What insurance is available for an elder with spreading cancer?

font-illustration-letter-q_MJMrdDjdMy eighty-year-old mother has been in a nursing home for a few years. After an aid noticed blood on her undergarments and found her chest to be discolored and deformed, she was sent to an oncologist – who then discovered a huge mass on her breast and diagnosed her with breast cancer. The scan showed that it has begun spreading into her bones. On top of it all, she’s a smoker! According to the oncologist, her life expectancy is approximately two years. Is there any insurance available for her, besides guaranteed issue whole life, which does not require medical exams or the answering of health questions?

font-illustration-letter-a_z1zZ_wsOThis is tough news for your family. I wish you strength. Life insurance options for an 80-year old woman with spreading cancer, confined to a nursing home, are limited to guaranteed issue products. If you are looking for a policy with a higher face amount, I do not believe that will be possible, unfortunately. Depending on her state of residence, your mother may be eligible for several of these products. Their combined benefit may give you the coverage needed. I think that the consumer is always best served by a broker who really knows the marketplace. He or she can help you address the multiple issues involved in this important decision.

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View my answers to previous questions on this blog and on Quora.


Over my decades in the business, I’ve been asked all kinds of questions about life insurance.

You name it – on issues ranging from application strategy to the risk profile of drug running to the insurability of AIDS to the philosophy of insurance itself – I’ve been asked it, by clients and by curious consumers.

Do you have any questions about life insurance?

I’m happy to help answer them.

There are two ways you can ask me a question:

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