A cancer diagnosis begins a process of careful planning; scheduling follow-ups with specialists, setting a course of treatment, eating healthy, and considering the future possibilities are just a few of the ways patients process the news. A heart wrenching part of planning for the future after a cancer diagnosis (especially an advanced cancer) is reconciling the possibility of death.
Cancer.org eases this worry, if only a bit, noting, “You may feel better knowing that the outlook for many people diagnosed with cancer is very good. Many people still believe that “cancer equals death.” But the fact is that most cancers can be treated. There are almost 14 million people living in the United States today who have or had cancer.” However, cancer can be unpredictable. Cancer.org still reports that survival rates vary from patient to patient. Even those in remission should continuously consider their future and the future of their family.
That’s why it’s so important to shop for life insurance. This task is especially challenging since many people with a threatening diagnosis have difficulty getting approved by a life insurance company. If you’re in the process of purchasing life insurance, or even considering it, then check out these six tips.
Life insurance is one of the most important investments that you’ll ever make for the future of your family. Your cancer shouldn’t keep you from getting the protection that they deserve.
1. Get Your Medical Records in Order
Image via Flickr by Muffet
Be prepared for questions. The answers are your medical records. You’ll need documentation to support all your claims. Consider a service such as HealthFrame that allows you to easily compile your personal medical records for quick access. In some cases, HealthFrame may even facilitate the exchange of information to a life insurance provider. The sooner you can answer the questions of a potential provider, the faster you can move to the approval process.
Bonus tip: Livestrong.com notes that many providers consider the date of your last treatment or an official date of remission when approving a policy. Be sure to have this information ready.
2. Shop Around
Shopping around ensures your policy is independently designed and negotiated giving you better odds for life insurance approval. A devastating diagnosis doesn’t absolutely mean you won’t be eligible. Having the right tools on your side when pricing out policies allows you the most competitive rates possible.
3. Consider the Types of Life Insurance
According to Consumer Reports, “Insurance agents push a wide range of products, but the two major types are permanent and term life insurance. Permanent life (which includes whole, universal, and variable life policies) is a mix of life insurance and an investment account that pays a benefit when you die or the built-up cash value if you liquidate it before your death. Term life is pure insurance protection that provides a death benefit if you die within a set number of years and typically nothing if you live beyond that term.”
Note that, depending on your circumstances, only one insurance type may be available to you. Term life insurance typically offers lower rates; however, whole life insurance is more likely to be approved for those with a cancer diagnosis or those in remission. No matter what, expect to pay a higher premium from the start than other policy holders.
Quick Tip: You might have seen some offers on TV for Colonial Penn or AARP, don’t fall for those policies. You can find much cheaper coverage by speaking with an independent life insurance agent or agency.
4. Get Ready to Pay Higher Premiums
Livestrong.com reports, “Today more than 200 insurance companies write life insurance policies in the United States. Not all insure cancer survivors. Those offering life insurance policies for cancer survivors usually require survivors to pay a higher premium.”
Setting aside money before and during the shopping and approval process is crucial to buying life insurance. You may think that it’s an unnecessary extra cost that you’re tacking on to the mounting money associated with your treatment, but it should be factored into your monthly budget just like any other bill.
It’s impossible to know just how much your policy will cost until you’re approved. Until then, plan big and make cuts where you can. Consider the following tips for saving during this time:
Reassess your health insurance policy – With the recent introduction of the Affordable Care Act, it may be possible to qualify for lower rates through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Saving even a few dollars a month from one policy may lend to the other.
Start automatically saving – Many banks and credit card companies now offer new ways to save that you’ll likely barely notice – including automatically adding the change from each purchase to your savings account. Talk to your financial institution about these programs to get creative with your saving.
Focus on people, not experiences – After a cancer diagnosis, it may be tempting to create a bucket list and rush to complete it. Doing so could mean high costs at the expense of new experiences. While you should consider reevaluating your lifestyle, spend the energy you do have spending time with loved ones – it costs nothing and the dividends are tenfold for your health.
5. Wait for Approval
Patience is key when it comes to life insurance approval for a cancer diagnosis. In the meantime, focus your energy on staying healthy and beating the disease. Life insurance providers are interested in your survival as well – whether or not they need to payout depends on it. Remember, even if your application isn’t approved that doesn’t mean you won’t get a second chance with another company. If you aren’t approved, consider this: the appointments you kept and the treatments you took during the approval process weren’t wasted; they may be the very things that another company values for insurance.
6. Understand the Challenges
If you’re armed with the reasons life insurance companies deny individuals, you’re more likely to be able to negotiate with the company or discuss additional options.
It’s also important to understand that these challenges aren’t permanent roadblocks. On buying life insurance post diagnosis, Forbes reports, “Maybe not now, but when you’re five to seven years cancer-free, you should be able to qualify for standard rates.”
Getting An Affordable Life Insurance Plan
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you know that your life insurance plan is going to be more expensive than someone that hasn’t been diagnosed. That doesn’t mean that your life insurance policy is going to cost you a fortune everything month in premiums. There are several ways that you can secure better rates from the insurance company.
The first thing that you should do is improve your health through a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Your cancer diagnosis isn’t the only factor that the insurance company is going to look at when you apply for life insurance coverage. Improving your health is a great way to increase your chances of getting coverage.
Additionally, if you want to improve your chances of getting affordable life insurance, you’ll need to stop smoking or using any forms of tobacco. If you’re listed as a smoker on your application, you can expect to pay much higher premiums versus what a non-smoker is going to pay for the same coverage. If you want to get the most affordable life insurance plan, you’ll need to kick the bad habits once and for all.
The best way to ensure that you’re getting the best rates for your life insurance coverage, you’ll need to compare the rates from dozens of insurance companies, like we mentioned above. The best way to do that is to work with an independent insurance agent. Because there are dozens and dozens of insurance companies on the market, you could spend weeks looking to find the best plan, or you can let us do all of the work for you.
If you have any questions about getting life insurance coverage after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, please contact one of our agents today. We would be happy to answer those questions and ensure that you’re getting the best plan to meet your needs. Our agents have years of experience working with applicants diagnosed with cancer. Our agents can help walk you through the process and make sure that everything is handled correctly.
Every insurance company is different, which means that you could get drastically different rates depending on which company that you choose. Finding the right company could be the difference in getting declined for insurance or finding an affordable policy. Instead of spending weeks researching companies, let us bring all of the rates directly to you. Because we work with dozens of companies, we can help you find the best policy to meet your needs in a matter of minutes. We can save you both time and money.
Have you recently been diagnosed with cancer and considered life insurance? We want to hear from you. If you’ve started shopping, what challenges have you encountered? Share your story in the comments below.
Call us today for a quote at 1-888-552-6159.
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