I first wrote this post in 2015. Melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers, but for those who catch it early it is curable. More life insurance companies have opened to the idea of approving policies when clients have low stage melanoma, so time to update. Hope this helps. All the best
Why Are Life Insurance Companies So Squeamish About Melanoma?
So, if you have one instance of a low stage melanoma, why can’t you get approved at the best rate classes? The answer is that melanoma survivors are nine times more at risk of developing subsequent melanoma compared with the general population. The risk remains elevated more than 20 years after the initial melanoma diagnosis. Many of you have read my posts about life insurance post melanoma being approved at better than standard rates and most companies that will approve low stage melanoma will do so at standard or standard plus rates (affordable), but not preferred plus or preferred, the two best rates classes. Of course, I always make much of the fact staging is the key factor in the end rate and or the approval or decline.
And the approval window is small. Stage 0, insitu or stage Tis (fully encapsulated) and stage T1 and occasionally T2a are the only melanoma skin cancers that can be underwritten for life insurance upon successful excision. 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.
When I first wrote this post back in 2015 I had just lost a good friend and client 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.
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.