If you currently do not have a cancer insurance policy, you may be wondering why anyone would need or want one. In my experience as an agent over the last 20+ years, I found that the people who purchase a cancer insurance plan do so because they either have concerns about cancer in their family history or they know of someone, a friend or co-worker, who has been diagnosed with cancer. In the case of the latter, there is a realization that their health insurance does not cover all of the costs associated with a cancer diagnosis.
Many times I have sat down with an employee of a business where I am enrolling benefits and hear how one of the other employees has recently been diagnosed with an invasive cancer. This creates a type of "wake up call" for the other members of the staff because they just assumed that their major medical coverage would cover all of the bills.
With all of this in mind, I thought it would be a good time to cover a few things to consider before you purchase a cancer plan.
1. Cancer plans cover a lot of out-of-pocket expenses. Items like co-pays, deductibles, travel and lodging (if you need to go to a hospital that is not in your area) and experimental treatments not covered by your insurance are just a few of the items that can cost you thousands of dollars.
2. Not all cancer plans work the same way. Some plans are considered to be "treatment plans", which means that they will reimburse you as you are receiving treatments. Keeping in mind that cancer treatments can go on for months, and in some cases years, these plans can be "richer" as they will continue to pay out as you continue to submit claims.
On the other hand, some carriers will offer "lump sum" plans, which will pay you a one-time lump sum of money upon diagnosis of cancer. These plans vary in price as you choose the amount of money you will need at the time of the application, some going as high as $75,000.
I have found that some people who choose the lump sum plan do so for the convenience of only having to file a claim once and it is easier to understand. They also may want just enough to cover their deductibles. There are no wrong answers as it is a matter of preference.
3. You may not be able to get a cancer plan if you have been recently diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, we meet people who have just gotten a "clean bill of health" and want a policy. For those people we have to break the news that they may have to wait several years before being covered by a policy.
4. If you have a policy already you may want to keep it. Most of the insurance companies that sell cancer insurance rarely increase the rates of their policies. Instead, they keep the old policies on the books and will develop or enhance "new policies". For example, one carrier has a policy with a "benefit builder", which means it pays more the longer you keep the policy. However, that policy is no longer being sold, but the company will let you keep it if you want it.
As treatments evolve, so do the policies. A good example is one of the "lump sum" policies we offer that includes genomic testing. A tissue sample of the cancer is sent to a lab, which in turn will send treatment suggestions to the doctors, all at no extra charge.
If you would like information about cancer coverage for you or your family, drop by our website or leave us a note. In the meantime, stay healthy!
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life and disability insurance coverage. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!