Twenty years ago, if you had been diagnosed with Colon Cancer, your only hope for life insurance was to apply for a “guaranteed issue” policy and then hope you outlive the waiting period. Now, thanks to more liberal underwriting guidelines and innovative cancer treatments, things have changed considerably.
In fact, for those who have been diagnosed with colon cancer, their oncologist is likely to say you’ll probably die from old age rather than from colon cancer. Now that there are tests that can reveal colon cancer in its early stages, more and more cases are being documented with positive outcomes and former cancer patients living a long and normal lifetime.
What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth in the cells of the large intestine which is also called the colon. The large intestine is the lowest part of the digestive system where water and salt from solid wastes are extracted before the waste continues through the rectum and then exits through the anus.
The body’s normal cells follow a defined path of growth, division, and then death. Cancer is the result of cells that grow uncontrollably and do not die. When the cells in the colon do not die in a normal way but continue to grow and divide, colon cancer is the result.
Although cancer researchers don’t know exactly why these cells begin to behave this way, they do know the potential risk factors.
POLYPSColon cancer usually results from polyps that are precancerous and found in the large intestine. The most common are adenomas, hyperplasic, and inflammatory polyps.
GENES – DNAWhen there is damage or mutations to DNA, cells can experience uncontrolled growth. Cancer will occur when a cell’s gene mutations make the cell unable to correct damage to DNA which results in uncontrollable cell growth.
GENES – HEREDITARYColon cancer can also be a result of genetic predisposition that is inherited.
LIFESTYLEAbout 90% of people diagnosed with colon cancer are age 5 or over and typically live a sedentary lifestyle, are overweight and smoke tobacco.
OTHER FACTORSOther diseases and conditions can contribute to your chances of getting colon cancer. Diabetes, acromegaly, radiation treatment for other cancer types, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease can also increase the risk of colon cancer.
Colon Cancer Treatments
Although there are many factors that will determine the best course of treatment for colon cancer, the most common treatments are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment.
Qualifying for Traditional Life Insurance
The most important thing an applicant with a history of colon cancer to do is find an independent insurance agentthat represents most of the top-rated insurance companies that offer coverage for high-risk applicants. Unless an insurer has a reputation for considering high-risk cases, you will be wasting your time applying for coverage. And, unless you are using an independent agent who is successful with placing high-risk insurance cases, you’ll likely not get the help you need during the shopping and underwriting process. Here are the steps that will help you succeed in finding insurance coverage at affordable rates:
Select an Experienced and Reputable Agent
When you are attempting to find affordable life insurance coverage with a history of colon cancer, your agent selection matters much more than you might think. Not every agent is willing to deal with high-risk cases because of the amount of time and work they must invest into getting a case issued.
Having an experienced agent who has demonstrated success in getting high-risk cases issued typically means that they are willing to advocate for your application and will invest their time into helping you through every step of the underwriting process.
The independent agent will typically foresee the roadblocks associated with underwriting a high-risk case and then get it front of those roadblocks and help provide a positive outcome for their applicants.
The good news is that with the technology available today, your agent does not need to schedule multiple face-to-face meetings with you and can help with most any underwriting issue using electronic communications. This efficiency helps your agent to spend more time working and less time traveling and doing paperwork. The agent can help you navigate the underwriting process by being kept in the loop and helping to make certain underwriting request to do not get stalled in the process.
Select an Insurer who will consider High-Risk Cases
The life insurance company that you apply to must be an insurer that has demonstrated they are willing to consider high-risk cases. The independent agent you select should know this in advance and direct you to the correct insurance company.
Your life insurance underwriter will have the expertise needed to review all of the information required about your colon cancer and the prognosis offered by the oncologist who treated you. This review will typically consist of the following:
The life insurance application
A supplemental questionnaire specific to colon cancer
A medical exam that includes blood and urine analysis
A request for attending physician statements from each medical practitioner involve in your diagnosis and treatment
A request for analysis of all diagnostic testing involved with your treatment
Once all of the underwriting data has been collected and reviewed, your underwriter will determine whether your application is approved and which health classification you qualify for. This information is then transmitted to your agent so a formal quote can be offered and the final application submitted for issuance by the insurer
What If I Fail to Qualify?
If your insurer declines to offer coverage, your independent agent will offer alternative coverage that they know will get issued. This alternative is typically “guaranteed issue” life insurance which does not take your health issues into consideration. The company will offer a policy that can be issued quickly but will have a few caveats that you will need to understand:
1. The death benefit will have a lower face amount, usually about $25,000.
2. There will be a waiting period of two or three years before the full death benefit will be paid if you die from natural (not accidental) causes.
3. The rates will be higher than a traditional life insurance policy.
Even with the caveats listed, guaranteed issue life insurance is much better than having no insurance at all. You certainly would not wish to leave your final expenses as a burden to your surviving loved ones.