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.
For many people, they may just be looking to see how much final expense insurance can cost; if this is you, contact us and we’ll provide you with numbers from several carriers so you can see what is best for you, your family, and your budget.
Obtaining Life Insurance Coverage after a Cancer Diagnosis
1. Get Your Medical Records in Order
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.
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, variable life and universal 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
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
If you’ve applied for a policy where cancer documents need to be heavily reviewed and verified by the underwriter, patience is necessary; it can take a long time.
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.”
Know You’re Getting The Best Value
One thing to consider throughout the course of your buying experience is every agent can only offer you the same thing. Going to ten or twelve different life insurance agents won’t actually do much, at all.
Each agent has the same access to the same policies, all with the same rates.
The ones who will truly make a difference for you are those who know cancer the best and matching you to the insurer who is the most liberal, given your situation and variables therein. We are one of those agencies.
Our superior process truly weeds out the companies who won’t be a great fit, or will just charge you extra high premiums because they don’t like the risk.
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.