Ovarian cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting women in Canada.1 It is often diagnosed at a later stage due to a lack of early symptoms, making it one of the more challenging cancers to treat and manage. It is undoubtedly difficult and emotionally taxing for the patients and their families. It takes a multi-faceted approach to cope with the diagnosis. This includes medical treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, or targeted therapies; psychological support such as counselling or support groups; and lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise.
Insurance plays a pivotal role in providing financial support to ovarian cancer patients. The cost of cancer treatments can be overwhelming without insurance, leading to financial distress. Health insurance can cover a significant portion of these costs, including hospital care, medication, and treatments. Life insurance can serve as a vital financial safety net in the event of the patient’s unfortunate demise. It can provide a significant financial cushion to help your loved ones offset past medical bills, pay for continuing household expenses, or compensate for a loss of income. This can significantly ease the economic strain caused by the disease, empowering the surviving family members to manage their finances amidst such a challenging time.
When a person applies for life insurance, the insurance company carries out a process known as underwriting. This is a methodical review to assess the individual’s risk profile, which includes a close look at their health condition, lifestyle habits, and more. The purpose of underwriting is to determine whether the person qualifies for coverage (coverage eligibility) and how much they’ll have to pay for it (premium rates).
If you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, this will likely influence the underwriting process for your life insurance application. Insurance providers will look at what stage your cancer was at when it was diagnosed – early-stage cancers might be seen as less of a risk than late-stage ones. They’ll also consider your treatment history, including what treatments you’ve undergone and how effective they were. Having had cancer could potentially make you more likely to need the insurance payout, so the insurance company must take this into account when determining your eligibility and premiums.
You may encounter stricter conditions or restrictions when it comes to life insurance coverage. For instance, some insurance companies might require a specific period of remission or stability before granting coverage, or they may exclude any cancer-related incidents from the coverage. It’s best to look into life insurance policies specifically designed for individuals with pre-existing health conditions.
You may remain eligible for standard life insurance policies if your cancer is in remission or under control. Here are a few options to consider.
Impaired Risk or High-risk Policies
Certain types of life insurance policies, often referred to as ‘impaired risk’ or ‘high-risk’ policies, are designed for people who might not meet the usual criteria for standard insurance policies. These special policies might have a different application process, such as a simpler health questionnaire, or they may adjust the terms of the coverage in other ways. These modifications are designed to accommodate people considered a higher risk, ensuring they can still access life insurance.
Guaranteed-issue Life Insurance Policies
Guaranteed-issue life insurance policies provide coverage without a medical underwriting process. These policies promise coverage regardless of the individual’s health condition or medical history. However, it’s worth noting that guaranteed-issue policies tend to have higher premiums and lower benefit amounts compared to traditional policies.
Group Life Insurance
Group life insurance is another way to secure coverage, often made available through an employer or professional organization. These group policies typically provide coverage without medical underwriting or individual assessments, although the scope and availability of coverage will depend on the specifics of the group insurance plan.
Critical Illness Insurance
Critical Illness Insurance issues a lump-sum payment upon the diagnosis of a covered critical illness. This type of insurance coverage can assist individuals dealing with ovarian cancer manage their condition’s financial implications by providing funds for medical costs, treatment expenses, and other financial responsibilities.
Engage with insurance professionals or brokers experienced in high-risk or impaired-risk cases, including those familiar with ovarian cancer. These experts can guide you throughout the application process, simplify the complexities of underwriting, and effectively represent your interests with insurance companies.
During the application, it’s vital to share all pertinent and accurate details about your ovarian cancer diagnosis, your treatment history, and your current health condition. Comprehensive information enables insurers to fully grasp your circumstances and make an informed evaluation.
Take the initiative to gather and systematize all your medical records related to your ovarian cancer diagnosis, treatment, and subsequent care. This includes documents like pathology reports, surgical records, treatment summaries, and other related medical documentation. Having these records ready can speed up the underwriting process and present a transparent account of your medical history to insurers.
Always go to your scheduled follow-up appointments, tests, and screenings as your healthcare team advises. Insurance providers may view your commitment to managing your health favourably if you demonstrate regular medical monitoring and adherence to treatment plans.
As mentioned earlier, there are instances when insurance companies require a waiting period after the conclusion of your cancer treatment before granting coverage. During this waiting period, focus on maintaining good health, adhering to medical advice, and documenting your progress to strengthen your application for coverage.
Spend time researching and comparing different insurance providers, seeking out those with a track record of covering individuals with a history of ovarian cancer. Each insurance provider may have different underwriting standards, policy options, and pricing structures. Thus, exploring various options is beneficial to pinpoint the one that best aligns with your requirements.
Everyone’s experience with ovarian cancer is unique, and it can be worth appealing decisions or seeking a second opinion if you believe your individual circumstances haven’t been adequately considered.
Keep in mind that having ovarian cancer may lead to higher premiums compared to individuals without a history of cancer. Determine if you can afford higher premiums now and if you will continue affording them in the future. It’s crucial to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and be realistic about your financial capacity to avoid potential financial strain.