Generally, a cancer-specific policy covers a number of costs associated with your diagnosis and treatment including:
- Nursing care
- Blood transfusions
- Prescription drugs
However, you won’t be able to get cancer insurance if you’ve already been diagnosed.
So, then the question is do you really need cancer insurance?
To answer this question ask yourself the following three questions.
Do You have a Family History of Cancer?
Statistics show more than 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2015.
Approximately one in three Americans is diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime and researchers have spent decades trying to understand the causes of this disease.
In certain instances, a family history of cancer significantly increases your risk of being diagnosed.
For example, some types of breast cancer have been linked to a specific inherited genetic mutation. If you’ve had one first-degree female relative like a sister, mother, or daughter diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk is doubled. If two first-degree relatives have been diagnosed, your risk is five times higher than average.
If you have a family history and you are worried about your chances of getting cancer, a cancer insurance policy may give you peace of mind. Keep in mind some insurers may not offer coverage for every type of cancer so you’ll need to do your research before you purchase a policy.
You should also talk to your doctor about your medical history and your specific risk factors to help you decide whether you should invest in this type of coverage.
Are You Protected Financially?
You may not need a cancer insurance policy if you have enough cash in an emergency fund to cover the cost of your care should a serious illness occur. However, if you don’t have enough savings to cover your expenses, a cancer insurance policy can make the cost of your care more affordable as well as help keep you financially secure if you lose income because of your illness.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) direct medical costs (total of all health care expenditures) for cancer in the U.S. in 2011 were $88.7 billion. Half of this cost is for hospital outpatient or office-based provider visits, 35 percent for inpatient hospital stays, and 11 percent for prescription medications.
If you’re worried about your finances and are considering buying cancer insurance, you may want to look for a policy which offers the lump-sum option. With the lump sum policy, the money is paid out when you’re diagnosed and you’re free to use it however you like.
For example, you can use it for travel expenses if you have to see a doctor or specialist in another state, pay for daycare so your spouse can work, or just pay your day-to-day bills.
Having access to the money can ease some of the stress of the treatment process.
Do You Have The Right Coverage?
Ideally, it’s best to have a comprehensive health insurance policy which fits your budget and meets your wellness needs.
You might consider a cancer insurance policy if you have a high deductible plan and you’re worried about substantial out-of-pocket costs.
If you don’t have any health insurance at all, your decision to buy a cancer-specific policy depends on how concerned you are about your risk of cancer and your overall financial situation.
Generally, the premiums for cancer insurance are lower than traditional health insurance but if your chances of getting cancer are relatively low, you might not need it.
Choosing The Right Cancer Insurance Policy
If you are ready to shop around for a cancer insurance policy, you should consider the following.
Look at what the policy covers and the amount of benefits it pays for each type of expenses.
Pay attention to the lifetime benefit limit and whether or not the policy is guaranteed renewable.
If you’re concerned about putting money in a policy you may never have to use, check to see if you can include a return of premium rider which would put money back in your pocket once the coverage term is up.
Be sure to do your research and ask questions before buying a cancer insurance policy. This is where an insurance agent can be a valuable resource. They can help you understand the language in your policy, explain the specific terms and conditions, and guide your decision around which cancer insurance policy is right for you