Health insurance and cancer

Private health insurance or medical insurance covers acute medical conditions. It does not always cover you for every illness and can vary between insurance companies.

Can I get health insurance if I have cancer?

If you do not have health insurance, it can be harder to get if you have cancer. It is likely to cost more. You will need to check with the insurer whether cancer is a medical condition that they cover.

Talk to an insurance broker or financial adviser. They can compare health insurance plans from different providers. They can find a plan to suit you.

Private health insurance

Health insurance is a financial product that is meant to pay for private treatment if you become ill. Not all medical conditions are covered. Usually the policy covers acute medical conditions that respond quickly to treatment. 

Before you buy health insurance the insurer will assess your situation. They want to know how likely you are to make a claim. They will ask questions about your medical history and any illness you might have. 

It is important that you know exactly what is covered before you buy health insurance. You need to know:

  • which medical conditions are covered and which are not
  • how long your cover lasts and whether there are any other time limits that apply during the policy
  • what types of treatment are covered and whether there are any limits to the amount or cost of treatments you have
  • what the maximum is that the policy will pay out – both in total and for any individual payments
  • any circumstances that the insurance doesn't cover
  • when cover might be withdrawn by the company

Private health insurance can be complicated. Discuss your options with an independent financial advisor or insurance broker. They will help you get the right policy for your situation. 

Income protection insurance

Income protection insurance is an insurance policy. It pays out a monthly income if you are unable to work because of illness or disability. The amount that you receive in payouts is usually based on a percentage of your salary. 

When you start your plan, the insurer will offer you a choice of pre benefit time periods. This is the length of time that you’ll have to be off work before the benefit begins. It can be from 4 weeks to up to 2 years.The longer the waiting period, the lower the premiums you will have to pay.

The cost of the plan will depend on:

  • the amount of cover you need
  • your age
  • the type of job you have
  • the length of the waiting period you choose before the benefit starts to pay out
  • your planned retirement age

You usually pay the premiums for income protection plans yearly or monthly by direct debit.

You have to keep up your premium payments to be covered.  You must also tell your insurer if your circumstances change or you may not be covered. So if you change your job or become unemployed you must let them know.  

If your salary goes up you should review your cover to make sure it is still enough. The Association of British Insurers guidance says that you can't get a higher pay out than your earnings. So also let your insurer know if your income goes down.

As with all insurance, make sure you know what is and isn’t covered when you take out any policy.

Critical illness cover

Critical illness cover is often bought with a life insurance policy. Critical illness cover will pay out a single lump sum of money, if you are diagnosed with a serious illness. The illness must be listed as covered by your insurance policy.

Some types of cancer are covered but not all. So make sure that you check the wording on the policy. Contact the insurer if you are not sure or speak with an independent financial advisor. 

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