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Breast Cancer Life Insurance

Can breast cancer survivors get life insurance?

Yes, and we help you get approved with life insurers that specialize in high-risk.

Breast Cancer Life Insurance Overview

Breast cancer life insurance underwriting depends on:

  • The type of breast cancer you had
  • Cancer stage
  • Treatment received
  • Time since completing treatment

We specialize in cancer life insurance and will help you find affordable life insurance from top-rated companies.


How does breast cancer affect life insurance?

After you complete all treatment, most life insurers postpone offering coverage for a period of time.

After the postpone period, a flat extra charge may be added to your price.

While flat extras are temporary (3-5 years), they are expensive and add $600 – $1,000 per every $100,000 of coverage.

For most breast cancer survivors, a “standard” or possibly a “standard plus” is the best rate that will ever be available.


Life insurance by breast cancer stage

The cancer stage is the starting point for life insurance companies. 

While many other factors impact life insurance underwriting, all carriers start with the breast cancer stage.

Keep in mind that the following are general guidelines as every cancer history is uniquely different.


Stage Zero Breast Cancer Life Insurance

Stage zero breast cancer, also commonly referred to as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

This is the earliest form of breast cancer.

It may be possible to obtain life insurance 3-6 months after treatment has been completed.

You may be able to get a “standard” or “standard plus” rate with some companies.

If you had lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), the same underwriting rules as DCIS apply.

The best way to start is with a copy of the pathology report.

The reason why is that slight variations may result in significantly different underwriting outcomes.

Details that we need to know about your DCIS history include:

  • What type of DCIS did you have?
    • DCIS
    • DCIS with micro-invasion
    • Invasive DCIS
  • What was the DCIS Grade?
    • Low grade (grade 1)
    • Moderate grade (grade 2)
    • High grade (grade 3)
  • What was the hormone receptor status?
    • Estrogen Receptor (ER) positive or
    • Estrogen Receptor negative?

How was the DCIS treated?

  • Lumpectomy
  • Lumpectomy and radiation
  • Mastectomy
  • Hormone therapy (Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Aromasin, etc.)

The above factors determine when life insurance is available.

Client life insurance success story for DCIS:
  • Age 49 at time of diagnosis
  • The mammogram detected a lump.
  • Biopsy confirmed DCIS
  • Lumpectomy completed, surgical margins were negative.
  • Cancer tested ER-Positive.
  • Radiation treatment for 3 weeks after surgery.

For this client, Prudential offered the best option at a non-smoker plus (standard plus) final offer.

We use a quick quote process that allows us to shop life insurers quickly for underwriting feedback.

The benefit of a quick quote is you’ll receive preliminary quotes upfront before you complete an application.


Stage 1 Breast Cancer

breast cancer factors

Most Stage 1A and Stage 1B cancers are insurable within 3-6 months of treatment.

The following weigh more favorably in underwriting:

  • Stage 1A or Stage 1B breast cancer
  • Low-Grade tumors
  • Age 40 or older at time of diagnosis
  • Tumor size is 10 mm or less in size
  • Estrogen Receptor-Positive (ER-Positive)
  • No lymph node involvement
  • No family history of breast cancer with mothers.

Stage 1c breast cancers follow the underwriting rules for stage 2 cancers as mentioned later in this article.

Stage 1 Breast Cancer Life Insurance Outcomes

If your breast cancer was ER-Positive, standard life insurance rates are possible.

If not ER-Positive, most insurers will postpone offering life insurance for 1-2 years after all treatment.

A temporary flat extra (3-5 years) of $500-$750 per every $100,000 of life insurance is added to the standard rate.

If your cancer was stage 1C breast cancer, please follow the guidelines for Stage 2 cancers mentioned below.


Stage 2 Breast Cancer

Stage 2 breast cancers require a postpone period before life insurance will be available.

