Posted on Jan 12, 2015 by Alex Nellist
February 4th, 2015 will be a very poignant day for many people as it marks World Cancer Day this year. Promoting the tagline ‘Not Beyond Us’, World Cancer Day 2015 will encourage all to focus on maintaining a positive approach towards the fight against cancer and to highlight the fact that cancer solutions do exist and are more attainable than ever in 2015.
Indeed, cancer care is certainly improving and a great deal is being done towards evolving treatments and preventative care. However, it is unfortunately still the case that the costs of undergoing the many steps often required towards cancer care can quickly total extortionate amounts, typically unaffordable without a suitable insurance plan.
Many people won’t even think about a health insurance plan until they get sick, or at least they may not pay that much attention to the specifics of their policy details. When cancer rears its ugly head though, all the mundane information such as deductibles, co-pays and premiums suddenly become very real and incredibly important. Therefore, we have provided which areas of your policy you should become most familiar with and, in light of World Cancer Day, we have focussed particularly on cancer coverage.
Get to know your plan
Regardless of which insurance company you decide to work with, all are required to provide you with a summary of exactly what your policy does and does not include.
When it comes to covering your cancer care, speak with your oncologist before any treatments take place and ask for a written care plan so you can compare the treatments needed with those covered by your insurer and that you will be adequately covered.
One key element to overcoming cancer is to spot it before it even takes hold through early detection methods. However, although the importance behind early detection cannot be argued, screening methods can be expensive and aren’t always included in certain policy plans. It is therefore highly important that you understand how your insurer deals with cancer screenings and preventative treatments before you consider undergoing a procedure of this nature.
Choosing the right plan for you
In terms of providing the best coverage with the greatest amount of benefits, a comprehensive health insurance plan is always going to be the best option. This is especially the case when cancer care is involved as a comprehensive plan will typically cover a range of services including lab testing , specialist medical equipment and early stage detection treatment.
In general, plans tend to come in two forms; namely indemnity policies or managed care policies. Indemnity policies (also commonly referred to as fee-for-service policies) only pay for coverage once you have met the assigned deductible. This type of policy undoubtedly has its downside but it does mean that you are entitled to greater freedom within your plan and that your cancer care and treatment is not restricted to any particular set of facilities and/or practitioners.
Managed care policies on the other hand, although typically eliminate out-of-pocket costs, do restrict you to your insurers selected network of providers, hospitals, doctors and pharmacies and these networks cannot always be easily accessed when living/working overseas so they are not the most ideal option for expatriates or travelers.
Comprehensive health insurance plans are among the most expensive options available but when it comes to cancer care, not being able to afford your next stage of treatment should be something already dealt with, and not left as the last thing on your mind.
Benefits to look out for
You will probably find that your insurer will have a part of their policy dedicated specifically to cancer care with a range of benefits to put your mind at rest. These benefits will understandably differ between insurers but finding a plan that includes some of the following could make a big difference to your overall cancer treatment:
- No financial limits or time limits - simply put, funding for your treatment would never run out midway through a treatment programme and more importantly, treatments can be done without any time limits set.
- The option to receive treatment at home - Regarding chemotherapy, some insurers may provide you with the added benefit a specialist to deliver your chemotherapy treatment from the comfort of your own home.
- Access to counselors - dealing with cancer can be a tough time for both you and your loved ones. Cancer counselling sessions can be hugely beneficial and may be included as part of your insurers coverage options.
- Access to the latest drugs and treatments - your cancer may require a new breakthrough treatment. Some insurers don’t place restrictions on the type of treatment and drugs provided to patients.
At the end of the day, cancer is a very personal experience and you need to decide what treatment methods and coverage options work for you. Insuring something such as cancer is never going to be cheap but at the same time, your insurer will want to work with you to help you find the most affordable option for the kind of treatment programme you are on.
Pacific Prime works with a number of insurers, many of which provide specialist cancer care options, and can help talk you through the sometimes complicated process of finding a suitable plan. For any more questions or queries regarding cancer care and insurance, please contact our team and we will happily provide you with any information you require.