1 February 2013 0 Comments

Not Just Another Skin Cancer – Melanoma

stay out of the sunMost skin cancers do not pose a challenge to obtaining life insurance, even at preferred premiums.  Skin cancer is the most common form of human cancer with as many as 1 out of 6 Americans developing the condition during their lifetime.  Basil Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and since it seldom spreads to other tissues, it has little impact on mortality.  Squamous Carcinoma has a greater chance of spreading—about 10% of all cases.

The real concern is Malignant Melanoma—the rarest and most deadly form of skin cancer.  About 1 in 80 Americans are afflicted by the disease.  It can be curable if the skin lesion is found early and is surgically removed.  However, even if the patient is told that the surgery has “cured” the melanoma, only the test of time will determine if the cancer has spread.  Therefore postponements and an additional flat-extra premium for a stipulated number of years following surgery are common.

Obtaining a pathology report will allow your insurance agent to give you a fairly good idea of what offer for life insurance might be available.  The offers will range all the way from standard to decline.  Standard might be available if the Melanoma is classified as “in-situ.”  This is the least invasive class, confined to the epidermis.  Even though there is little chance that the in-situe cancer cell has invaded other tissues, it is highly unlikely that preferred premiums will be available since those who have had one Melanoma diagnosis of any degree are more likely to have a future episode.   An individual with a Class V Clark Level where the cancer has invaded to subcutaneous tissues would likely be declined coverage at any premium (other than guaranteed issue programs).

The  flat-extra premiums for Clark Level II, III and IV Melanoma’s would range from $7.00 per $1,000 for 5 years to postpone for at least 5 years followed by $15.00 per $1,000 for another 5 years.   Clark Level describes the level of invasion into the skin and a Breslow Scale describes the vertical thickness.  The pathology report will have this information and should be easily obtained by the patient from the surgeon or attending physician.

Once there is a history of Melanoma the underwriter will look more favorably at  an applicant who visits his/her dermatologist  for regularly scheduled follow up exams.

Coming up…some uses for second-to-die policies in addition to estate tax liquidity.

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