Many of you have read my posts about melanoma life insurance being approved at better than standard rates and, of course, I always make much of the fact stage and grade are key factors in the end rate and or the approval. Melanoma staging has never been made more real to me than yesterday when I lost two good friends within hours of each other to stage 4 internal melanoma. It’s no wonder that life insurance underwriters have historically been very conservative with melanoma. It wasn’t that long ago that I can remember melanoma of any stage being reason for a decline with almost everyone. Truth is it still is with 99%+ of life insurance companies.
And the approval window is small. Stage 0, insitu (fully encapsalated) and stage T1a and occasionally T1b are the only melanoma skin cancers that can be underwritten for life insurance essentially upon successful treatment. Some of the handful of life insurance companies that will approve those three still make you wait six months to a year. A select few companies will allow approval for life insurance upon removal, successful treatment, of the melanoma, usually after a re excision to check the margins, but within a month more or less, at standard or better rates. But guys, those stages are the true weenies of a killer breed of cancer.
Stage T1c starts the conservative downward spiral of life insurance underwriting for melanoma, usually requiring a flat extra charge per thousand or some years before standard is considered. Anything into stage 2 will not be insurable for some time, years, and then only with a flat extra per thousand and stages 3 and 4 are not insurable at any point at this time. With the advent of new treatments such as immunotherapy there may be better news in the future, but for now, just surviving and not worrying about getting life insurance is the goal.
Bottom line. For me a day of reflection and sorrow. Fortunately both friends were followers of Jesus Christ and are assuredly in a better place now, but they will be missed. If you have any questions about life insurance underwriting of cancer and how stage and grade affect that, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.