How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

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Topic Author
doss
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How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by doss » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:06 am

I am shopping around for life insurance and would like to ask for help in determining how much insurance I should get. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) I am a cancer survivor at age 39, so I am guessing the rates are going to be high.

Here are the stats:

- Family of 3 (me, wife, 2yr old, plan for 1 more in next year)
- wife is a SAHM but has a master's degree and will return to work in a few years (teacher)
- Monthly mortgage of $1,043 (owe about $135k)
- annual expenses (includes mortgage) is about $50k/yr
- Retirement account: $360k
- Salary: $153k
- current savings: $50k
- currently not funding for kids college...might just use some from Roth IRAs when it comes time to that.
- employer provides $50k life for free

How much insurance should I aim for? I have got a few quotes (no medical exam) for $1mil @ 1000/yr on 20yr term....seems high...but do I really need 1mil ? Maybe something around 750k?

123
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by 123 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:13 am

I would be shopping for not less than $1 million. You have to also consider the likelihood of inflation over time that diminishes the cost of the policy over time but also diminishes the purchasing power of the face amount.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

DerekintheMountains
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by DerekintheMountains » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:44 am

doss wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:06 am
How much insurance should I aim for? I have got a few quotes (no medical exam) for $1mil @ 1000/yr on 20yr term....seems high...but do I really need 1mil ? Maybe something around 750k?
I am unfortunately familiar with the life insurance search being a relatively young individual with a family and a cancer history.

The big variable is obviously how far out in remission you are. I ended up getting my policy at age 35 after 8 years remission and most ranges were $600-$800 a year. (For $1 mill.) If you are less than 8 years that would likely be higher. Also discovered the cancer type played a part. Also being in decent health outside of the cancer history helped for the general medical exams. All that to say your quotes seem about what I would expect.

I decided I couldn't go less than $1 mill after weighing pros/cons of young family and possibility of cancer reimergence. Obviously a personal decision on my part.

-D

Rupert
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by Rupert » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:45 am

Whether you're insurable at all depends on the type of cancer you had, the staging of that cancer, and how many years you have been cancer free. With that medical history, I strongly recommend that you speak to an independent insurance broker and let the broker shop policies for you.

jminv
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by jminv » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:59 am

Are those quotes before or after disclosing your medical history to them? You will also grant them access your medical records as part of the underwriting process. If it’s after, then those aren’t bad rates given the history. Relative who had me help them obtain one of the policies and had to explain a few of her prescriptions to the insurance company so they have the ability to at least search your prescription history somehow. Was sort of surprised they could do this but they can. Unrelated, but they also perform background checks which was not a problem but something else that surprised me but makes sense.

Do you have life insurance offered through work? Sometimes those policies are not based on health but employment. Federal government agency I am familiar with had policies like this, you could add up to 5x salary coverage (1x is free, part of employment). The non-free coverage got quite expensive as you grew older (around 1k/month for 1.25 mil coverage for someone in their 60s but then again you could get it even if you were sick so makes sense). You could see about finding a job that offers something similar if yours doesn’t.

BruDude
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by BruDude » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:03 am

Rupert wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:45 am
Whether you're insurable at all depends on the type of cancer you had, the staging of that cancer, and how many years you have been cancer free. With that medical history, I strongly recommend that you speak to an independent insurance broker and let the broker shop policies for you.
x2

Quotes are meaningless if you can't qualify for them. Type of cancer, staging, Gleason score, what treatment was done, duration of treatment before being released from doctor's care, was there any recurrence, medications used, current follow-up testing, etc will all factor into this. If your cancer was in the past 10 years you will probably have a flat extra rating at minimum. Given your young age, I suspect this will be a tough case if it was any type of internal cancer in the past 10 years. Prepare to spend a lot more than $1000/year for $1M. I looked at the rates for your age and $1M for 20 years would be $1,137/year at the absolute lowest if you can qualify for a Standard health rating. It is very unlikely that you will qualify for Standard unless it was something like skin cancer many years ago.