The waiting period depends on factors such as:

  • Was the cancer Stage 2A or 2B?
  • What was the size of the tumor?
  • Were any lymph nodes positive for cancer?
  • If yes, how many and where were they located?
  • HER2 status – was the tumor positive or negative?
  • ER-Positive – was the tumor estrogen receptor-positive?
  • Was the tumor progesterone receptor positive or negative?
  • Was an Oncotype DX Score completed?  If yes, what was the score?

Stage 2A breast cancers typically require 5-year waiting periods after completion of all treatment.

Stage 2B breast cancers require 5-10 year postpone periods before life insurance is available.

Best Case Scenario for Stage 2 Breast Cancers

When life insurance is available, it’s common to see underwriting offers as follows:

Stage 2A Breast Cancer

Standard rates plus a table rating and a flat extra will apply.

The table rating is permanent and adds 50% to standard rates.

The temporary flat extra will add $1,000 – $1,500 per every $100,000 of coverage you apply for.

Stage 2B Breast Cancer

The difference between Stage 2A and 2B cancers is the length of time that the flat extra will last.

Standard rates plus the 50% table rating and the temporary flat extra expense.


Stage 3 breast cancers

Stage 3 breast cancer requires postpone periods of 10-15 years.

Life insurance is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Best-case scenarios require a 50-100% table rating and a flat extra expense.

The flat will add $1,500 – $2000 per every $100,000 of life insurance range.


Stage 4 breast cancers

The type of life insurance available for stage 4 breast cancers is limited to guaranteed issue life insurance policies.

For estate planning cases involving a survivorship policy, one insured may be listed as uninsurable.


Breast Cancer Life Insurance Underwriting Questions

Underwriters need to know:

  1. What type of breast cancer did you have?
  2. When were you diagnosed with breast cancer?
  3. What type of treatment did you receive?
  4. When did you start and finish all treatment?
  5. Stage of breast cancer?
  6. The grade of the cancer cells?
  7. What was the size of the tumor?
  8. Were surgical margins positive, negative or close?
  9. Were any lymph nodes positive for cancer?
  10. If yes, how many and where were they located?
  11. Were breast cells hormone receptor-positive or negative?
  12. Did you have genetic testing?
  13. If yes, what test and what were the results?
  14. Have you had any breast cancer recurrences?
  15. Do you take any medications?  If yes, what do you take?
  16. Is there any family history of breast cancer?
  17. Have you had any other health issues?

Don’t worry if you do not have all the answers to the following.  We’ll work with the information you have available.


Declined or Rated Due to Breast Cancer?

Have you been denied life insurance due to breast cancer?

Some of the common misconceptions about life insurance for breast cancer survivors include:

  • If one company declines me, they all will – FALSE
  • Ratings will be the same with each company – FALSE
  • The waiting period is the same with all life insurers – FALSE
  • My agent told me the offer I received is the best – Maybe

Of the 100+ life insurers in America, less than 10 of these companies specialize in life insurance for breast cancer survivors.

This is where we can help you with our underwriting expertise. 

We’ll help you find the best life insurance companies based on your individual breast cancer history.


Breast Cancer Conclusion

Something for you to keep in mind is that you should re-shop the market each year when a flat extra is involved.

The reason why is that we may find a company next year that doesn’t require the flat extra.

First off, there is never any pressure or obligation with our service.

You get the information you need to make an informed decision about life insurance.

At any time should you change your mind, simply tell us to close your file!

With our process, we’ll gather your medical history and reach out to life insurers for underwriting feedback. 

It takes 3-4 days to receive all preliminary underwriting feedback.

We’ll tell you what each company has to say and what to expect in terms of price.

Or call us at Toll-Free 800-909-2040 to discuss.  Thank you.

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Meet the Author - Michael Horbal

That’s me to the left. I’m the founder and owner of RiskQuoter. I hate the fact that many people pay too much for life insurance because they end up with the wrong life insurance company, agent or both.

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There’s never any pressure or obligation with my life insurance service. Get the information you need to make an informed decision for yourself.

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