Nearly 1.7 million Americans were expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2015.1 For many, a cancer diagnosis is a devastating financial blow, even if they’re already covered by major medical insurance. In fact, a study by Duke University Medical Center found that the average monthly out-of-pocket cost for an American insured privately, through Medicare or through both is $1,266. Most of the uncovered expenses – 41 percent – come from prescription drugs, but medical equipment, travel, special diets and non-prescription drugs are also factors.2
For these reasons and more, voluntary cancer insurance is becoming increasingly important in helping consumers combat the high costs of cancer – and to focus less on finances and more on treatment and recovery.
Voluntary cancer insurance is one of many policies available to help people cope with the high out-of-pocket costs associated with serious illnesses — costs major medical insurance were never intended to cover. In the event of a cancer diagnosis, policyholders enrolled in voluntary plans receive cash benefits that can be used as they see fit (unless otherwise assigned). Sometimes they go toward daily living expenses, such as rent, gas, groceries, babysitting and other necessities. Other times, they’re used to help pay co-payments and deductibles.
When you consider that nearly 14.5 million Americans are living with cancer - voluntary cancer insurance is an option everyone should consider.1 However, for people who have a family history of cancer or are at higher-than-average risk, supplemental cancer insurance is even more important. Furthermore, consumers who have been unable to build robust savings should seriously consider applying for voluntary cancer insurance. The treatment and recovery process can result in lost wages and other unforeseen expenses that are difficult to handle. For example, some cancer drugs alone can cost $10,000 a month.
Financial barriers can delay treatment, and for a condition as serious as cancer, any delay can mean the difference between life and death. Families affected by cancer shouldn’t have to make the difficult decision between medical treatment and making ends meet. Unfortunately, that is the conundrum for a growing number of consumers who face high out-of-pocket expenses, despite having comprehensive major medical insurance. In addition, major medical insurance comes with annual and lifetime benefit caps, particularly in the non-group insurance market.
Voluntary cancer insurance policies can help with the treatment costs of cancer, but more importantly they can also help patients focus on getting well instead of on medical and personal bills.
No one wants to think about cancer, but it is necessary for employees to consider how they would manage if they were diagnosed and unable to work. A voluntary cancer insurance policy could help make a difference to the well-being of workers and their families.
A real-life experience
My wife, Holly, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2015. The emotions you go through are unbelievable. The first reaction is fear. For weeks, you go through so much emotional turmoil that it is the worst emotional roller coaster we have been through. Then, you start to wonder about the financial ramifications you will experience.
The doctors took care of Holly’s medical issues. It was up to us to figure out the financial woes. We have very good health insurance, but it doesn’t cover any of the extra expenses incurred, those being the enormous amount of miles traveled to Fargo for chemotherapy and surgeries. Then, there is the time off from work, lodging, meals and so on.
You don’t realize how huge the financial side of an illness is until you experience it yourself. If there is such a thing as finding a positive in all this, it is that I had applied for the Aflac cancer insurance policy about eight years ago. They have been an unbelievable help to us. The benefit checks we received from Aflac to help with our out-of-pocket expenses were definitely a positive.
Everyone associated with Aflac was great to work with. They were helpful with all the paperwork to help us receive our checks in a very timely manner.
I want to thank everyone associated with Aflac, especially our local Aflac insurance agent, Sharon Nelson. Thank you! God bless you all!
I have strongly urged all of my family, relatives and friends to inquire about Aflac cancer insurance.
Ken and Holly Spanier
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation.
1 American Cancer Society, “Cancer facts and figures 2015,” accessed Nov. 13, 2015 - http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-044552.pdf.
2 Clear Health Care Costs, “By the numbers: Out-of-pocket costs for cancer treatment,” accessed Nov. 13, 2015 - http://clearhealthcosts.com/blog/2011/08/by-the-numbers-out-of-pocket-costs-for-cancer-treatment/.
3 CBS News, “How cancer drugs doubled to $10,000 per month,” accessed Nov. 13, 2015 - http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-cancer-drugs-doubled-to-10000-per-month/.