If you are assigned a flat extra rating, the insurance company will charge a flat dollar amount per thousand dollars of coverage. For example, a flat extra of $5 means that for a $1M policy you would pay $5,000 plus the actual cost of coverage. The goal is to find a company with no flat extra rating or the lowest rating possible. You need the help of an independent agent. Do not do this on your own.

deikel
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by deikel » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:50 am

123 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:13 am
I would be shopping for not less than $1 million. You have to also consider the likelihood of inflation over time that diminishes the cost of the policy over time but also diminishes the purchasing power of the face amount.
But time also diminishes the need for a life insurance since your dependents are now more independent.

Don't forget to insure your wife in case that was not a topic yet, her status as SAHM is actually worth a lot of money that you would need if she would pass away, arguably hers should be higher than yours since she only needs to replace your salary and the world would move on, but you would have to replace a caregiver for the kids in order to keep your job.
Everything you read in this post is my personal opinion. If you disagree with this disclaimer, please un-read the text immediately and destroy any copy or remembrance of it.

Topic Author
doss
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by doss » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:36 pm

jminv wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:59 am

Do you have life insurance offered through work? Sometimes those policies are not based on health but employment. Federal government agency I am familiar with had policies like this, you could add up to 5x salary coverage (1x is free, part of employment). The non-free coverage got quite expensive as you grew older (around 1k/month for 1.25 mil coverage for someone in their 60s but then again you could get it even if you were sick so makes sense). You could see about finding a job that offers something similar if yours doesn’t.
That's a good point. I checked with my employer and they offer a group plan life insurance (no medical history needed), but it looks like maximum benefit is 500k...and that appears to be at $70/mo.

Topic Author
doss
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by doss » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:11 pm

jminv wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:59 am
Are those quotes before or after disclosing your medical history to them?
Those quotes are after I told them I was a cancer survivor. But, that does not include the medical history.

randomguy
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by randomguy » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:16 pm

deikel wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:50 am
123 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:13 am
I would be shopping for not less than $1 million. You have to also consider the likelihood of inflation over time that diminishes the cost of the policy over time but also diminishes the purchasing power of the face amount.
But time also diminishes the need for a life insurance since your dependents are now more independent.

Don't forget to insure your wife in case that was not a topic yet, her status as SAHM is actually worth a lot of money that you would need if she would pass away, arguably hers should be higher than yours since she only needs to replace your salary and the world would move on, but you would have to replace a caregiver for the kids in order to keep your job.
Yes and that decrease is much faster than inflation in most cases. And your savings should be growing. I could see arguements for 500k-1 million. You could also do 2 policies (say 500k for 20 years and 500k for 10 years) to protect against short term risk. You would have to price it out to see if the savings make anysense at all. Both 500k or 1 million are both going to require your wife to go back to work at some point.

840/year for 500k versus 1000/year for 1 million doesn't sound a like a good deal but that is my general impression of any policy that doesn't requie a health check.

confusedinaz
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by confusedinaz » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:30 pm

I am a few years younger than you, but also a cancer survivor.

I had to wait five years from my diagnosis/treatment to get any reasonable rates. I have a 30 year $500k policy with a 20 year $1.5m policy rider (i.e. $2m for first 20 years then drops to $500k). It costs me about $1800 a year and I am standard plus. When I tried to get a policy before the 5 year mark, I was "rated" and a $1m policy was over $12,000 a year.

As others have mentioned, find an independent insurance broker and have them shop around with your medical history.

jminv
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by jminv » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:31 pm

doss wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:36 pm
jminv wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:59 am

Do you have life insurance offered through work? Sometimes those policies are not based on health but employment. Federal government agency I am familiar with had policies like this, you could add up to 5x salary coverage (1x is free, part of employment). The non-free coverage got quite expensive as you grew older (around 1k/month for 1.25 mil coverage for someone in their 60s but then again you could get it even if you were sick so makes sense). You could see about finding a job that offers something similar if yours doesn’t.
That's a good point. I checked with my employer and they offer a group plan life insurance (no medical history needed), but it looks like maximum benefit is 500k...and that appears to be at $70/mo.
Good to hear your company offers such a plan.

