January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, about 14,480 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. This disease, however, is virtually always preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening which makes creating awareness so important.
While the cervical death rate has dropped significantly with the increased use of Pap tests, the risk still isn’t zero. Your life insurance rates may be impacted with a history of cervical cancer. The good news is that not all insurance companies underwrite certain health conditions in the same way.
Quotacy is here to dig through the different life insurance companies to help you find affordable term life insurance rates that keep you and your family covered.
Buying Life Insurance with a History of Cervical Cancer
If you have a history of cervical cancer or cervical pre-cancers, your best chances of getting affordable life insurance is to apply through a broker, like Quotacy. Brokers are not tied to one life insurance company and are able to shop the market.
We want you to get approved and will work hard to help you get coverage. Start the process by getting a free term life insurance quote or keep reading for more in-depth information about life insurance and cervical cancer.
If you’re applying for life insurance, an HPV diagnosis may affect your life insurance rates.
If you’re HPV positive but have no negative PAP test results, then no further underwriting investigation may be required. If you’re HPV positive and also have abnormal PAP results, underwriters will want to know what steps were taken next. A colposcopy or biopsy may be what doctors recommend for treatment.
In order to qualify for preferred pricing, life insurance companies will want to see that a woman’s most recent PAP test is normal and last HPV test is negative. If treatment such as a colposcopy or biopsy was needed, insurers may require that the last three years of PAP tests are normal, in addition to the negative HPV test.
How is cervical cancer treated?
Cervical cancer found in its early stages can be successfully treated. For women, this is one of the reasons why having regular Pap tests is so important.
Women should start having Pap tests at age 21 (or sooner if you are sexually active). Pap tests should occur every three years until age 29. For women aged 30-64, it’s recommended that you have Pap and HPV tests every five years. For women 65 and older, your doctor may say you no longer need regular Pap tests.
Treatment choices for cervical cancer may be a single therapy or a combination of therapies, such as:
- Surgery to remove the cancer. The type of surgery needed depends on the location and extent of cervical cancer and whether you want to have children.
- Radiation therapy, which uses high-dose X-rays or implants in the vaginal cavity to kill cancer cells. It is used for certain stages of cervical cancer. It is often used in combination with surgery.
- Chemoradiation, which is a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. This is often used to treat both early-stage and late-stage cervical cancer.
- Chemotherapy, which uses medicines to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used to treat advanced cervical cancer.
After treatment for cervical cancer, it’s important to commit to the recommended follow-up care. Your doctor will schedule regular checkups that include:
- A pelvic exam and Pap test every 3 to 6 months for the first 2 years.
- After the first 2 years, a pelvic exam and Pap test every 6 months for another 3 to 5 years.
- After 5 years, a pelvic exam and Pap test every year.
Cervical cancer can return, or recur, after treatment. The chance that your cancer will return depends on the stage of the initial cancer. Cancer found early is less likely to come back than cancer found at a later stage.
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Does cervical cancer affect buying life insurance?
A history of cervical cancer can affect buying life insurance. The good news is that incidence and mortality of cervical cancer has noticeably decreased because of widespread screening.
Life insurance underwriters will review all medical records of applicants with a history of cervical cancer, as they would with any history of cancer. Most cervical cancer cases once treated are likely to be able to receive standard life insurance ratings.
When you apply for life insurance makes a difference. If you are currently going through treatment, oftentimes life insurance carriers will require you to first complete treatment, wait one year, and then apply.
Cervical cancer diagnosed in its early stage (Stage IA) will have less hoops to jump through for life insurance approval. After three years have passed since treatment was completed, standard ratings aren’t out of the question. For individuals applying prior to three years, table ratings or flat extras may apply.
For later stages (Stage 1B through Stage 3) at least five years need to have passed since treatment completion in order to be considered for standard pricing. Table ratings or flat extras may apply if not enough years have passed.
Table ratings refer to an added percentage cost on top of the standard pricing. Table ratings are used when insurers take on extra risk by approving certain applicants.
While some companies treat table ratings a little differently, for the most part, each table rating adds an extra 25% to the final cost of the policy. For example, if the standard monthly premium is $50 and the applicant receives an offer of Table 5, this means their monthly premium is $112.50 (50 + 125%).
A flat extra is a specific added dollar amount per $1000 of insurance coverage. These flat extras can be permanent or temporary and are used to cushion an insurance company’s risk.
Jennifer, 40 and non-smoker, was diagnosed with Stage 2a cervical cancer. She completed treatment 5 years ago.
She applies for a 20-year $375,000 term life insurance policy.
For Stage 2a, the insurance company wants at least 7 years to have passed before considering standard rates without any additional premium (i.e. table rating or flat extra). They approve Jennifer at Standard Non-Tobacco with a temporary $5 flat extra for the next two years.
The standard premium for this policy is $40 per month. But with Jennifer’s flat extra of $5, she instead needs to pay $196.25 per month (((5 x 375) / 12) + 40) for the first two years. After two years, her premiums drop of $40 per month.
Stage 4 cervical cancer is likely uninsurable with traditional life insurance.
Here at Quotacy we understand how important life insurance is for a family. We work with many top-rated life insurance companies and work hard to help you get life insurance coverage.
Even if you have a history of cervical cancer, there is still a good chance that you can be approved for life insurance. Start by getting a free term life insurance quote today. You do not need to enter any personal contact information to see a price quote and all your information is private and secure. Contact us if you have any questions. We’re here to help you protect your family’s future.
About the writer
Natasha Cornelius, CLU
Senior Editor and Life Insurance Expert
Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.