How Cancer Patients & Survivors Can Obtain Coverage

Many cancer patients, and even survivors, may believe that they will not be able to find life insurance coverage, at least at an affordable rate. While it is true that some providers will deny coverage for certain health conditions, you still have options when searching for insurance with a cancer diagnosis.

With almost a million Americans diagnosed every year with some form of cancer, more and more options are available for term life insurance. Term Life Insurance can help you get quotes from multiple providers, and choose the plan that fits your needs best. Let’s explore some of the factors that may impact your insurance options.

How A Cancer Diagnosis Affects Eligibility

Your ability to obtain coverage following a cancer diagnosis will depend on a number of factors, including the type of cancer, and whether you are currently undergoing treatment or if your cancer is in remission. Unfortunately, if you are still in treatment, you may be limited in terms of insurance availability. In this case your best option may be high risk or guaranteed acceptance plans, which offer limited benefits and usually higher out of pocket costs.

If, however, you are cancer free, you are only a matter of time away from affordable coverage. Each type of cancer has its own waiting period depending on severity and likelihood of recurrence. Waiting until after you have completed treatment and you waiting period has passed will give you the best chance of being approved for coverage.

Waiting Periods For Cancer Policies

Each provider may set their own specific requirements for any condition, but this guide will share some of the most common waiting periods.

  • Leukemia has the longest at 10 years.
  • Bone and Metastatic Cancer typically require 5 years.
  • Esophageal, Kidney, Lung, and Ovarian Cancer usually call for 3 years.
  • Bladder, Breast, Colon, Lymphoma, Pancreatic, Rectum, and Salivary Cancers require 2 years.
  • Cervical, Larynx, Prostate, Skin, and Testicular Cancers typically require 1 year.


Special Cases For Cancer Patients

With some forms of cancer, companies will examine certain aspects of your condition more carefully. Since each type of cancer requires different treatment, and has different effects on the body, insurance providers view them differently in terms of risk as well.

Breast Cancer

Approval for life insurance after breast cancer depends heavily on the length of time that you have been cancer free. The more often you are screened for recurrence, combined with the type of treatment you received and the number of years you have spent symptom free all contribute to your ability to obtain coverage.

Prostate Cancer

For prostate cancer patients, along with the length of time you have spent cancer free, two other factors may impact your acceptance. Your Gleason score, which estimates the chances that your cancer will spread to other parts of the body, can improve your options if the value is low. Your PSA levels, or prostate specific antigens, will also be examined.


As the most serious of skin cancers, melanoma commonly spreads and can often metastasize, making it a high-risk health condition. If your cancer has been surgically removed, and does not spread to other areas, you have the best chance of approval. If the cancer has spread, and you have received treatment for other areas, you may be required to wait an extended period of time before being approved, and premiums could still be much higher.

Skin Cancer (Non-Melanoma)

Squamous and Basal Cell Carcinomas are by far the most common types of skin cancer. Because of the slow movement and relatively easy removal, your approval is much more likely, especially after a year or two being cancer free.

Discover Your Options After Cancer

If you’re looking for life insurance coverage after a cancer diagnosis, get started with a quote through Term Life Insurance. We can help you find all your options, and choose a provider and a plan that fits your needs and budget.