Cancer and health insurance

Compare health insurance quotes with cancer care.[1]

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Is cancer cover included with health insurance?

Private health insurance, also known as private medical insurance, can help protect you against the cost of private healthcare for pre-agreed conditions.

By paying a set monthly fee, it can give you access to different treatments and will often mean you’re seen faster than going through the NHS.

Many health insurance plans include some cover for cancer. Sometimes cancer cover is included as part of your policy or can be added on.

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Does health insurance cover cancer treatment?

This will depend on the type of policy you choose.

Generally, private health insurance is designed to cover acute conditions, which are short-term and can be diagnosed and treated quickly.

But some policies will also cover chronic conditions, like cancer.

If you’re diagnosed with cancer after you’ve taken out a policy, your cover could give you access to cutting-edge cancer treatment and other benefits.

Plus, you’ll normally have a wider range of hospitals you can be treated in.

Can I get cancer cover with a family history of cancer?

Yes, you can still get cover even if there’s cancer in your family history.

Insurance companies aren’t allowed to ask about any genetic testing, but they might ask about your family medical history.

You may face higher premiums if any close family members have had the disease, particularly for certain types of cancer with proven genetic links, like breast and bowel cancer. It will depend on the policy though.

Can you get health insurance after cancer?

If you’ve had cancer or are living with cancer, you might find it more difficult to get health insurance as it will be viewed as a pre-existing condition.

You might still be able to get insurance, and there are also some specialist providers, but you may have fewer options.

Most policies will limit what they’ll pay out to treat pre-existing conditions. You’re also likely to be charged higher premiums.

You’ll need to check whether the insurer will cover cancer as a pre-existing condition, and you may be asked to have a medical examination. You might not be able to get cover until you’ve been in remission for a certain number of years.

If you’re struggling to get health insurance, you can contact the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) to find a broker that might be able to help.

What is typically covered?

What your private health insurance includes will depend on the type of policy you choose, but most will cover:

  • Private consultations
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Insurers may cover additional treatments such as; drugs not available through the NHS, potential experimental drugs not necessarily NIC approved or CAR T-cell therapy
  • Inpatient and outpatient treatment
  • Access to a digital GP app
  • Physiotherapy

If cancer care is included in your policy, your cover might also include:

  • Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and treatment for side effects
  • Money towards the cost of wigs and prostheses
  • Targeted treatments, also known as biological therapies
  • Surgical treatment
  • Access to home nursing
  • Reconstructive surgery after completing cancer treatment
  • Access to counselling for you and your family, post-diagnosis
  • Monitoring after your treatment

Are there exclusions?

All health insurance policies have exclusions which are specific health issues and situations the insurer won’t cover or pay out for.

If you choose a policy which has exclusions around health issues like cancer, it’s important that you understand what you will and won’t be able to claim for.

For instance, it may exclude certain types of cancer or the use of experimental drugs.

Can I get holiday insurance if I have cancer?

Yes, although it can be more difficult, it’s still possible to get travel insurance if you have cancer.

Some travel insurance providers will give you medical cover if you can provide a doctor’s certificate to say that you’re fit enough to travel.

You won’t be covered for any ongoing treatment you need because of your cancer.

But you may be able to get cover for emergency medical problems relating to your cancer while you’re away.

The cost can vary a lot between providers, so it’s worth shopping around and comparing policies.

How much does cancer health insurance cost?

This will vary between policies and will also depend on any add-ons that you buy as part of your cover.

Factors like your age, where you live, and your lifestyle will also impact how much you’re charged. And your premiums will likely be cheaper if you opt to pay a larger voluntary excess.

It’s best to get quotes and compare providers to find the best policy and price for your needs.

What other insurance can I get to help me?

If you’re worried about being affected by serious medical conditions in the future, you could consider other types of insurance which provide financial help:

  1. Critical illness cover

    This will pay out if you get one of the specific medical conditions or injuries listed on the policy. The money can provide financial support if you’re unable to work due to a serious illness. The policy will only pay out once and then the cover will end

  2. Income protection insurance

    This type of insurance covers you if you’re unable to work due to an accident or illness, or if you’re made redundant. You’ll get a monthly payout that’s a percentage of your normal salary, typically lasting for up to 12 months or until you go back to work, whichever comes first

  3. Life insurance

    You may want to take out life insurance cover to protect your loved ones financially if you die. You can still get cover if you have a pre-existing condition, but it’s likely that you’ll need to pay more

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