Perhaps sign up for that to have immediate coverage while trying to find something else. I would be worried for my beneficiaries about a rescission during the contestable period (1 or 2 years depending on state) for whatever private non-group policy you go for. It might be a good idea to sign up for group, find the private plan that will take you, and after the contestability period ends, cancel the group assuming the rate ends up being less attractive than the quotation after medical history is provided. I’d probably also sign up for the group first since you might be denied by an insurer which you would then need to disclose to subsequent insurers - which could make you uninsurable.

J295
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by J295 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:40 pm

When I was in your situation quite some years ago, $1 million of coverage was reasonable . And, that was nearly 30 years ago. Today, I would be getting more than $1 million dollars if I were in your situation. Term coverage.

dknightd
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by dknightd » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:40 pm


That's a good point. I checked with my employer and they offer a group plan life insurance (no medical history needed), but it looks like maximum benefit is 500k...and that appears to be at $70/mo.
Do that, then go from there.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds.

BruDude
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by BruDude » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:47 pm

jminv wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:31 pm
doss wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:36 pm
jminv wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:59 am

Do you have life insurance offered through work? Sometimes those policies are not based on health but employment. Federal government agency I am familiar with had policies like this, you could add up to 5x salary coverage (1x is free, part of employment). The non-free coverage got quite expensive as you grew older (around 1k/month for 1.25 mil coverage for someone in their 60s but then again you could get it even if you were sick so makes sense). You could see about finding a job that offers something similar if yours doesn’t.
That's a good point. I checked with my employer and they offer a group plan life insurance (no medical history needed), but it looks like maximum benefit is 500k...and that appears to be at $70/mo.
Good to hear your company offers such a plan.

Perhaps sign up for that to have immediate coverage while trying to find something else. I would be worried for my beneficiaries about a rescission during the contestable period (1 or 2 years depending on state) for whatever private non-group policy you go for. It might be a good idea to sign up for group, find the private plan that will take you, and after the contestability period ends, cancel the group assuming the rate ends up being less attractive than the quotation after medical history is provided. I’d probably also sign up for the group first since you might be denied by an insurer which you would then need to disclose to subsequent insurers - which could make you uninsurable.
Being declined by one company doesn't make you uninsurable, it just raises red flags for other insurance companies because they will want to know why you were denied.

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celia
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by celia » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:33 pm

doss wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:06 am
I have got a few quotes (no medical exam) for $1mil @ 1000/yr on 20yr term....seems high...but do I really need 1mil ? Maybe something around 750k?
If I am reading this correctly, you would pay $1,000/yr for 20 years (ie, the premium is fixed for all those years). Although I no longer need or carry life insurance, that rate sounds fair, even for a healthy person, since if you had a 1 year term policy, the premium would keep going up as your age goes into the next tier. So even if you paid $600 a year for the first few years of a yearly term policy, in 20 years, as you age, you would probably be paying $1500 a year (certainly more than $1,000). So if you look at it that way, of course the premium starts high but stays level for the next 20 years. [Please have them verify this.]

This might be a long shot, but you could also ask your employer if the life insurance can be continued when you leave the company with you paying the whole premium. And your wife might be able to get insurance through your employer too. I think the reason there's usually no medical underwriting when you purchase through your employer is that all the employees are well enough to go to work, ie, they're not in the hospital. :D

I agree that you should sign up for this before you go on the open market as you won't be denied.

