Is Cancer Insurance Worth It?
The health insurance landscape is changing for people with or concerned about cancer. This fall, a select number of hospitals and cancer centers around the country announced that they’d no longer accept Medicare Advantage Plans. The most notable hospital to do this was the Mayo Clinic, which said Medicare Advantage Plans would be “out-of-network” going forward.
For people with cancer in their family history or worried about a future cancer diagnosis must choose between keeping their now out-of network MA Plan or switching to Original Medicare with no cap on out-of-pocket costs. Fortunately, there is a way to fortify your coverage in the event of a cancer diagnosis. Let’s break down the basics of Cancer Insurance.
What is Cancer Insurance?
Cancer Insurance is a supplemental insurance policy that provides a lump-sum financial payment after the policyholder receives a cancer diagnosis.
Why Would Someone Get a Cancer Insurance?
It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been directly affected by a cancer diagnosis, either by receiving one or knowing someone who did. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the No. 2 cause of death in the U.S., only behind heart disease.1
The steep financial cost makes matters worse for people who get cancer. The National Cancer Institute calculated that the average cost of medical care and drugs could exceed $42,000 within the year following a cancer diagnosis before insurance.2 What’s also troubling is the chances of someone having to declare medical bankruptcy after a cancer diagnosis increasing 2.65 times.3
With a Cancer Insurance Plan and your health insurance plan, you can help combat high treatment costs and the indirect expenses associated with getting treatment.
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What Can Cancer Insurance Pay For?
Anything! Cancer Insurance isn’t health insurance, so there are no limitations on how you spend your payment. Most people use the funds to help pay for direct and indirect costs associated with treatment, such as:
- Prescription drugs
- Transportation to cancer doctors/specialists
- Medical Supplies
- Loss of Income
Is Cancer Insurance the Same as Health Insurance?
No. Cancer Insurance is like other supplemental insurance plans like Hospital Indemnity insurance, which pays policyholders a lump sum if admitted to the hospital. It’s NOT recommended only to have a Cancer Insurance policy.
I Have Medicare. Do I Need Cancer Insurance?
That depends on how comfortable you are with how much you’re willing to pay out of pocket if you receive a cancer diagnosis. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) will still cover your cancer treatments during an inpatient hospital stay. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) will still cover many medically necessary cancer-related services, such as chemotherapy administered via the vein, some oral chemotherapy, some oral chemotherapy treatments, diagnostic tests (X-rays and CT scans), etc.
However, you’ll still need to pay your copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Typically, Medicare pays for 80% of covered services, which leaves you with a 20% copay. Cancer-specific treatments can also vary depending on several factors, including but not limited to where you get your treatments, such as a local hospital or cancer specialist, if the doctor accepts the payment amount Medicare approves for the services, and whether you have any additional insurance.
If you’re worried about potentially developing cancer or looking for peace of mind, then it may be worth exploring your Cancer Insurance options. Remember, there are other supplemental disease-specific insurance options, such as Heart and Stroke Insurance. Speak to an Ensurem licensed insurance agent to see if one is the right fit for your needs.
1“Leading Causes of Death,” Forbes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
2“Washington State Cancer Patients Found to be a Greater Risk for Bankruptcy Than People Without a Cancer Diagnosis,” National Library of Medicine, 2013
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Denise Austin, 65, Ensurem Ambassador
Best-Selling Author, Creator of Fit Over 50 Magazine
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