Getting Life Insurance After a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Diagnosis
Patients have wondered if you can get life insurance if you have lymphoma. Getting life insurance after a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis is not only possible, but many have been misled thinking they cannot. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma can have an impact on both insurance underwriting and risk assessment.
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UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020
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Cancer can happen to anyone and can occur in any part of the body.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, you are most likely facing one of the most trying times of your life, filled with fear and uncertainty.
We believe that these feelings of anguish should never be exacerbated by shopping for life insurance.
This is why we seek to provide a blog filled with information on different types of cancer and “high risk” diseases.
We believe that knowledge acts as a safety net when shopping for life insurance, and that you should know exactly how your circumstances will impact your coverage.
After all, your life insurance policy is your family’s future, and that future should be protected.
Today, we’re going to talk about Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and how the disease impacts insurance underwriting and risk assessment.
What Is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a common form of lymphomatic cancer.
“Lymphatic” refers to your lymph nodes, which are also your body’s disease-fighting networks.
Your lymphatic system includes your spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and thymus gland.
Typically, cancers in this area are classified as either Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s cancers.
For this article, we are going to be focusing on the former, Hodgkin’s lymphomas.
These type of lymphomas are classified into four categories, all exhibiting similar traits:
- Nodular Sclerosis
- Lymphocyte predominance
- Mixed cellularity
- Lymphocyte depletion
Of the four, lymphocyte predominance and nodular sclerosis typically have the best prognosis, with nodular sclerosis accounting for nearly half of all Hodgkin’s cases.
Mixed cellularity accounts for a large portion of these diagnoses, as well.
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Life Insurance
If you have been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and have been told you cannot get life insurance, we are here to tell you that you have been misled.
For most Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases, it is possible to obtain life insurance coverage at reasonable rates, particularly after several years of remission.
When it comes to classifying the risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the most important factor is its spread.
This is done via a staging system, on a scale of I to IV.
These systems are then broken into subcategories A and B.
The subcategory “A” refers to the absence of systemic symptoms.
This refers to weight loss, fatigue, night sweats and the presence of a fever.
Subcategory “B” includes the presence of systemic symptoms and often has a poorer prognosis than category “A.”
Let’s take a closer look at the staging process:
- Stage I means that the cancer only involves one lymph node region or extralymphatic site.
- Stage II involves two or more lymph node regions from the same side of the diaphragm
- Stage III means the cancer has spread to involve lymph node regions from both sides of the diaphragm
- Stage IV indicates that the cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes and involves one or more tissues such as bone marrow, lungs or the liver.
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These ratings are typically used in reference to the first remission period after a Hodgkin’s diagnosis.
The problem with these forms of staging is that Hodgkin’s lymphoma has a tendency to recur in patients.
So, while you will more than likely be able to find insurance coverage, it may take some time for your premiums to reduce.
Once the cancer has recurred, underwriters will rate the risk one stage higher and charge accordingly.
Typically, the stages are listed in conjunction with their subcategories and a period of complete remission.
These time periods are either 1 year, 3 years or 5 years, depending on the stage of the cancer.
Underwriters assess the patient’s risk and will tack on a “flat extra,” or an additional fee per $1,000 of the policy, charged over a set period of time.
This flat extra will be based on the patient’s prognosis, treatment options, stage of the diseases and any additional health risks.
What Your Agent Will Need To Know
In order to find the best rates possible for your policy size and type, your agent will have you fill out a questionnaire.
This questionnaire with typically mimic an underwriter’s template and is designed to help your agent accurately assess your risk and find you the best carriers.
However, before we detail some examples of the questions listed, we want you to know that it is always important to be completely honest on your questionnaire and with your life insurance agent.
It is a common misconception that high-risk diseases are a wash when it comes to finding affordable life insurance and – while your premiums will most likely be higher than the average person’s – this is often not the case.
There are many insurance agencies out there, and they all specialize in covering different sets of risk.
This means that there is more than likely the perfect company to fit your needs; it’s only a matter of finding it.
Remember: we are here to help, and the more information you can provide, the better your chances are of finding affordable coverage.
Your agent will want to know the following:
- The type of Hodgkin’s with which you have been diagnosed.
- The date you were diagnosed.
- The date of your last treatment. (If you are still undergoing treatment, be sure to let your agent know!)
- The type of treatment you have received.
- The Stage and Subcategory of the Hodgkin’s disease.
- A list of the medications you are currently taking, both for treatment of the cancer and for other ailments.
- The date of your last recurrence (if applicable).
- Any additional medical issues which which you have been diagnosed.
Once you have completed the questionnaire, your agent will be able to help you find the companies that will work best for you, allowing you to quickly and easily compare premium prices.
Don’t let cancer stand in the way of your family’s future.
Armed with the help of an expert agent and this knowledge, you will be able to find a policy that works for you.
Give us a call today to see how we can help.