Your Guide To Cancer Insurance

Cancer is a devastating group of diseases, involving abnormal cell growth, affecting millions of people worldwide each year. In the latest verified statistics for cancer incidence available, we see that 1,603,844 new cancer cases were reported, and 602,347 people died of cancer in the US alone. 

With frightening statistics like these, it’s no wonder that there’s such a lot of interest in cancer insurance. And yet, many people don’t understand what it is, or what it can be used for. But you don’t have to be left in the dark. 

This is your guide to cancer insurance. We examine the world of supplementary insurance for cancer, explain why you may need it, and what you can do with it.

What Is Cancer Insurance?

Before we get into the specifics of how cancer insurance works, let’s look at what cancer insurance is. A cancer insurance policy covers the policyholder in the event of a cancer diagnosis. Therefore, if you purchase such a policy, you will receive a lump sum only upon the medical diagnosis of cancer. 

The amount of that lump sum you receive will differ from one policy to the next, but those with higher payouts will have higher premiums, too.

How Does Cancer Insurance Work?

Cancer insurance operates similarly to other critical illness insurance policies. 

As such, it is not designed to serve as a stand-alone coverage plan, but rather as a supplement to comprehensive medical health insurance. However, whereas critical illness policies often cover a wide selection of chronic illnesses, this insurance is cancer-specific. 

After purchasing a cancer insurance policy, you’ll likely be subject to a waiting period. Once that waiting period is over, should you receive a cancer diagnosis, you must submit documentary evidence of that diagnosis to your insurer. Once your insurer approves your claim, you will receive your lump sum.

The purpose of the lump sum that you receive is to help with the extra expenses caused by your cancer diagnosis. It is meant to alleviate some of the financial burdens that often go hand-in-hand with cancer diagnoses. This allows you to stress less about finances and focus on your recovery.

What Does Cancer Insurance Cover?

Cancer insurance is supplemental insurance, not major medical insurance. You can use the payout you receive to help pay your primary insurance plan’s out-of-pocket costs.

But you can also use it for travel expenses incurred while traveling to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy treatment facilities. Or to help with living expenses due to lost wages while booked off work. You may use the payout on how you see fit because everyone has different needs. 

How a cancer diagnosis affects one’s life also varies from one individual to the next. Although some plans may differ in the terms and conditions, most plans allow you to decide what to use it for. 

Who Is Eligible To Purchase Cancer Policies?

Before you purchase cancer insurance, you need to be aware of common eligibility issues and exclusions in cancer policies.


If you have already been diagnosed with cancer, you will be ineligible to purchase cancer insurance for yourself. If you have a history of cancer but are currently in remission, you will be ineligible. But cancer itself is not the only factor that can make you ineligible. 

Certain illnesses and conditions place one in a higher risk group for cancer. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with such an illness or condition, insurance companies may exclude you from cancer insurance eligibility. 

A family history of cancer may, likewise, present a problem for eligibility for cancer insurance. This is not always the case, though, and you would have to check the terms and conditions of each policy on this issue.


Cancer insurance rarely covers non-melanoma skin cancer for several reasons. 

  • Frequency and Treatment Costs: Non-melanoma skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are among the most common types of cancer, and they are less aggressive and easier to treat than melanoma or other types of cancer. 

Because of their high frequency and relatively low treatment costs compared to other cancers, insurance companies may exclude coverage for these cancers to keep premiums more affordable.

  • Preventive Measures: Non-melanoma skin cancers are often preventable or detectable at early stages through routine skin checks and preventive measures like sunscreen use and avoiding excessive sun exposure. Insurance companies may view these cancers as largely preventable or manageable through early detection, reducing the need for insurance coverage specific to them.
  • Limited Severity: Non-melanoma skin cancers can cause significant health concerns if left untreated, but they have a lower mortality rate compared to other types of cancer. Insurance companies may prioritize coverage for cancers with higher mortality rates and more extensive treatment costs.

Advantages Of Cancer Coverage

There are two major advantages to purchasing cancer coverage.

