What You Need to Know About Cancer Insurance

Is Critical Illness or Cancer Insurance Worth It?

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Cancer insurance, also sometimes referred to as critical illness insurance, is a relatively new fad in the world of health insurance programs. It was created in response to the increasing rate of cancer diagnoses worldwide and the ever-increasing costs of cancer care and treatment. The supplemental insurance is designed to help reduce the out-of-pocket cost of cancer care and bridge the gap between what your primary health insurance covers and what it doesn't, but is cancer insurance worth it?

Introduction to Cancer Insurance

Cancer insurance is a type of supplemental insurance policy that helps to reduce the out-of-pocket cost of cancer treatment. It is not designed to replace a traditional health insurance policy, but instead to compliment it by covering additional cancer-related expenses that may not be covered by your current policy. For the cost of the cancer insurance policy premium, you are covered for certain types of cancer-related expenses, perhaps above and beyond your primary health insurance coverage, should you be diagnosed while the policy is in effect.

To be eligible for cancer insurance, you cannot have a pre-existing cancerous condition. For example, you cannot have been diagnosed with uterine cancer and then apply for a policy. In most cases, people who have previously been diagnosed and treated for cancer are also ineligible for the supplemental cancer coverage.

What Cancer Insurance 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 home health care, loss of income benefits, child care expenses, and dietary restriction aids.

Is Cancer Insurance 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 may make sense for you. Those with a strong family history of cancer may want to take a look at their current policy and see how cancer insurance may compliment 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 to 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

At first glance, the wide range of expenses covered by cancer insurance can look like a great deal. But 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, be sure to shop around before you sign your name on the dotted line. 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.

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