Medicare is designed to provide coverage for the most basic healthcare that everybody needs. Therefore, it does not include extensive cancer, heart attack, or stroke coverage. That’s why many Medicare beneficiaries enroll in secondary health insurance plans to supplement their current coverage gaps.
Original Medicare Part A covers hospital costs, and Original Medicare Part B covers doctor visits. Medicare Advantage adds on prescription drug coverage as well as other benefits like fitness incentives, dental, vision, and hearing.
Medicare Supplement plans add on extra coverage for your deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance (and sometimes cover prescriptions as well). While those Medicare options are certainly useful for both your wallet and your health, they simply won’t cover all of your health care needs. That’s where ancillary plans, (also known as secondary health insurance plans) come in.
Do you Need Supplemental Insurance?
Supplemental insurance plans provide coverage for medical procedures and needs that Medicare won’t. You might wonder, “why doesn’t Medicare just cover everything in one plan?” Well, Medicare is a government program, and everyone’s healthcare needs are different. It is not lucrative for Medicare to cover everything. That’s why people who need extra financial help can add on ancillary coverage to help cover their extra healthcare costs.
If you have a medical history that includes cancer, heart disease, or stroke symptoms, you may benefit from an ancillary plan that specifically covers your symptoms or can give you extra cash. That’s why you should always disclose all your healthcare and financial information to your agent – they can’t help you get the right amount of coverage if they don’t know how much coverage you need!
Most ancillary plans work by sending reimbursement checks (usually upon diagnosis). You’ll tell your plan when you are diagnosed with a disease, and they will send you a check based on your policy value (sometimes all at once, sometimes annually, etc.). Since your money will come in the form of a reimbursement, you can technically use it for whatever you need – loss of income, childcare, travel to facilities, home health care, rehabilitation/therapy, and any other out-of-pocket costs that Medicare does not touch.
What Does Cancer Insurance Cover?
Cancer insurance plans can vary greatly. In general, you’ll find policies that cover services like:
- Blood and plasma
- Breast reconstruction
- Child/pet care expenses
- Extended care facility stays
- Initial diagnosis
- Medical imaging
- Organ transplants
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Transportation and lodging related to hospital stays
What are the Best Cancer Insurance Plans?
No other disease statistics come close to cancer. Men have about a 50% chance of developing cancer, while women have about a 33.3% chance. Cancer kills about 1,600 Americans every day and includes about 10% of American healthcare expenses.
There really isn’t one best cancer insurance policy, because everyone’s financial and healthcare needs are different. However, one of the “best” and most common options is a lump sum policy. For a monthly payment of even as little as $20 per month, you can invest in a policy worth anywhere from a couple thousand to a hundred thousand dollars. If you are then diagnosed with cancer, you will receive the lump sum of your policy’s cash value to help you cover your cancer costs.
Lump sum cancer insurance is a good idea if you have a family history of cancer or if you meet any risk factors, such as a history of tobacco use, increased sun exposure, or obesity. If you already have a cancer diagnosis, you may not be able to enroll in this type of cancer insurance. A Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan might be a better option, as pre-existing conditions will not prevent you from enrolling. Plus, you can choose a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplement plan with great prescription drug benefits.
Cancer Insurance Pros and Cons
Cancer Insurance Pros:
- Financial Relief – While you’re worrying about your health, you don’t want to have to worry about your finances. Not only is cancer treatment expensive, but you may have to leave your job to adequately receive the treatment you need! Not only can cancer policies help you pay for your care, but they can also help you recover from lost income.
- Extra Medical Coverage – Original Medicare covers basic hospital and doctor costs, and you might have a prescription drug plan, but Medicare alone does not cover all cancer-related costs. A cancer plan will help you pay for extra prescriptions and procedures.
- Peace-of-Mind – If you have a family history of cancer or if you’ve shown signs, having a cancer policy can give you the peace-of-mind to know that you’re covered in the event of a diagnosis.
Cancer Insurance Cons:
- Availability – Cancer insurance can be harder to find than other health insurance options. However, our licensed agents are able to sell plans from most cancer insurers in your area. A MedicarePlanFinder agent can help you find what you need.
