When Your Health Insurance Doesn't Cover Cancer

You might think that, just because you've got a good health insurance plan, you shouldn't have any problems with medical expenses.

You might think that, just because you’ve got a good health insurance plan, you shouldn’t have any problems with medical expenses. Maybe you assume that, if you’re suddenly diagnosed with a life-threatening disease like cancer, your health insurance will pay for the majority of costs and allow you to focus on recovery. Actually, this kind of thinking is a mistake – and you may end up paying for it.

Standard health insurance actually does not cover most cancer-related costs, according to a study from the American Cancer Society. In order to understand where all these costs are coming from, it’s important that you have a good grasp of the types of expenses involved with a cancer diagnosis. Cancer can be deceptive: it involves overt (direct) medical costs and hidden (indirect) costs that aren’t intrinsically medical. Direct medical costs can include anything from medical insurance co-pays and deductibles to surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and anesthesia. These costs amount to about 40.6% of your total cancer costs. The rest of the expenses of your illness are indirect – including home illness care, rent, food, groceries, gas and all the income you’ll lose from being too sick to work. The indirect costs of cancer actually add up to about 59.4% of the overall cost of your disease.

Your standard health insurance will pay for some of the direct costs of cancer – perhaps including initial doctors’ visits and part of your chemotherapy treatment. Unfortunately, health insurance is strictly regulated as far as what types of direct expenses it can and cannot cover. For starters, here are three significant direct medical expenses that your health insurance plan will not meet:

Deductibles and co-pays. These are the out-of-pocket fees that all patients must pay in order to receive insurance coverage. Your co-pays are due at each visit to your healthcare provider, while your deductible is an introductory amount that you must pay before your insurance carrier picks up any of the additional costs. Co-pays and deductibles for a cancer treatment can (unfortunately) add up to a significant amount of money.

Insurance caps. Your insurance company will only pay for a certain amount of your treatment: after you have exceeded the “cap” limit you have to pay for all the rest of your treatment out-of-pocket. If you’re suffering from a form of cancer that requires constant medical treatment or maintenance, running out of insurance coverage can be devastating.

Out-of-network care. If you choose to undergo cancer treatment at a health facility that is outside your insurance company’s “approved” network, you are responsible for the full cost of the treatment. This regulation can be especially difficult if you need a breakthrough treatment that can only be provided at a certain location.And these are just the direct medical costs – not even half of the total expenses of cancer.  Remember that your health insurance plan will not cover any of the indirect costs of your cancer diagnosis, including your food, gas, rent, childcare or unemployment compensation. That’s a lot of money.

Fortunately, a cancer insurance policy can help. When you purchase a cancer policy from a provider on CancerP , you receive a lump sum benefit upon first diagnosis of cancer – allowing you to pay for direct medical costs, indirect costs or anything else you need. A cancer insurance policy is supplemental and will not affect your current insurance in any way – and if you don’t have health insurance, you can still purchase a policy. There’s hope – and it’s called cancer insurance. If you think you could be at risk for cancer, take out a supplemental insurance policy today.