There are nearly 200 different kinds of cancer, and they kill about 8 million people annually. That number is to rise to 12 million by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. In the UK alone more than 300,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed each year.
Though more than 1 in 3 people will suffer some type of cancer in their lifetime, it’s nearly impossible for a cancer survivor to obtain health insurance. Those who do can look forward to extremely high premiums. In some cases medical insurers will even cap expenses so as to limit their exposure to “cancer risk.” Such policies are little comfort to patients who could face anywhere from GBP 50,000 to GBP 100,000 for even routine courses of treatment.
UK-based insurer MediCare has adopted a new approach, however. Clients who can demonstrate a two-year treatment free period from any cancerous condition are eligible for future cover.
David Pryor, Senior Executive Director at MediCare International, commented:
Every insurer needs to look carefully at the profiles of customer groups, in order to set their policy pricing. There is clearly a higher risk with people who have already had cancer, but with the advances in technology, together with the high rates of cancer globally, MediCare International took the view that it was important to provide adequate cover for this category of client wherever possible.
One patient living in Switzerland and suffering from rectal cancer, claimed across three policy periods, sums of GBP 12,354, GBP 35,829 and GBP 36,550–giving a total paid by MediCare International of GBP 84,734. Another patient with breast cancer and based in the UK successfully recovered from the condition, with claims paid across two policy periods of GBP 19,055 and GBP 48,937. T0tal paid? GBP 67,992.
Expats with a past history of cancer should take care when shopping for health insurance. Many companies take great pains to exclude cancer-related expenses in the fine print. Others, like MediCare, have developed solutions aimed at these customers. Regardless, however, the important thing is to carefully read through policy exclusions no matter the insurance policy. The last thing any expat wants is to pay for a policy she can’t actually use.