Are you a survivor of prostate cancer? Are you currently looking to purchase a life insurance policy, but are in fear of high rates or being declined?
Depending on your specific treatment and overall health, purchasing an affordable life insurance policy to protect your loved ones may be easier than you think.
We at JRC Insurance Group have helped hundreds of clients with a history of prostate cancer, and we can help you with your life insurance too.
Quick Article Guide:
Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer that we see in men. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately one out of six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life.
A few years ago, when Warren Buffet’s diagnosis of prostate cancer made headlines, Buffet himself was quoted as saying that his prostate cancer was “not life-threatening.” A routine PSA test caught Buffet’s cancer early, and by treating this cancer before it spread, he was able to make close to a complete recovery.
Statistically, only about 10% of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer end up dying from it.
This seems like much better odds than most cancers, but because prostate cancer is very common in older men, it is the third leading cause of cancer related deaths for men. Despite these statistics, purchasing life insurance after having prostate cancer is possible and affordable.
Even though this may be true, not all companies view prostate cancer the same, so we always recommend working with a qualified life insurance agent that works with at least a few dozen top-rated life insurance companies.
The main risk factor that life insurance companies look at when it comes to prostate cancer is the age of diagnosis. Prostate cancer affects about 40% of men that are in their seventies, about 70% of men in their eighties, and after the age of 90, almost every man will have prostate issues. At the same time, it is extremely rare to see men diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 40.
Typically, the younger you are when you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the more dangerous it is. This alone makes approvals for applicants under the age of 50 much more difficult because the cancer cells will replicate faster in a younger person’s body and they have a higher propensity to spread or metastasis.
The cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but it does appear to have a genetic predisposition. Typically, we see that African Americans have the highest rate of diagnosis, while Asians have the lowest.
When you’re applying for a life insurance policy, you will need to provide your agent with some basic information about your prostate cancer history. The insurance company you apply with will evaluate:
- Age of your diagnosis
- Type of treatment received (prostatectomy, brachytherapy, or radiation)
- Stage and grade of the cancer
- Pre-treatment AND current PSA levels
- Gleason score
The best way to ensure that you don’t overpay for life insurance is by “shopping the market” and comparing quotes from multiple companies. The easiest way to do so is working with an agent, or “broker,” who is appointed by multiple life insurance companies.
If you need help, our agency works with 47 top-rated companies and we’re licensed to sell insurance in all 50 states. Please note, some brokers charge a brokerage fee, but our service is free, and there is no cost to apply for life insurance.
Below is an in-depth description of each of the various factors that life insurance companies will consider for applicants who have survived prostate cancer.
Life insurance companies are the most lenient with applicants who were diagnosed with prostate cancer later in life. The vast majority of life insurance companies offer more favorable rates to men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer over the age of 60.
Prostate cancer becomes an increasingly common condition in men over the age of 60, and with advancements in medicine, we have seen life insurance companies become more lenient with their approvals. In most cases, for those over 60, once the prostate cancer is successfully treated, you can purchase a life insurance policy immediately afterwards.
Additionally, life insurance companies are much more concerned when approving policies for men who were diagnosed in their forties or fifties.
If you were diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 50 or later, we can help. Unfortunately, if you were diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 49, the insurance company will most likely decline your application.
When it comes to purchasing life insurance, the cost of your premium is highly dependent on how the cancer was treated. From the life insurance company’s standpoint, prostate cancer that was removed surgically is the most ideal situation.
A prostatectomy is the surgical procedure for the partial or entire removal of the prostate gland. Prostatectomies are performed when the cancer did not spread beyond the prostate organ. When the cancer is only confined to the place it originated, this is called “in-situ.”
If you were diagnosed with a low-grade cancer and it was surgically removed, you may be able to purchase life insurance immediately following your surgery. In this situation, the life insurance companies will want to see an extremely low PSA level of 0.02 or less, but you may be eligible for “standard plus rates”.
If your cancer was treated with radiation by either external beam radiation, (such as IMRT, SBRT, proton-beam, etc.), or brachytherapy (such as radioactive seeds), you will need to wait at least 12 months from you last treatment before you are eligible for approval with a term life insurance policy.
This waiting period is required by the insurance companies because they will need to verify that your treatment was successful with an acceptable PSA of 0.1 or less. In this situation, some life insurance companies may be able to offer you a “standard” rate class.
There are very few options for those who happen to be on a “watch and wait” plan. If you are over the age of 60 and your prostate cancer is in stage one or two, there are a couple of companies that may approve your policy depending on your overall health.
Unfortunately, if you’re in your forties or fifties and are on a “watch and wait” plan, you may only qualify for a Guaranteed Issue (GI) life insurance policy.
The life insurance companies will want to see PSA levels for both pre-treatment and post treatment. PSA levels are one of the things that the insurance underwriters look at in your blood samples. There are actually some cases where men who do not get annual checkups learn that they have elevated PSA levels when they apply for life insurance.
Ideally, a healthy man should have a PSA level of 4.0 or less. If your PSA levels come back higher, your doctor will normally order a biopsy to see if there are any other signs of cancer. When applying for life insurance, the underwriters will want you to have a PSA level less than 20 at the time of your diagnosis, but if your PSA levels were less than 10, you may qualify for “preferred” rates.
After your treatment for prostate cancer has finished, your PSA should always be below 0.1. If your prostate has been removed, the term life insurance companies will typically decline any applicant with a PSA of 0.02 or higher.
Early detection is extremely important when it comes to cancer. The sooner the cancer is found and diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.
In addition, early detection treatments tend to be more successful. People that have had prostate cancer that was in stages one or two will receive the most favorable rate class and price. If your cancer was diagnosed at stage three when detected, getting approved becomes more of a challenge, but there’s a chance that you may still qualify after a probationary period.
Unfortunately, if you’re cancer was diagnosed as stage 4, we are unable to help you with purchasing a term life insurance policy; however, you may be eligible for Guaranteed Issue life insurance if you are 50 or older.
When it comes to the aggressiveness of the cancer, most life insurance companies will prefer to see a Gleason Score of six or less. If your Gleason Score was 7.0 or higher, you may still qualify for a life insurance policy with a flat extra, but this may greatly increase the cost of your insurance.
A flat extra is a fee that is applied to your insurance premium when your health risk is considered to be high. The flat extra is usually an additional charge per $1,000 dollars of life insurance coverage and it is usually applied to the cost of your policy for 5 to 7 years following a treatment for a cancer that spread or metastasized.
After the 5 to 7 years are up, your flat extra will end and the cost of your policy will be reduced. Remember, it’s best to talk to an underwriting specialist so they can get the full story and match you to the right carrier. Our agents are experts at underwriting and we work with dozens of highly rated life insurance companies with strong financial backgrounds.
An important side note: Make sure that you’re upfront and honest with your agent about how the cancer was treated, your overall health, and lifestyle. This will only benefit you in the end because every life insurance company is different.
What might cause one company to charge you more or decline your application may not be an issue for another company. By being honest and disclosing everything up front, the application process should be quicker and easier, and your odds of being approved as applied as much higher.
How We Can Help
JRC Insurance Group works with clients across the U.S. and we are appointed by over 40 top-rated life insurance companies. Our agents specialize in the underwriting process and we have helped thousands of clients just like you. If you are a prostate cancer survivor, we can help!
With a few questions about your health and lifestyle, we’ll be able to match you with the right company, ensuring that your life insurance is the most affordable option available. Give us a call today for a free quote, or request a free quote here, we look forward to helping you! Toll Free: (855) 247-9555