BruDude
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by BruDude » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:31 pm

celia wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:33 pm
doss wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:06 am
I have got a few quotes (no medical exam) for $1mil @ 1000/yr on 20yr term....seems high...but do I really need 1mil ? Maybe something around 750k?
If I am reading this correctly, you would pay $1,000/yr for 20 years (ie, the premium is fixed for all those years). Although I no longer need or carry life insurance, that rate sounds fair, even for a healthy person, since if you had a 1 year term policy, the premium would keep going up as your age goes into the next tier. So even if you paid $600 a year for the first few years of a yearly term policy, in 20 years, as you age, you would probably be paying $1500 a year (certainly more than $1,000). So if you look at it that way, of course the premium starts high but stays level for the next 20 years. [Please have them verify this.]

This might be a long shot, but you could also ask your employer if the life insurance can be continued when you leave the company with you paying the whole premium. And your wife might be able to get insurance through your employer too. I think the reason there's usually no medical underwriting when you purchase through your employer is that all the employees are well enough to go to work, ie, they're not in the hospital. :D

I agree that you should sign up for this before you go on the open market as you won't be denied.
Chances of OP getting $1M for $1000/year are probably slim to none, the quotes are useless. Cancer histories are very complex with many variables involved that the insurance company will look at, so anyone saying "this is the rate you're going to get" is flat out wrong and misleading OP if they didn't explain how the underwriting process works. More likely, OP will be assigned a table rating (i.e. substandard health rating) and possibly/probably a flat extra rating attached to the policy for a certain number of years. If the cancer was in the last 5 years and wasn't prostate or skin cancer, OP may well be uninsurable on the individual market at this time. It's impossible to say without knowing more details.

The group plan rate is reasonable given the cancer history and I'd take advantage of that, but the rate will also go up at ages 40, 45, 50, etc, and the cost to convert it when leaving the employer will be astronomically expensive because it'll have to be converted into a whole life or universal life insurance policy. However, if OP did not elect the full $500k at initial time of employment, he may have to answer health questions in order to qualify for coverage over a certain amount (usually a smaller amount like $50-150k) and when the cancer question comes up, it may result in a denial for the extra coverage. The full amount is usually only available either within the first 30 days of employment when making benefit elections, or if OP can still pass the medical questions on the evidence of insurability form.

Topic Author
doss
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by doss » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:28 am

Hello all, went through the motions (full medicala exam, etc) and my agent shopped around and got 2 companies to bid, but one of those has yet to return a quote because my current oncologist is taking forever to respond with additional documentation. However, I did get a quote from the other and it is a standard non-smoker policy from Midland National Life for $115/mo (20 yr term/$1million). I am a cancer survivor just under 5 years from diagnosis (age 39).

Seems like a decent deal. Should I wait for the other company to respond? I am trying to get my doctor to hurry and submit the needed details, but m y agent thinks I should just go with Midland because a Standard Plus (non-smoker) from the other company is already quoting $145 from her own research (thats without my medical history info).

Anyways, thought the above info is helpful for those with a history of cancer

BruDude
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by BruDude » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:41 am

doss wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:28 am
Hello all, went through the motions (full medicala exam, etc) and my agent shopped around and got 2 companies to bid, but one of those has yet to return a quote because my current oncologist is taking forever to respond with additional documentation. However, I did get a quote from the other and it is a standard non-smoker policy from Midland National Life for $115/mo (20 yr term/$1million). I am a cancer survivor just under 5 years from diagnosis (age 39).

Seems like a decent deal. Should I wait for the other company to respond? I am trying to get my doctor to hurry and submit the needed details, but m y agent thinks I should just go with Midland because a Standard Plus (non-smoker) from the other company is already quoting $145 from her own research (thats without my medical history info).

Anyways, thought the above info is helpful for those with a history of cancer
Standard is the best possible rating you’ll ever get with any type of cancer history. Take it and run.

Lrt12
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Re: How much life insurance for cancer survivor? OR, can I even get insured?

Post by Lrt12 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:10 pm

I was 25 years in remission from a childhood cancer at 29 last year when I applied for life insurance. 1 million for 20 years at $674/year. Otherwise healthy. Rate double as compared to my then 28 year old, healthy husband.

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