Cancer affects 12.5 million Americans nationwide,1 and for many, the diagnosis brings potentially devastating financial burdens even if they have major medical insurance. In fact, a new study from Duke University Medical Center and Dana-Farber Cancer found their self-reported, out-of-pocket, cancer-related costs average $712 per month.2 Unfortunately, cancer is one of the five most costly medical conditions in the United Sates, forcing many patients to make decisions about their health based on finances.3
It is for these reasons and more that voluntary cancer insurance is becoming increasingly important in helping consumers combat the high costs associated with a cancer diagnosis so treatment and recovery can be their primary focus.
What is Voluntary Cancer Insurance?
Voluntary cancer insurance is one of many voluntary insurance policies available to help people cope with incremental out-of-pocket costs associated with serious accidents or illnesses — cost major medical was never intended to cover. In the event of a cancer diagnosis, policyholders receive cash benefits that are often used to help pay for daily living expenses, such as rent, gas, groceries, babysitting and other necessities, as determined by the policyholder.
A supplemental cancer insurance policy can also help protect your income and savings from expenses that aren’t covered by your major medical insurance, including deductibles, experimental cancer treatments, out-of-network specialists, and more.
Who Needs Voluntary Cancer Insurance?
When you consider that U.S. men have slightly less than a one in two lifetime risk of getting cancer, and women have a slightly more than one in three risk,4 voluntary cancer insurance is an option everyone should consider. However, for people who have a family history of cancer or are at a higher-than-average risk, supplemental cancer insurance is even more important.
Furthermore, consumers who have been unable to build robust savings should also highly consider the option of voluntary cancer insurance. As discussed, high costs are associated with a cancer diagnosis, and the treatment and recovery process can result in lost wages and other unforeseen expenses that will be difficult to handle. For example, some of the newer cancer treatments can cost $10,000 a month.5
Why do I Need Cancer Insurance?
The reality is that often financial barriers delay treatment, and for a condition as serious as cancer it can mean the difference between life and death. Families affected by cancer shouldn’t have to make difficult decisions between medical procedures or treatments and making ends meet.
Yet this is the case for a growing number of consumers who are facing high out-of-pocket expenses, despite having comprehensive major medical insurance.
In addition, major medical insurance often contain annual and lifetime benefit caps, particularly in the non-group insurance market. Because cancer treatment is costly and long-term, cancer patients are more likely to hit these benefit caps, leaving them essentially uninsured.
Voluntary cancer insurance policies can help with the treatment costs of cancer, but more importantly will also help you focus on getting well instead of being distracted by the stress and costs of medical and personal bills.
The American Cancer Society estimated about 1,638,910 new cases of cancer to be diagnosed in the last year.4 No one wants to think about cancer, but it is necessary to consider how you would manage if you were diagnosed and unable to work. A voluntary cancer insurance policy could make a difference to your well-being, your family, and your future.
To learn more about how voluntary cancer insurance plans can benefit you or your employees, visit aflac.com/cancerplan.
To see how much an accident or illness can cost even if you or your employee has major medical insurance, go to Aflac.com/RealCost.
I have ovarian cancer and have gone through one surgery already. They want to do another surgery and then chemo. My husband has a major medical insurance policy and I am self-employed. I own a barber shop and am not able to work. My income helped so much, and then suddenly — no income.
I applied for my Aflac cancer insurance policy around eight years ago. I cannot begin to tell you how much it has helped us. When we got our benefit check we were struggling financially.
The check really helped us. It took a lot of stress off of us. And the check came so quickly. Even though I am sick we celebrated, at home of course, with money that we could go and buy food and catch up our bills.
Thank you so much! We don’t know what we would have done without you! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
- Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (www.seer.cancer.gov). Prevalence database: "US Estimated Complete Prevalence Counts on 1/1/2009". National Cancer Institute, DCCPS, Surveillance Research Program, Data Modeling Branch, released April 2012, based on the November 2011 SEER data submission, http://srab.cancer.gov/prevalence/canques.html, accessed on February 8, 2013.
- Duke Medicine News and Communications, “Medical Bills Force Cancer Patients to Skimp on Care and Necessities,” June 6, 2011, http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/medical-bills-force-cancer-patients-to-skimp-on-care-and-necessities, accessed on January 15, 2013.
- WebMD, “Protecting Yourself From Medical Costs and Disability,” Slideshow: “Top 11 Medical Expenses,” http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/medical-cost-disability-11/slideshow, accessed on February 8, 2013.
- Cancer Facts and Figures 2012, American Cancer Society.
- American Cancer Society, “The Cost of Cancer Treatment,” August 10, 2012, http://www.cancer.org/treatment/findingandpayingfortreatment/managinginsuranceissues/the-cost-of-cancer-treatment, accessed on February 08, 2016.