There are some things, things medical, mental and lifestyle, that some insurance companies may never let go of. 15 or 20 years after the fact it is entirely possible that there are companies that will unflinchingly say no thanks to your life insurance business even when it seems ludicrous that the original event could even be part of the consideration, let alone a deal killer.

Just so you understand I’m not talking about someone who just completed treatment for stage 4 colon cancer. Their doctor will tell them that they are currently cancer free, meaning in remission, but I doubt seriously a doctor would say that you are cured. But what about 10, 15 or 20 years later? When is a doctor going to declare victory and claim that the cancer will never come back? The answer is probably never, even though he will probably suggest it’s time to quit looking over your shoulder or waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But life insurance underwriters aren’t in charge of your medical care and they are put in the odd position of not knowing the quality of care that you have received and are receiving. They are forced to go with statistics alone and statistics on that stage 4 colon cancer 6% 5 year survival. The doctor says when you reach 10 years that you have beat the the odds. The underwriter at 10 years says you shouldn’t have made it 5 years, why would I assume just because you’re 10 years out that the coast is clear? It doesn’t seem fair that long after a doctor has quit making a fuss over something, a life insurance company still holds a grudge, but then, if the doctor is wrong in letting down their guard they don’t have to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Nothing in what I’ve said so far should insinuate that all life insurance companies will hold really bad things against you forever. I just spoke with a woman today who was treated for stage 4 breast cancer 13 years ago and has had no luck finding someone that will underwrite her even though her annual tumor marker tests and mammograms have been negative for 13 years. She asked if I thought that was fair. I told her it might very well be fair from a life insurance standpoint but that I would be glad to shop it for her. It seemed to me to be something that might find some offers. I’ve talked a lot in this forum about how much life insurance underwriting has changed over the years. 15 years ago the answer probably would have been no way. Medicine has changed and, at least with the best impaired risk life insurance companies, underwriting has started to change with it.

Bottom line. Can life insurance companies hold cancer against you forever? Yes they can. Do all life insurance companies have the same opinion on every subject? The answer is no. If the answer was yes I wouldn’t be in business. There are things that I have to admit I won’t get any offers on, but those are the exception and not the rule. If I have any sense that there might be an offer out there, I shop it. If you have any questions or have a situation that has kept you from getting the life insurance you want, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.

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