Brief History

In terms of the insurance industry, cancer insurance is novel form of coverage, having emerged approximately 50 years ago. This coverage was created by insurers like the American Heritage Life Insurance Company and Aflac to meet demand coming from those suffering from the disease. Cancer insurance was not designed to replace conventional health insurance coverage. Instead, this type of insurance is meant to augment conventional policies by providing coverage for a disease that is often associated with high out-of-pocket medical costs, even when coverage is provided through traditional insurance policies.

Coverage Benefits

Cancer insurance policies typically offer wellness benefits (varies from state to state) that are meant to help those suffering from cancer or at risk of developing the disease adopt healthier lifestyles. These benefits vary depending on the insurance company providing coverage. These benefits can offer financial support for those pursuing healthy living programs, such as tobacco cessation, gym memberships, and dietary changes. Insurers may also offer access to information regarding healthy lifestyles, which policyholders are able to acquire at any time. Typical coverage benefits also provide policyholders with access to wellness tests that are meant for early detection of disease and monitoring other aspects of overall health. These tests include mammograms, Pap smear tests, and colonoscopies as well as many others. In many cases, those with cancer insurance must submit proof that they have received an exam to their cancer insurance provider. This matter is typically handled by the medical professional conducting the exam. Once the evidence of the exam has been submitted and verified, the insurance company will then provide the necessary financial support. As a supplement to traditional health insurance policies, cancer insurance and its associated benefits, are limited in scope. The benefits associated with these policies are often designed to mitigate the effects of cancer or encourage the prevention of the disease as a whole. Benefits come in different varieties depending upon the insurance company underwriting the policies. Many policies offer benefits concerning medical expenses, which include costs associated with health care, such as cancer treatment. Other policies offer benefits concerning non-medical costs. These benefits provide policyholders with financial assistance for transportation, food, home and child care, and certain bills.

Concerns Regarding Coverage 

Health insurance eligibility is often subject to the risk management and appraisal practices of insurance companies. Because of the risks posed by serious health issues, such as cancer, companies often take a strong stance against providing new coverage to those with the disease. As such, typical health insurance policies do not offer coverage for cancer. In these cases, supplemental insurance policies, such as those designed to cover cancer specifically, can be useful. In the U.S., changes to health care laws have made it possible for those with pre-existing medical conditions to obtain insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act, the law which has presented these changes, has required health insurance companies in the country to offer coverage to those suffering from conditions such as cancer. Though the law stipulates that these people must be granted access to health insurance, insurance policies are subject to the whims of the companies that underwrite them. As such, the provisions of these policies can vary dramatically depending on the health insurance company involved. In some cases, insurers design their policies to be financially unattractive to those suffering from costly medical conditions.

As a supplemental health insurance plan, cancer insurance policies are meant to close the gaps left behind by conventional insurance policies. Even so, these plans may not provide coverage for the full extent of health issues related to the disease. Complications concerning the disease can have a tremendous effect on the availability of cancer insurance policies. One of the primary concerns regarding cancer insurance coverage is eligibility. Typically, those with pre-existing medical conditions, such as cancer, are not eligible for the coverage. The factors that determine eligibility vary from insurer to insurer.