As we were reviewing a new case it occurred to us that how much a client cares about a health issue, how compliant they are with medical recommendations, is more than half the battle in finding the best possible life insurance rates for their situation. This client is an absolutely stellar example of that kind of compliance and how the medical issue he is dealing is, well, not going to be the death of him.
In his mid forties, on an insurance exam, there was an elevation of his PSA. It was 3.0, definitely high for someone that age, so he visited a urologist who suggested that they just keep an eye on it. Over the next 15 years he has seen that urologist every 6 months to have his PSA checked. For several years it went down and would occasionally flirt with getting up to 3 again and then 4 years ago it went up to 3.3 and then 6 months later 3.7. The urologist still recommended just keeping an eye on it since it had been high in the past and went back down and sure enough it did dip back below 3 on a regular check, but the next check his PSA went above 4 and his free PSA dropped to hear 10. That was two years ago and since increasing PSA and decreasing free PSA can be, aren’t always, but can be indicators of prostate cancer, they did a biopsy. The biopsy showed no cancer but did show one small area of abnormal cells, definitely not malignant, but worth watching as they could have been precancerous.
His PSA recently reached 6.7 while his free PSA came back up to 13.7 and he had his third biopsy over the past two years done. There was no change in the biopsy. He was still cancer free, but it seemed likely that with this abnormal cluster of cells that he was certainly a good candidate for prostate cancer at some point. It was at about this point that his term life insurance policy came to the end of its’ level term and he asked the company to underwrite a new policy for him. They said they could, but with his uncertain future with prostate cancer they felt it was fair to offer a much higher rate. Right there is where we, and fortunately some life insurance companies, take exception to that “uncertain future” position. It’s not that there isn’t a high likelihood that it will turn into cancer, but rather “so what”. Prostate cancer is one of the most successfully treated cancers in men and he is now down to having it checked every three months. There isn’t going to be any surprise when a biopsy comes back positive for cancer and they will have discovered exactly the way you hope for, early. The chance that he will die from that cancer is somewhere near 0. In fact given the fact that he is now in his 60’s and this has essentially been sort of evolving over 15 years, even if it turns cancerous his urologist might not recommend treatment, called exactly what they’ve been doing for 15 years, watchful waiting.
While he won’t get preferred plus life insurance rates, he should definitely be rewarded because of his compliance with preferred to standard plus rates. It’s like when someone goes to the dermatologist and find out they have a low stage and grade melanoma. It gets removed and that person sees their dermatologist regularly for the rest of their life. That and they do self examination in between visits to their doctor. Is that person a life insurance risk because of skin cancer? In our opinion, which happens to coincide with several life insurance companies, the risk is fairly low because skin cancer is always going to be caught early if it ever occurs again. The prognosis and the life insurance mortality risk should really be on the same page here. Rather than punish because of an instance of skin cancer, life insurance reward should come to those who take their health impairment seriously.
Whether it’s monitoring a PSA regularly, self examination and regular visits to a dermatologist, or checking glucose routinely when you are treating type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the end product is well controlled and life insurance underwriters with their thinking caps on see a better than normal risk. If you have any questions about the life insurance underwriting of your impairment and what the underwriters want to see, call or email us. We can help.
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