Different from other illnesses, cancer is characterized by significant pain, survival risks, distress, and emotional breakdown. The disease has adverse effects not only on patients but also on entire family members as well as those closely connected with them. The cases of cancer in all countries worldwide seem to be escalating every day. The American Cancer Society (n.d) indicates that 1.8 million new cancer cases and 606,520 cancer deaths are reported in 2020, figures that are estimated to be 1.9 million and 608,570, respectively, in 2021. All individuals, regardless of their age, gender, or geographical location, are vulnerable to this deadly disease.
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Patients, family members, and friends spend a considerable amount of money on the treatment and management of cancer. However, cancer insurance is the best companion to managing cancer care costs. An evaluation of what cancer insurance is, what it covers, how it works, the best providers, and how it differs from health insurance can facilitate a better understanding of the policy and its benefits.
Cancer Insurance, What It Covers, and How It Works
Cancer insurance refers to the insurance policy that pays a lump sum in the case holders are diagnosed with cancer disease. Payouts related to these insurance plans range significantly depending on premiums. Cancer insurance plans are not different from critical sicknesses policies (“What is a cancer insurance policy?” n.d.). However, the plans are only limited to cancer diagnoses, unlike the critical illness policies that cover a broader array of ailments.
Cancer insurance policies do not serve as a stand-alone coverage; instead, they are designed to appendage regular health insurance plans. Patients can use payouts from these policies to cover out-of-pocket expenses under other medical insurance plans and other costs associated with cancer treatment. Although the coverage of cancer insurance plans varies according to policy details and providers, most of them cover medical and non-medical costs. The policies become effective after insurance companies receive documents that show that their clients have been diagnosed with cancer.
Popular Cancer Insurance Providers
Aflac is the largest supplemental insurance provider in the United States that has been operating since 1955. The company’s cancer insurance policy is available directly to individuals or through employers, and the coverage is portable. Aflac categorizes the benefits of cancer wellness, cancer diagnosis, cancer treatment, hospitalization, continuing care, and transportation, among others. While wellness benefits encompass $75 annually for only one cancer screening service received by covered individuals, the amount the company pays for others varies significantly depending on care or amenities rendered (“Aflac Supplemental Insurance,” n.d.). The premium paid by covered individuals varies according to the plans they select. Equally, copayments or deductibles are not clearly defined since they are influenced by the plans chosen by customers.
All individuals who have not previously been diagnosed and treated with cancer or have pre-existing conditions that increase risks for the disease are eligible for the Aflac cancer insurance policy. Clients are required to have registered for regular health insurance plans and contribute their premium monthly. Major advantages for Aflac are that this provider pays for initial diagnosis, covers experimental treatments, and does not provide an age limit for eligibility (“Aflac Supplemental Insurance,” n.d.). However, the possible exclusion for illnesses reported within the past ten years and lack of disclosure of what policy covers unless a client signs for one are key shortcomings.
This provider is a well-established insurance firm in the United States, popular in health and dental benefits. The company provides its clients with modifiable coverage such as stroke and heart attack plans in addition to lump-sum cancer insurance. Cigna offers two types of cancer policies that customers can choose from, cancer care treatment and lump-sum payment policy. Benefits associated with purchasing Cigna’s cancer insurance are for chemotherapy, hospitalization, surgical procedures, rehabilitative therapy, transportation and lodging, family care, hospice care, and extended care facility stay (“Cancer Treatment Insurance,” n.d.). While Cigna advertises that the monthly premium for comprehensive cancer insurance is $19, the amount varies based on the number of individuals covered as well as the benefit amount.
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There are no fixed copayments or deductibles since they are determined by the policy purchased by customers. Eligibility and requirements include one to have 18 up to 99 years, no pre-existing illness increase risks for cancer, and not previously been diagnosed treated with cancer (“Cancer Treatment Insurance,” n.d.). Additionally, customers have to sign for regular health insurance. According to Hunt and Figat (2021), Cigna’s cancer insurance advantages include benefits amounting from $5,000 to $100,000, availability of recurrence coverage option, and are easier to receive a quote online. Nevertheless, a waiting period of 30 days, coverage reduction by 50 % when one reaches 65 years, and payment of benefits only for the first 30 days when a client is hospitalized are major setbacks.
This provider has been operating since 1902, offering insurance products to individuals as well as workers in small businesses. The company’s cancer insurance policy is categorized into two plan types for the clients to choose from, paying varying percentages of cancer-related costs. Benefits associated with the firm’s cancer insurance include preventive care screening, chemotherapy, radiation, hospitalization, inpatient prescription, immunotherapy drugs, experimental treatments, transportation, and lodging (“Cancer insurance | affordable cancer coverage from physicians mutual,” n.d.).
Premiums, copayments, and deductibles are not clearly defined because they are determined by the policy that the clients purchase. Eligible individuals must have a regular health insurance plan, not have previously been diagnosed with cancer, and not have conditions predisposing them to cancer. One must provide specific and detailed health history while applying for cancer insurance coverage to obtain a quote. While options for the clients to choose whether to receive benefits or their service providers is a significant advantage, unavailability of coverage in all states is a disadvantage.
MetLife was founded in 1868 and operates in 40 markets worldwide. This firm provides cancer insurance policies through employer benefit programs. The insurance plan is portable, and payments are made directly to the clients to use them as they wish (“Cancer Insurance,” n.d.). Benefits associated with the coverage include annual cancer screening, treatments, cancer recurrence, hospitalization, initial diagnosis, and more.
The company does not mount premiums, copayments, and deductibles since they are determined by the policy that clients purchase. Eligibility and requirements are being an employee, having a regular health insurance plan, and not having been previously diagnosed with cancer. Advantages of this provider are that no physical is needed, coverage starts immediately, and the policy is portable (“Cancer Insurance,” n.d.). However, the policy’s availability only through employers is a major shortcoming for MetLife.
Differences Between Cancer Insurance and Health Insurance
Cancer insurance covers expenses related to the condition’s treatments, the policy is benefit-based, and holders chose how to use payments. The insurance plan also covers clients against all stages of cancer and is ideal for individuals at risk for the disease. Further, people purchase it as a supplemental plan to a basic health insurance policy. On the other hand, health insurance covers a wide range of illnesses, and the insurer pays only hospital expenses. Unlike cancer insurance, a health insurance policy is for all individuals.
Aflac Supplemental Insurance. (n.d). Aflac. Web.
Cancer insurance. (n.d). MetLife. Web.
Cancer insurance | affordable cancer coverage from physicians mutual. (n.d). Physiciansmutual. Web.
Cancer treatment insurance. (n.d). Cigna. Web.
Hunt, J., & Figat, M. (2021). The 8 best cancer insurance providers of 2021. The Balance. Web.
The American Cancer Society. (n.d). Cancer facts & figures 2020/2021. Cancer. Web.
What is a cancer insurance policy? (n.d). healthinsurance. Web.