Life insurance and thyroid cancer history can be a tricky situation. In the not-so-distant past, life insurance companies would be highly concerned about any form of cancer, including thyroid cancer. However, as modern medicine has advanced, the survival rates of cancer have increased and life insurance companies have loosened their underwriting on thyroid cancer as a result. One thing you have to understand is that thyroid can result in a higher risk class for life insurance in some situations but not all.
Can You Get Life Insurance After Thyroid Cancer?
Simply put, it is possible! Although, approval for life insurance after thyroid cancer depends on a number of factors, such as the type of thyroid cancer you had. There are multiple types of thyroid cancer; papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, Hurthle cell thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer, and parathyroid cancer.
Wow, that is a lot of different types! Each form of thyroid cancer will have a different effect on your life insurance rates, but this blog will focus on the more common forms that afflict the public, which are papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, and anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Papillary Thyroid Cancer and Life Insurance – Best-case Standard Rates!
Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer and fortunately, the easiest to qualify for life insurance with. In many cases, if the papillary thyroid cancer was caught in the earlier stages, you can be eligible up to a standard health class once your treatment has ended. The later stages of papillary thyroid cancer may result in substandard rate or even a postponement or decline of coverage.
Follicular Thyroid Cancer and Life Insurance – Best-case Standard Rates!
Follicular thyroid cancer is your next most common type of thyroid cancer and shares a similar underwriting treatment to papillary thyroid cancer. The long-term survival rates are high with early detection and treatment. If caught early and treated, up to a standard health class is possible for you.
The one exception to this would be Hurthle cell thyroid cancer, also known as oncocytic thyroid cancer. This is a rarer form of follicular thyroid cancer, but more life-threatening. Most life insurance companies will either decline or postpone your application for life insurance with Hurthle cell thyroid cancer
Medullary Thyroid Cancer and Life Insurance – Most Likely Postponement.
While medullary thyroid cancer is rare, only 3% of thyroid cancer cases are medullary, it can be difficult to both treat and detect. If you were diagnosed with medullary thyroid cancer, the life insurance company will be conservative when issuing you a policy. If you are made an offer, it usually will be at a substandard rate. Most likely, the life insurance company will postpone your application 3-10 years after your treatment to be sure the cancer will not return. A decline for coverage is possible as well.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer and Life Insurance – Most Likely a Decline.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer is also rare, approximately two percent of thyroid cancer cases, but it is the most life-threatening type of thyroid cancer that you can have. Anaplastic thyroid cancer means your cancer has progressed to stage 4. As a result, you are not insurable with traditional life insurance. Guaranteed life insurance might be your only option here.
How Do I Qualify for Life Insurance After Thyroid Cancer?
Qualifying for life insurance with any type of cancer is not easy but not impossible either. The life insurance company will want to know as much information regarding your health as possible. No-exam term life insurance after thyroid cancer, for the most part, is out of the question. The life insurance company will want to see recent lab work as well as your medical records. The entire process takes approximately 4-6 weeks to gather all the relevant information and have it reviewed by a life insurance underwriter.
The life insurance company will want detailed information about your thyroid cancer history such as:
These questions will give your agent a detailed picture of your thyroid cancer and health history. Remember that an independent life insurance agent can use this information to anonymously compare the rates of multiple life insurance companies in order to gauge what company will give you the best deal so it is important to be as descriptive as possible.
What Life Insurance Rates Can I Expect After Thyroid Cancer?
Thyroid cancer will knock you out of the preferred health classes with virtually every life insurance company no matter how mild of a case your thyroid cancer was. Therefore, your best-case scenario would be a standard health class, which is considered the rate of the general population, for low-risk forms of thyroid cancer (papillary and follicular.) If your thyroid cancer is a more life-threatening form, such as medullary or anaplastic, then you could potentially be declined or postponed for coverage.
Common Outcomes for Life Insurance After Thyroid Cancer:
Life insurance companies have slightly different names for their top health class. You may have heard it called super preferred or preferred plus. Regardless of what it is called, people with a history of thyroid cancer are ineligible for this health class no matter how mild of a case it was.
Any preferred health class is considered a discount to the standard health class of the general population. Therefore, it is virtually impossible for someone with a history of thyroid cancer to qualify for these classes due to their health history, notwithstanding their current health.
Not every life insurance company offers this discounted health class, but a person with thyroid cancer history would most likely not qualify for it anyway. Thyroid cancer history is too risky for the life insurance company to offer a discounted rate better than the general population no matter how mild the thyroid cancer was.
Standard rates of the general population is your best-case scenario if you have a history of thyroid cancer. We see standard approvals for the healthiest of thyroid cancer applicants who have a long track record of being cancer free (5+ years) and were diagnosed with a relatively mild case of thyroid cancer.
This is the health class that we see most commonly with cancer cases. Life insurance companies are conservative by nature. If your thyroid cancer progressed beyond the earlier stages to stage 2, you most likely will land somewhere in this range unless significant time has passed.
Life insurance companies will want to see at least 2-5 cancer-free years since your last treatment before considering you for an offer. Additionally, if your thyroid cancer was a more severe case, you will most likely be declined for life insurance coverage. We usually see declines for thyroid cancer that has progressed to stage 3 or beyond, or metastasized (spread) into the lymph nodes.
The Final Word- How Do you Feel About Life Insurance and Thyroid Cancer? Ready to Move Forward?
Life insurance and thyroid cancer can be complicated. Approvals for life insurance after thyroid cancer will depend on multiple factors, such as the type of thyroid cancer you had, the length of time that you have been free from thyroid cancer, etc. This is an area where you need to work with a knowledgeable life insurance agent who understands the nuances of underwriting thyroid cancer.
In the event that you are declined while trying to secure life insurance after thyroid cancer, don’t ignore the option of guaranteed issue life insurance. It’s an easy, no-questions-asked, no medical exam option with a few drawbacks.
Our agency has helped individuals just like you secure affordable life insurance coverage with a history of cancer. Our veteran life insurance agents ask the detailed questions that the life insurance companies want to know and will compare the rates of multiple top-rated life insurance companies in order to get you the best deal. Even if you have been declined for life insurance before, give our agency a chance to get you covered!
If you are looking for affordable life insurance after thyroid cancer, do not hesitate. Please give our agency a call or fill out a quote request today.
Joe is a lifelong learner with a passion for sharing what he has learned with others. Joe has publicly spoken on life insurance in the past to both colleagues at industry conferences and to consumers in educational settings and as a contributor to industry blogs. Additionally, Joe is studying for certifications such as the CFP, CLU, and RICP to further his professional knowledge.