and foremost they are going to look at the pretreatment PSA reading. If the pretreatment PSA reading is less than 20 and your current PSA is undetectable, you’re well positioned to receive a standard health class rating.

Your Gleason score will also play a role in determining your health class and therefore your premium. A Gleason score of less than 6 is needed to secure a standard health rating class.

Maybe you’ve only received radiation treatment and didn’t have to undergo a total prostate resection. If your cancer is in remission and you can prove you’ve been free from any recurrence for the previous 2 years you may be able to receive a standard rating.

In this scenario your pretreatment PSA must be less than 10 and your current PSA must be less than 0.5 with a Gleason score of less than 6.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with prostate cancer, are undergoing treatment or have completed treatment contact Big Lou® today to discuss your life insurance options.