Cancer insurance, also sometimes referred to as critical illness insurance, is a relatively new addition to the arsenal of world of health insurance programs. It was created as a response to the increasing rate of cancer diagnoses worldwide and the rising costs of cancer care and treatment. The supplemental insurance is designed to help reduce the out-of-pocket cost of cancer care and to bridge the gap between what your primary health insurance covers and what it doesn’t.
Introduction to Cancer Insurance
Cancer insurance is a type of supplemental insurance policy that helps to reduce the out-of-pocket cost of having cancer treatment. It is not designed to replace a traditional health insurance policy, but instead to complement it by covering additional cancer-related expenses that may not be covered by your current policy. The premium covers you for certain types of cancer-related expenses if you are diagnosed while the policy is in effect.
To be eligible, you cannot have any pre-existing cancerous conditions. For example, you cannot have been diagnosed with lung cancer and then apply for a policy. In most cases, people who have previously been diagnosed and treated for cancer are also ineligible.
What It Covers
Cancer insurance coverage varies based on the provider and policy details, but most plans cover both medical and non-medical expenses. Medical expenses can include co-pays, extended hospital stays, medical tests, procedures like stem cell transplants, and other disease-specific treatments.
The non-medical expenses that are covered with a supplemental cancer policy can include loss of income benefits, child care expenses, home health care, and dietary restriction aids.
Is It Worth It?
There is a lot of debate about disease-specific health insurance plans like cancer insurance. Some people firmly support them, while others believe that they are “junk plans” sold on fear. Here are some points to consider when thinking about buying a cancer insurance plan:
- What is your cancer risk? Do you have a strong, familial history of cancer? If so, cancer insurance might be a solid decision. Those with a strong family history of cancer may want to take a look at their current policy and see how cancer insurance may complement their current policy. Remember, cancer insurance only kicks in if you are diagnosed with cancer. It will not provide any coverage for other common, chronic diseases.
- Would upgrading my current health insurance plan be a better idea? Choosing to upgrade your current policy may be a better alternative to buying a cancer protection plan, especially for those who are at average risk of developing cancer. It may cost less to upgrade your current plan than adding an additional cancer policy. Perhaps most importantly, upgrading your existing policy would provide a wider range of coverage benefits than a cancer-specific policy.
- Remember that two policies may not equal double the coverage. Having a basic comprehensive health insurance plan along with a cancer insurance plan does not necessarily mean that you will get double the benefits. Most major insurance policies have a coordination of benefits clause that states that it won’t cover expenses that the other plan does. By purchasing cancer insurance, you may be degrading the coverage of your primary health insurance policy!
Before You Buy
Before purchasing a cancer insurance plan, it is important that you understand exactly what is covered in the policy. You should also compare the benefits to your current health insurance plan to see if and where there is any overlap in coverage or redundancies. There is no sense in buying a cancer insurance policy if your current policy covers most or all of the same expenses.
If after careful consideration you decide that a cancer insurance policy may be the right move for your and your family, get in touch with your insurance agent who can help you work out exactly how much coverage you need. Many plans are available and comparing them is highly recommended. This includes shopping around for other types of insurance plans like long-term disability insurance, which may be a better option for you than cancer-specific protection.