Life insurance coverage may be available even if you have been diagnosed with or have survived ovarian cancer. There is a wide variety of life insurance policies to choose from, and the best one for you will be determined by your specific requirements and circumstances. In this article, we’ll go through the various life insurance options and requirements for those with ovarian cancer.
Being diagnosed with a serious health condition such as ovarian cancer may make you consider purchasing life insurance. With all the available information and policies out there, it is natural that you feel overwhelmed and anxious. You may have many questions and concerns. For instance, what policy would you be qualified for? Or, will you end up paying extremely high premiums? Do not worry, we are here to help you and we will make sure that all your questions are answered!
We often work with clients who are worried if they can get life insurance if they have cancer or are a cancer survivor. The types of cancers our clients have ranges from breast cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer, but the answer is simple:
Yes, you can get life insurance even if you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or are a cancer survivor!
Overview of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is a proliferation of cells in the ovaries. The cells proliferate rapidly and can infiltrate and kill healthy tissue.
There are two ovaries in the female reproductive system, one on each side of the uterus. Each ovary is around the size of an almond and is responsible for the production of eggs (ova) and the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Ovarian cysts affect many women at some point in their lives. Ovarian cysts are collections of fluid within the ovary. Most ovarian cysts are benign and develop as a normal component of the ovulation (egg release) process. These cysts normally go away on their own within a few months. When a woman is not ovulating, she may have an ovarian cyst. Although ovarian cysts are usually benign and do not require treatment, there are a few situations in which they may be concerning.
If you are concerned about ovarian cysts, please consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for you.
Signs and Symptoms
- Bloating or swelling
- Urinary Symptoms
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Back pain
What Information Will Underwriters Want to Know About Your Diagnosis?
Underwriters examine the risk posed by each applicant, therefore it is advisable to anticipate the specific ovarian cancer questions they will ask. Please keep in mind that during the underwriting process, it is important to be honest at all times.
Below are some questions that underwriters will likely ask about your diagnosis when you apply for life insurance:
Date of diagnosis: In nearly all instances, the longer it has been since your diagnosis, the better. Why? Insurers will require proof of your capacity to remain in remission. The longer it has been since your cancer diagnosis, the greater the possibility that your treatment will be successful.
Ovarian cancer can develop at any age, however it is most prevalent in women aged 50 to 60.
Insurers will inquire about your age at the time of diagnosis as part of their risk assessment of your ovarian cancer.
Type of ovarian cancer: There are three types of ovarian cancer and underwriters will want to know which one you’ve been diagnosed with.
- Epithelial ovarian carcinomas: The most prevalent type of ovarian cancer. Approximately 85 to 90 percent of these tumours involve the cells that line the ovary’s exterior. They typically spread to the lining and organs of the pelvis and abdomen, followed by the rest of the body. Nearly 70% of women diagnosed with this kind of ovarian cancer are in the advanced stages.
- Germ cell tumours: These account for fewer than two percent of all ovarian cancers. They begin in the reproductive cells, or eggs of a woman. This kind of ovarian cancer is more prevalent among adolescents and women in their 20s.
- Stromal cell tumours: Account for around 1% of all ovarian cancers. They originate in the supporting tissues of the ovaries. This form of cancer is frequently detected in its earliest stages.
Stage of ovarian cancer: There are four phases of ovarian cancer. Typically, the stages 1 through 4 are represented by the Roman numerals I, II, III, and IV. In general, the higher the stage number, the greater the spread of the cancer. Consult your physician if you have issues regarding staging.
- Stage 1: The tumour is restricted to one or both ovaries. It is recommended that you wait at least 1 year after your diagnosis until you apply for life insurance. This will increase the likelihood that you get approved for a traditional policy with somewhat favorable rates.
- Stage 2: The cancer has spread from one or both ovaries to the surrounding pelvic organs. In stage 2A, the tumour has spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or both. In stage 2B, the tumour has spread to various organs in the lower pelvic region, including the rectum. Typically, you must wait at least three years following your final treatment to qualify for traditional life insurance.
Remember that certain applicants with Stage 2 ovarian cancer will not be eligible for traditional coverage.
- Stage 3 and Stage 4: Stage 3A cancer spreads to the abdominal lymph nodes. Or microscopic cancer has spread to the peritoneum outside the pelvis, the colon, and the retroperitoneal lymph nodes. Stage 3B cancer has spread to the peritoneum just outside the pelvis, the intestine, and possibly the retroperitoneal lymph nodes. Stage 3C cancer spreads outside the pelvis to the peritoneum (more than 2 cm away). It may have expanded to the liver or spleen’s capsule, but not within.
In stage 4A, cancer has spread to the pleural fluid. In Stage 4B cancer has spread to the liver (within it), lungs, or lymph nodes outside the abdomen.
At Stages 3 and 4, you should consider a guaranteed issue policy. Unfortunately, insurers deem the risk too great for a traditional policy. Keep in mind that guaranteed issue policies typically have a 2 year deferral time and have a maximum coverage amount of $50,000. Although this may be discouraging, note that some life insurance is better than having none.
Type of treatment received and last time you received it: Improvements in treatment continue to be made. Common ovarian cancer treatments include: surgery, chemotherapy, and pharmacotherapy. Make sure to disclose any treatments with your underwriter since they are interested in their efficacy, and any adverse effects you experienced.
