No one wants to think about the possibility that they, a spouse or a child could ever be diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, about 1.8 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer every year — and the unfortunate truth is that this deadly disease can strike anyone at any point. Cancer insurance is a supplemental insurance policy that can help you pay for some of the many costs associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment that may not be completely covered by your health insurance.
Quick Look: The Best Cancer Insurance
Best Cancer Insurance Carriers
Do you think an additional cancer insurance policy might be right for your needs? You an use for supplemental insurance like this from these trusted providers.
- securely through Sidecar Health Access Plan's websiteBest For:No enrollment period health insurance
Plans referred to above are excepted benefit fixed indemnity insurance products marketed and administered by Sidecar Health Insurance Solutions, LLC and underwritten by Sirius America Insurance Company or United States Fire Insurance Company, depending on the state. As an excepted benefit plan, it does not provide comprehensive/major medical expenses coverage, minimum essential coverage, or essential health benefits. You cannot receive a subsidy (premium tax credit and/or cost-sharing reduction) under the ACA in connection with your purchase of such an excepted benefit fixed indemnity insurance plan. Also, the termination or loss of this policy does not entitle you to a special enrollment period to purchase a health benefit plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage outside of an open enrollment period. Coverage and plan options may vary or may not be available in all states.
What is Cancer Insurance?
Cancer insurance is a supplemental insurance policy intended to work in conjunction with your health insurance to assist you in paying for costs not covered under your health insurance plans.
Cancer Insurance Explained
If you’re diagnosed with cancer, your health insurance will be your primary source of assistance paying for your treatment. Thanks to measures put into place by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), your health insurance provider must provide coverage for cancer treatment, and your health insurance company cannot put a lifetime maximum on the dollar amount your health insurance will pay for treatment.
This means that, so long as you are truthful on your initial health insurance application and you continue to pay your premiums, your health insurance cannot stop paying for your treatment.
This doesn’t mean that your health insurance will cover every cost associated with a cancer diagnosis — this is where cancer insurance can come in handy. Most cancer insurance plans will include coverage for some or all of the following extra expenses:
- Your deductible: Your health insurance deductible is the amount of money you’ll need to pay toward your healthcare before your insurance begins covering your bills. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible, you must pay $1,000 toward your healthcare needs each year before your insurance kicks in and starts paying for your treatments. Supplemental insurance can help you cover the cost of your deductible, which you’re very likely to reach over the course of treatment.
- Copayments: Most insurance plans include a copayment that requires you to cover a portion of any treatments you receive up to an out-of-pocket maximum. Depending on your plan, your insurance might have an out-of-maximum of more than $10,000, which you’ll need to cover in addition to your deductible. Cancer insurance can help you cover the costs of these copayments, which can quickly add up.
- Childcare: Cancer treatments are intensive, and fighting cancer can leave you unable to provide your children with the full level of attention and care that they need. Supplemental insurance can help you pay for daycare and long-term care for your children, which are expenses that can get out of hand if you have multiple children or very young children.
- Housing payments: When fighting cancer, you may not be able to work. Your provider can help you pay for ongoing expenses such as your rent or mortgage, which can be especially helpful if you’re the primary breadwinner for your family.
- Out-of-network care: Select insurance companies require a larger copayment percentage if you see a doctor or medical specialist outside of your health insurance company’s network. Your policy can help you cover additional expenses that your health insurance provider imposes on you if you must see a medical specialist outside of your network.
- Traveling and lodging expenses: If you have a rare type of cancer, you may need to travel far from home to receive specialized treatment. Your cancer insurance can help you cover the costs of travel, lodging and meals that you would normally cook at home while you’re on the road.
As you can see, there are many nonmedical expenses associated with receiving treatment for cancer. If you anticipate that you’ll have trouble covering these expenses, it’s a good idea to consider adding a cancer insurance policy to your list of home coverages.
Most insurance companies will deny coverage if you have already been diagnosed with cancer. This makes it especially important to begin reviewing your insurance coverage while you’re healthy.
Who Needs Cancer Insurance?
If you have health insurance, you might assume that you don’t need to add another insurance policy to your coverage. After all, ACA-compliant health insurance plan providers are required to provide you with comprehensive coverage for cancer diagnoses and treatments — why would you add another bill to your monthly expenses if you already have coverage?
The unfortunate truth is that cancer can affect anyone — and you might not realize the full cost of cancer until you’re stuck with thousands of dollars in unpaid bills. Research your family history and see which types of cancers you have a predisposal to. If your family shows multiple types of cancers, you should seriously consider investing in cancer insurance in addition to your health insurance.
How to Compare Your Health Insurance to a Cancer Endorsement
Before you purchase a cancer insurance policy endorsement, look at your current health insurance policy. Review your out-of-pocket maximum and your deductible before you decide whether you need to add a policy endorsement.
Though some health insurance policies have very high maximums and deductibles, others have very low out-of-pocket costs. For example, if you pay a higher monthly premium for your insurance plan, you likely have a lower deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. Some insurance plans even have zero deductibles. If you have a comprehensive health insurance plan that offers a ton of coverage and you have a fully complete emergency fund, you might not need extra insurance for cancer.
Should You Get Critical Illness Insurance?
Cancer isn’t the only life-threatening illness that can take a toll on your finances. Other conditions (like a heart attack or coronary bypass) can cause a major financial strain as you receive treatment and take time off from work to recover. If you don’t have an emergency fund or a health savings account, you may find it difficult to keep up with even basic living expenses while receiving treatment.
A critical illness insurance policy is a more inclusive supplemental insurance option that can help you pay for mounting costs when you suffer a debilitating illness. Some examples of things that a critical illness policy can help cover include:
- Any deductible or copayment associated with your health insurance plan
- Childcare expenses
- Transportation and lodging expenses if you must travel to receive treatments
- Experimental treatments that your health insurance provider isn’t required to pay for
- Money from the coverage for terminally ill patients to pay for final expenses
If you have a family history of heart disease, cancer or another condition that can lead to a critical illness, you may want to consider adding this insurance to your current health insurance plan. The right critical illness coverage can help you stress less over bills and focus on healing and resting.
Finding Cancer Insurance That’s Right for you
Cancer insurance isn’t the same thing as health insurance — it is meant to be used in conjunction with your health insurance plan. Knowing your current health insurance benefits can help you choose the best cancer insurance to complement your coverage. For example, if you have a plan with a $20,000 out-of-pocket maximum, you might want to consider a cancer insurance policy with a limit of $20,000 or more.
Want to learn more about health insurance? Check out Benzinga's guides on the best affordable health insurance companies, the best short term health insurance companies and the best self-employed health insurance companies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a cancer policy cover?
A cancer endorsement works in conjunction with your health insurance policy to cover both medical and nonmedical expenses. Your cancer insurance can help pay for things like childcare, deductibles, copayments and more.
Can you be denied cancer insurance?
Yes. Cancer insurance isn’t the same thing as health insurance, which means that companies can freely deny insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. This makes it especially important to shop for cancer coverage while you’re healthy.