With the number of successful cancer drugs having risen dramatically over the last 30 years, people are increasingly turning to private medical cover in order to take advantage of excellent new treatments that are not available on the NHS.
But insurance experts have warned that cancer cover can be a grey area of private medical cover. Some health insurance customers are unaware that they not eligible for advanced cancer treatment like re-constructive surgery or stem cell therapy.
Richard Theo of health insurance comparison website ActiveQuote.com says, “There can sometimes be a lack of clarity when choosing cancer cover on a private medical insurance policy. Providers may put a limit on the maximum amount they will pay for a single medical condition, and on how long they will continue to cover it. We are aware that choosing cancer cover can be a complicated process. Only patients with comprehensive cancer cover will have access to certain treatments on their policy, such as re-constructive surgery, stem cell transplantation, biological therapies and hormone therapies.”
Whilst the Association of British Insurers has provided guidelines on cancer cover for insurers, it is not compulsory to abide by them. So there can be a large disparity between policies and between providers.
Patients with basic cancer cover may only be able to claim up to a certain annual limit, such as £30,000. Many people will not exceed this limit, with the drug Herceptin costing around £20,000. Basic cancer cover may not pay for more expensive treatment, such as £80,000 skin cancer drug Yervoy.