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Is Cancer Insurance A Good Investment?

Even if a patient has health insurance, their medical co-payments, deductibles, and other expenses may leave them strapped for cash and deep in debt. According to the National Health Institute, more than $219.2 billion were spent in the United States in 2007 paying for cancer related costs.

What Is Cancer Insurance?

Cancer insurance helps medical patients cover the cost of their cancer treatment. It can be used to pay for both medical and non-medical costs associated with cancer. Cancer insurance is meant to supplement existing health insurance, not to replace it.

Someone must be cancer free for 3-5 years before qualifying for cancer insurance. While no medical exam is necessary, a patientís doctor must fill out and sign paperwork if they have had cancer in the past.

Insurance policy prices vary by age and whether the patient has had cancer in the past. If someone has had cancer before, it may be hard for them to get coverage. Also, there is a time period after a diagnosis before the insurance kicks in. Itís usually 30 days, but can be longer. There is also a waiting period after the insurance has been purchased before it goes into effect. If someone is diagnosed with cancer within this time, they coverage is invalidated.

Cancer insurance can be purchased individually or for a family and is sometimes available through employers.

Why Consider Cancer Insurance?

The American Cancer Society estimated that 1,437,180 new cancer cases would pop up in the US in 2008 alone. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in both children and adults.

The American Cancer Society also reports that 65% of cancer related expenses are not covered by health insurances. This means that a portion of doctor visits, cancer therapies, prescription drugs, and other expenses may end up on the shoulders of a cancer patient and their family.

Cancer insurance is a good idea for anyone who has a family history of cancer. Itís also good for anyone who is their familyís sole financial provider and/ or doesnít have enough money in savings to pay for the medical costs their health insurance doesnít cover.

What Does It Cover?

Cancer insurance benefits vary by company, but some of the common payments they make include: a first occurrence payment, hospital confinement, testing and medications, therapy, doctors and surgeons, nursing or hospice care, patient transportation so that they can receive treatment, lodging and transportation costs for family members, and other cancer related costs. Itís up to the patient and their family to use the money as they see fit.

A first occurrence payment is a lump sum of money paid to a patient when they are diagnosed with cancer, and can range from $1000 to $100,000.

Some cancer insurance companies offer lump sum payments, where they provide one specified sum of money at the beginning of a patientís cancer treatment. After this money is paid to the patient, the coverage ends. Other companies pay over the course of the treatment. With indemnity payments, there is a fixed dollar amount, which is the maximum that the cancer insurance company will cover.

When choosing a cancer insurance plan, a patient must find one that meets their needs. They must find out exactly what the plan does and does not cover before signing up, and should compare the benefits and cost to other cancer insurance providers. They should also compare the benefits offered by cancer insurance to the benefits of comprehensive health insurance and disability insurance.

Someone should also check with their health insurance provider to see if the insurer will still offer coverage once cancer insurance has been utilized. Some health insurance companies wonít pay for bills if a patient has other forms of coverage. This includes cancer insurance.

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