You should also know the date you completed your treatment. Or, if you are currently receiving treatment, plan to share the treatment schedule your doctor has provided. To determine if you are eligible for traditional coverage, the date you completed treatment is essential. The majority of carriers have wait times for cancer survivors. For instance, if you are in stage 1, then it is recommended you wait at least 1 year before you apply for life insurance.
Taking care of your health: Are you visiting your doctor regularly? Have you taken an initiative to reduce habits that worsen your health, such as smoking?
Behaving responsibly is something that would be appreciated by your underwriter. Maintaining follow-up appointments with your oncologist or doctor shows that you are concerned about your health.
Can Ovarian Cancer Patients Pay for Therapy With Life Insurance?
Having a life insurance policy in place prior to a cancer diagnosis can serve as a source of support during treatment. Here are several ways in which cancer patients may be able to use their life insurance policy to pay for treatment or other expenses incurred during their time of need:
Utilizing the cash value: If you accumulate cash value on your whole life or universal life insurance policy prior to being diagnosed with cancer, you may be able to use your policy to assist your medical expenses or replace your lost income. You can return your policy to your insurer and receive the cash value in exchange, or you could take out a life insurance loan against your cash value. These choices may not apply to term life insurance, as it normally does not accumulate cash value.
Using a rider: You may have received life insurance riders with your policy, or you may have added one. Depending on the terms of your rider, you may be able to activate it when you are diagnosed with cancer or when you reach a particular point in your fight against the disease. By meeting the activation requirements for the following riders, you would be able to access a portion or all of your death benefit while you are still alive.
- Accelerated death benefit (ADB) rider: Also known as terminal illness riders, accelerated death benefit riders let you receive a portion of the death benefit while you are still alive if you have been diagnosed with a terminal disease. There may be a limit on the amount you can withdraw, and the funds you withdraw will be deducted from your death benefit.
- Chronic or critical illness rider: Chronic or critical illness riders are a specific sort of accelerated death benefit that allow you to collect your death benefit provided you meet certain chronic or critical illness-related policy requirements. Your cash will be deducted from your death benefit.
Life Insurance Options
After being diagnosed, you may be wondering what life insurance options you have.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is a policy that expires at the end of a predetermined time period, often between 10 and 30 years. You select the sort of term length and coverage amount that best suits your needs, and you maintain the policy by making regular premium payments until its expiration date.
If you pass away while the policy is in effect, the insurance company pays the death benefit to the beneficiary or beneficiaries you designate. The payout is unrestricted, so they are free to utilise the money however they see fit.
In order to qualify for term life insurance, you will most likely need to be in remission. If you are presently undergoing cancer therapy, if your cancer has metastasized or advanced, or if you have only recently entered remission, you may not qualify for term life insurance.
No medical exam life insurance
If your health makes it difficult to get a traditional term or permanent insurance policy, no medical exam life insurance does not require a medical exam for purchasing. These policies have higher premiums and lesser death benefits, but they are viable alternatives if neither term nor permanent coverage is available.
The main options include:
- Simplified Issue Life Insurance: This type of coverage does not require a medical exam, but may require a basic health questionnaire. It’s also available both as a Whole Life or Term Life policy.
- Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance: This type of coverage does not require a medical exam or questionnaire but offers a limited level of coverage (typically around a $25,000 death benefit). Your coverage will continue as long as you continue making payments, but should you perish during the initial two years of your policy, your beneficiary will only be entitled to the total amount you’ve paid into your policy at that time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance with Ovarian Cancer
If your cancer was found at an advanced stage, you would generally have fewer possibilities for life insurance than if it was detected at an earlier stage. In this case we recommend that you look at guaranteed issue life insurance. This form of policy, often known as guaranteed acceptance, is given with no health questions asked. It is best for individuals who are otherwise uninsurable, and we mean this in the kindest way possible.
Yes, you can! Keep in mind that there may be a waiting period and you may be required to pay higher rates. You must disclose your medical history to your insurer when you apply for coverage, and your insurer will evaluate whether to issue you a life insurance policy based not only on your cancer history, but also on your age, other medical facts, and the amount of coverage you intend to obtain.
You may discover that life insurance companies are reluctant to give policies for several years following remission; but, as time passes, the likelihood of cancer recurrence decreases, as does the risk to the insurers.
The insurer will likely ask a number of questions regarding your cancer diagnosis and treatment in order to determine your risk level. They may inquire about the date of your diagnosis, your family history, the type and stage of your cancer, and your treatment plan. Expect them to examine your medical records to confirm this information.
If you stated your health condition accurately while applying for life insurance and the policy has been issued, the policy will cover newly diagnosed cancer. Your insurance provider may deny coverage or claims if inaccurate information was submitted. For instance, if you did not disclose a family history of cancer.
Depending on the type of insurance you select. With traditional life insurance, which requires you to disclose your family’s medical history, a family history of cancer may affect your premiums.
With simplified issue policies, the insurance company may still ask about your health, but the answers are considerably less likely to impact your premium or eligibility. With guaranteed issue policies, you can obtain coverage regardless of you and your family’s medical history.
Finding the right life insurance for you
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or are a survivor, there’s a life insurance product or package for your situation. Working with a life insurance advisor can help you build the right life insurance plan and package for your needs.
At Protect Your Wealth, we work with and compare policies and quotes from the best life insurance companies in Canada to ensure the best solution for you and your needs. We provide expert life insurance solutions, including no medical life insurance, critical illness insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance to build the best package to give you the protection you need.
Contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, including areas such as Toronto, Kamloops, and Edmonton.