  1. The first one is peace of mind that you will have. You have done what you can to offset financial difficulties in the event of a cancer diagnosis. These are both expected out-of-pocket costs and even unforeseen expenses that may arise. You will be better able to focus on treatment and recovery. 
  1. Then there’s the cost of the policy itself, vs the out-of-pocket costs you’d face if you had not purchased the insurance. Cancer insurance, like most other supplemental insurance plans, is usually quite affordable. The expenses you may face without it, though, can be very high.

Should You Get Cancer Insurance?

Cancer insurance is a great help to people when they are diagnosed with cancer. It can prevent a downward spiral into debt and stress over that debt at a time when you need to concentrate all your energy on treatment and recovery. But who needs it the most?

There Are Significant Shortcomings In Your Primary Medical Insurance

Your major medical insurance may have exclusions, or lifetime limits, that would exclude or reduce your coverage for cancer-specific treatments. In such a case, supplemental cancer insurance is a good idea. Bear in mind, though, that cancer insurance policies may also have certain exclusions and limitations.

There is also something called a Coordination of Benefits (COB) clause in many major medical insurance plans. This states that the insurer will not cover expenses that another insurer does. This conflict will rarely arise with supplementary insurance, but it is something to be aware of. 

You Are In A High-Risk Group For Cancer 

Perhaps you are in a high-risk group for cancer, because of a pre-existing condition, an illness that is known to lead to cancer, or even a personal history of cancer now in remission. You may also have a family history of cancer. 

This makes a cancer diagnosis more likely, and that’s a good reason to get supplemental cancer insurance. However, as mentioned earlier, these could also prove to make you ineligible for some cancer insurance policies. 

Filing A Claim For Cancer Insurance

Filing a claim for cancer insurance is much the same as filing a claim for any other type of insurance. When you follow your insurer’s claims process, an agent will ask for your details and membership number. 

Because the coverage is for cancer diagnosis events only, you’ll be asked to verify that you have a cancer diagnosis, and asked what type of cancer you have been diagnosed with. This diagnosis must have been made after the start date of the policy, and after any waiting periods that apply.

You must provide evidence of a cancer diagnosis. This should be a medical diagnosis, backed by medical reports. Examples are your medical file records from a hospital’s oncology department, preferably including a pathologist’s report. 

Your insurer’s representatives will contact you if they need any further information to approve the claim. After the insurance company has verified your details and diagnosis, you will receive your payout. 

Selecting The Right Insurance Plan

Selecting the right insurance is crucial when you are in a high-risk category, or have a personal history or family history of cancer. Because these factors can affect your eligibility, or incur exclusions and other hassles, it’s best to check how that relates to the plan you are considering, before purchasing. 

If you don’t find yourself in a high-risk group, but nonetheless want the coverage, you have several options.

  • If you already have major medical insurance but don’t feel it will suffice in the event of a cancer diagnosis, supplemental cancer insurance is a good bet. But if you don’t yet have major medical insurance, this is what you must look for.
  • There are many types of health insurance plans. The way they are structured, and the costs involved, are not the only differences. You may find that some offer better coverage for oncology services than others. This is why you must do your research first.
  • Unsure of what to choose? Don’t worry, it’s quite common to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of health insurance plans available. Organizations like Enhance Health can cut through the jargon and confusion to help you find a plan that meets your needs perfectly.

Will I Get Cancer Coverage In A Workplace Plan?

Workplace healthcare plans are usually group major medical insurance plans. They may sometimes include dental coverage.

However, it is rare to get supplementary coverage offered by an employer, except for accident insurance in high-risk occupations. Therefore, you are not likely to be offered cancer-specific insurance plans by an employer. They are also not obligated to provide supplementary coverage. 


A cancer diagnosis can be devastating to the unprepared. But cancer can often be beaten, especially when detected early enough. That’s why good health insurance is essential so that you stay on track with preventive care and cancer screenings.

Supplementary insurance for cancer can help with extra expenses incurred after a cancer diagnosis. But it is of limited use to you on its own. 

You will be better prepared for any health crisis that comes your way, with comprehensive yet affordable health insurance. And Enhance Health can help you find the insurance plan that is just right for you. Call us today and make the right choice for your future, and continued health.  

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