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April 2017  Volume 10, Number 4        

long term care

Does Cancer Insurance Make Sense for You and Your Family?

One in two men in the United States have a chance of developing some type of cancer; women one in three, according to the American Cancer Society’s Facts and Figures 2015 report.

You might wonder whether cancer insurance would be a wise purchase. Cancer insurance helps to reduce the cost of cancer treatment, which can be substantial, but provides limited coverage. The cost of medications alone can be prohibitive. The American Society of Clinical Oncology said that some therapies can cost as much as $30,000 per month.

Cancer insurance, however, is supposed to supplement a good health insurance plan. It will only benefit you if it covers expenses your health insurance policy doesn’t. But it won’t cover all of your expenses. Here are a few questions to ask before purchasing cancer coverage.

Q   Do I need cancer insurance?

A   It depends on your family health history. If you come from a long line of close relatives who’ve been diagnosed with cancer, cancer insurance can give you peace of mind. However, if you’re young and healthy with no family history of cancer you can probably skip it. To be on the safe side, it’s always best to talk with your doctor about your medical history. Not all cancer insurance covers all cancers, so it’s important to be aware of your specific risk factors. You can purchase a policy to cover medical or non-medical costs.

Q   Won’t my health insurance plan cover cancer treatment costs?

A   Most basic health insurance plans don’t cover all cancer treatment costs.

Q   What will a medical policy cover?

A   It depends on the policy, but this type of coverage can include medical treatment, hospital stays, experimental treatments and visits to in- or out-of-network specialists and home healthcare. Remember that some policies only cover in-hospital care, not out-patient, which is how radiation treatment is delivered. Also, some plans don’t cover skin cancer.

Q   What does a non-medical policy cover?

A   A lump sum payment is paid as soon as a diagnosis is made and can be used for any expenses incurred, such as child care for a spouse who has to go to work, living expenses, dietary assistance, and travel and lodging for treatment away from home.

Q   Is coverage expensive?

A   Some plans have monthly premiums as low as $20 to $40 per month, which is lower than basic coverage premiums. The key, though, is to read the policy carefully before you sign to make sure you understand what you’re purchasing and it’s what you need.

Q   Who qualifies for cancer coverage?

A   Coverage is only available to those who have not been diagnosed or treated for certain kinds of cancer (usually internal) in the last three or five years—although some companies will turn you down if you’ve ever been treated or diagnosed. Some companies also consider you ineligible if you’ve been treated for health issues such as Hodgkin’s disease, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex or if you’ve been tested positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Some employers offer cancer insurance and in some cases employees with a history of cancer are still able to purchase coverage.

Q   If I qualify, can I get immediate coverage?

A   Many plans have waiting periods that can last weeks or months.

Q What are other options?

A   Put more money to upgrading your basic health insurance plan. Critical illness insurance not only covers cancer, but also covers heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, major organ transplants and ALS. These policies usually pay a lump sum after you’ve been diagnosed with one of these diseases.

If you’re already enrolled in Medicare, you can purchase Medigap coverage, which can sometimes help cover any remaining costs. Another option is to save as much as possible to make sure you have money for emergencies.

Please contact us to learn more about whether cancer insurance is a good choice for you and your family.


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In this issue:

This Just In...

What Replacing the Affordable Care Act Means — Pros and Cons

Don’t Be Unprepared for an Accident Waiting to Happen

Does Cancer Insurance Make Sense for You and Your Family?

Is a Variable Annuity With an Income Rider a Good Way to Save?


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