This blog article examines how thyroid cancer affects a life insurance application.
What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is situated in the throat, right in front of the trachea (the "wind pipe").
This endocrine gland takes in iodide from the food we eat and creates two hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine. When released by the thyroid these hormones interact with our cells, letting them know if their metabolism needs to speed up or slow down.
The thyroid also affects the body’s sensitivity to other hormones.
Thyroid Cancer and Symptoms
There are many types of thyroid cancer, the most common being "papillary" thyroid cancer. Other types are follicular, anaplastic, hurthle cell and medullary thyroid cancer.
Generally speaking, thyroid cancer is rare compared to other types of cancer. Thyroid cancer is also more common in women than men.
Symptoms are as follows:
- A swelling of the neck (the most common symptom)
- Pain in the neck and possibly the ears
- Difficulty breathing and/or swallowing
- Frequent, persistent cough even when not sick
- Voice change (e.g. hoarseness, etc.)
The following are the most important factors underwriters look at when underwriting a life insurance application received by a person who has had thyroid cancer:
- The type of thyroid cancer (papillary cancer is insurable while anaplastic usually is not)
- The extent of the cancer (e.g. low grade or high grade)
- The age of the applicant
- The types of treatment used and when the treatments were done
- Length of remission time (to be considered for coverage the thyroid cancer must be in remission)
- Any recurrences
- Any complications (e.g. from treatment)
(Note: "underwriting" is the insurance company’s investigation of an applicant’s health and life style which determines both eligibility and rates. It includes answering of medical questions and an examination of the applicant’s medical records).
How to Speed Up the Life Insurance Application
People that have had thyroid cancer can help to speed up the processing of their life application by having the following ready to go:
- A recent APS (Attending Physician Statement)
- Pathology report
- Copies of all relevant laboratory tests
- Detailed contact information for the doctor who has the pathology and lab results
- Detailed information about all follow-ups
Likely Underwriting Decisions
The following describes the most likely underwriting decisions for people who have had thyroid cancer:
- Best case scenario: if it is a papillary tumour with lowest possible grade then the applicant can be considered for standard rates after 3 years of remission
- Typical case scenario: if a low to moderate grade papillary tumour then coverage at the standard rate can be considered 5 to 6 years after successful treatment
- Worst case scenario: declined if it is an anaplastic tumour.
Note that an applicant can be reconsidered if the applicant was initially rejected for an undiagnosed tumour that is then investigated and proven to be benign.
Thank you for reading this blog article about thyroid cancer and life insurance protection.
It is possible to get life insurance coverage if you have had thyroid cancer that was successfully treated and is in remission for a given amount of time (depends on insurance carrier and length of remission).
Please contact us toll free at 1-866-369-4474 if you have had thyroid cancer and are wondering if you can get life insurance coverage.Resources: