The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - Fighting Blood Cancers
5 Replies Latest reply: Apr 9, 2012 12:10 PM by Jack RSS

CML and life insurance.

Edog Registered Users
Currently Being Moderated

Hi all,

My name is Eric and this is the first time I'm posting a question on this site.  I've visited this site many times since my diagnosis in December of 2006.  The information and learning about everyone's experiences has helped me keep a positive outlook on my journey with CML.  For that I thank you all very much.

A little bit about myself,  I was diagnosed 6 days before my 35th birthday.  I immediately started 400g of Gleevec and by the first year I acheived a 3 log reducton until December of 2008 when my PCR showed a decrease in log reduction (around 2).  A second PCR showed the same results and the mutation test was inconclusive (or negative not sure the term) but the decision was made to switch to Sprycel after my onc reviewed my situation with his oncology team at UCSF.  Since, my PCR numbers continue to be over 3 log reduction and I've also had several weak positive numbers.

Now  on to my question.

Has anyone been successful in purchasing life insurance or increasing coverage while diagnosed with CML?  My employer provides basic (one years salary, which would be great if I made $1M/year).  The process through my employer's benefit coverage includes a form that asks questions abouts health, cancer, how long in remission (which raise's a question about remission and level of response with CML) etc...  I would think there are outside insurance companies that do provide coverage for people in our situations?  Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.




  • Re: CML and life insurance.
    Susan61 Registered Users
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi Eric:  I am glad you asked about insurance.  My husband has me under his employment with Life Insurance, and they never asked about pre-existing conditions.  Thats something for me to have my husband check on.  The one thing I did, and it was not too wise in some instances, but we took out a small policy on both of us where we had to wait for 2 years before it went into full coverage.  It did not ask about pre-existing conditions, but it does not build up dividends either.

    Basically I am paying every 3 months, and could be paying for many years if God Wlling I live that long.

    We have had it for so long, otherwise I would drop it.  For me to try to just open up a savings account just for life insurance would not be good.  I know I would dip into it to pay bills, as we are having a hard time.

    For anyone with good income etc. and not being approved for insurance due to pre-existing cancer etc.  I would advise them to open a  separate account marked strictly for funeral expenses, and just keep paying into that every month.

         We both had a good policy when we first got married, but we had to cash it in long time ago due to hard times.

         Insurance can be good or it can be a rip-off.  Check into all possibilities.

  • Re: CML and life insurance.
    Happycat Registered Users
    Currently Being Moderated



    No, I have not tried, but I'd love to know what you find out. I kinda figured the insurance companies would not get that granular in type of leukemia and survival stats. I figured they'd lump all leukemia into one general bucket and use the average statistic for life expectancy.


    I luckily did have insurance before I got cml, but I'd like to increase it a bit. We have SBLI, but with the cost of college increasing, there's no way it can pay for all 3 kids to get thru college.


    My employer offers supplemental insurance, too, and previously, you could add one insurance level (increase from 2x to 3x salary) without filling out a health questionnaire. Wouldn't you know it, this year they instituted a health questionnaire for all increases. So I didn't change anything.




    • Re: CML and life insurance.
      Teresabourgeois Registered Users
      Currently Being Moderated

      I was told by my insurance agent that they can write a policy on someone once cancer has been in remission for 5 years.  But does CML ever really go into remission??  I sure wish I would have gotten Alfac :).  Thank goodness I do have a good amount of life insurance. 

      • Re: CML and life insurance.
        Susan61 Registered Users
        Currently Being Moderated

        That is a good question because the insurance company might not understand how CML works.  If they see you have had no progession for so many years they  might call it a Remission, but if they know anything about CML they would know that only through a BMT you could be in remission..Anything else is only referred to as a response.  Even at PCRU for many years is still a response and not a remission.  If you have Life Insurance that is good right now, then just keep it. 

  • Re: CML and life insurance.
    Jack Registered Users
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hey Eric,

    Have no doubt that the insurance company will dump you in a heartbeat if they have half a chance. They have a fiduciary duty to.  Would you ok a company to take on a $120,000/yr liability and only charge 10% of that for the same year in premiums.  Anyone that tells you different is not living in the real world.  I was told by an insurance agent that if he or anyone else made that deal, they would be out of their job faster than the first premium was paid.  I had health ins through a union,  3 mo of AFFORDABLE COBRA, and then BCBS -- before my dx.  My BCBS "covered" my meds, but at %100 copay.  In other words, for all TKI inhibitors I would have to pay 100% ($110,000) a year out of pocket.  I had to keep my BCBS because they at least covered my blood work.  In addition, I had to  pay for another insurance (for uninsurable people) for 6 mo, until the pre-existing period was met.  This was $60,000 in meds, while paying for 2 insurance policys. I had to beg for charity from Novartis, while getting my passport in order to move away from my family to Canada, Italy, or France. These were the three most affordable choices.  If Sen. Martin Sabo hadn't have MADE the insurance companies cover "uninsurables" as a condition of doing business in Minnesota at no more that 120% over the cost for a client without a pre-condition,  I would have to be living away from my family, or dragging them down with me into bankruptcy.  The insurance companies do not care how a desease works, they care how money works!  The way this country is going sucks!  If a life insurance company doesn't ask about pre-conditions, it is because the contract that they have with the company or union stipulates that they cannot.  Jack

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