Three decades ago, a cancer diagnosis was a certain death sentence. But, with the advancement of the treatment and management of cancer, millions of people are now able to live full and productive lives after completing their cancer treatment. It is advisable to regularly review your insurance portfolio and make sure that your cover is in line with your lifestyle, personal and economic circumstances.
Never assume you can’t get insurance cover if you have been diagnosed with cancer. You are not excluded from financial planning and its related products and services simply because you have had cancer. Finding long-term insurance after a cancer diagnosis is challenging but not necessarily impossible. Your chances of obtaining insurance cover depend greatly on the type and stage of cancer you have had, how long ago you had it, and even on your treatment plan. It is, however, unusual for an insurer to allow a patient still undergoing cancer treatment to purchase long-term insurance policies.
Typical requirements for insurance for cancer survivors
- You must have completed your cancer treatment and demonstrate that your disease is in remission.
- A prescribed time period must have passed since you completed your treatment plan. This varies from insurance company to insurance company. The average time frame is between 2 – 3 years. After 10 year most insurance companies will consider you cancer free, in relation to long term insurance.
- You must be in good health. Multiple health risks will be viewed as high risk and may affect your premiums or eligibility for cover.
Insurance strategies for cancer survivors
Don’t withhold information about your health
If you want to apply for long-term insurance as a cancer survivor, it’s vital that you are prepared to disclose your medical history. As a cancer survivor, when applying for insurance, you may be required to provide the insurance company and their underwriters with a vast amount of information about your disease. Past and present medical records, reports from your treating doctors and even additional medical test may be requested by the insurance company. This is all necessary for the insurance company to assess and evaluate the risk of a recurrence. Your broker is the link between you, your medical team and the insurance company, so it is vital they understand the need and information required by the insurance company and the nature and prognosis of your disease.
The following steps can be taken by a survivor seeking insurance to ensure that their application is comprehensive and the insurance company has the information necessary to make an informed decision regarding granting insurance cover to a cancer survivor:
- Collect and collate all your medical history. This includes treatment plans, pathology reports, radiology reports and scans, both during and post treatment, as well as treatment plans and medical reports from your doctor. The more information the life insurance company has about your disease and how you were treated, the better able they are to accurately assess your risk and determine if they are willing to cover you and at what premium;
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plans and advice to the letter. Ensure that you complete all your treatment and go to all follow up appointments. An insurer will insist on a comprehensive medical report form your doctor;
- The Long Term Insurance Act No. 52 of 1988 states that it is the responsibility of the cancer survivor to disclose information about their health that could have an impact on the risk over the term of the policy in an honest and factual manner, so the insurer can adequately assess and price the risk of the insurance product. If non-disclosure or misrepresentation has occurred, the insurer will be entitled to, amongst other things, refuse to pay out any claims, recover monies already paid or even cancel benefits and /or polices with immediate effect.
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