- Pre-existing Conditions – If you’ve had any cancer symptoms in the past, it may be hard for you to find a cancer policy. It is really designed for those who have a family history of cancer and want to make a smart decision early on. That’s why you should buy now, BEFORE your diagnosis.
Types of Cancer Insurance
Lump Sum Cancer Insurance
A lump sum cancer insurance plan is meant to provide extra cash when you need it most: while you’re undergoing treatment. You will receive a payment for the value of your policy (usually between $5,000 and $100,000), at the time of your diagnosis.
Indemnity Cancer Plans
Indemnity plans are designed to help you pay for the costs of staying in a hospital for an extended period of time. Instead of paying out your benefits all at once in a lump sum, an indemnity cancer plan can pay you per day. For example, it might pay out $300 for each day you spend in the hospital.
Top Cancer Insurance Plans
While there are seemingly endless possibilities for getting cancer coverage, these are some of the top cancer insurance plans that Medicare Plan Finder agents currently offer (subject to change):
Aetna Cancer Insurance
Aetna offers a cancer, heart attack, and stroke insurance policy for seniors and Medicare eligibles. You or a person that you designate will receive a lump sum based on your policy value upon your cancer diagnosis. The policy can be valued at anywhere from $5,000 to $75,000.
Aetna cancer policies give you a 30-day “look” period. That means that if you decide within 30 days of your purchase that you do not like the plan you chose, you can back out.
Cigna Cancer Insurance
Cigna’s cancer policies can cost you as little as $19 per month and can cover you for as little as $5,000 or as much as $100,000. Cigna cancer coverage is available to anyone ages 18-99. For an added premium, you can also receive coverage for cancer recurrence, heart attacks, and strokes.
Mutual of Omaha Cancer Insurance
Mutual of Omaha offers both a cancer only insurance plan and a cancer, heart attack, and stroke insurance plan. Since the policy pays out as a lump sum at the time of diagnosis, you can use it however you want, regardless of who your doctors are.
GTL Cancer Insurance
Guarantee Trust Life (GTL) cancer insurance is wrapped into one policy including cancer, heart attack, and stroke coverage. They pay a lump-sum upon diagnosis regardless of what other health insurance you may have. GTL benefits are flexible but range up to $75,000.
Medico Cancer Insurance
Medico will pay a lump sum benefit upon your internal cancer or malignant melanoma diagnosis. It is a one-time benefit paid directly to you – you can use it in any way you see fit!
Frequently Asked Questions About Cancer Insurance
Can I get cancer insurance after diagnosis?
It can be a challenge to get a good cancer insurance policy after you’ve already been diagnosed. That’s why we recommend that you look at your cancer insurance options NOW, to avoid any financial surprises later.
Is Cancer Insurance Worth it?
In short, yes! Wouldn’t you rather pay a small fee every month now instead of paying thousands upon thousands later? Investing in your health now allows you to plan for the finer things in life, like a beautiful retirement!
Can I buy cancer insurance online?
We don’t recommend buying without speaking to a licensed agent. Medicare Plan Finder agents are licensed with multiple insurance carriers, which means they can help you find quotes for several different plans and help you choose the best one for your needs.
How much does cancer insurance cost?
This really is going to depend on what you need. All carriers offer different types of plans that offer different amounts of coverage. If you do not have a personal history of cancer, you can get $5,000 of coverage for about $16/month! Of course, the more coverage you want, the higher your monthly costs will be.
Who sells the cheapest cancer insurance?
Cigna offers one of the cheapest plans at as little as $19 per month, and Mutual of Omaha boasts of rates as low as $10 per month! Your choice will depend on your healthcare needs, how much coverage you want, and your geographic area. Remember, not all plans are available in every state or county. It’s more important to look at the coverage that you’re getting first, THEN consider the cost. Our agents can help you find the best balance.
What other types of coverage are included in cancer insurance?
Cancer, stroke, and heart attacks are three of the most common ailments in America. Some cancer insurance policies are wrapped into one policy that includes stroke and heart attack coverage. This means that if you develop a heart condition now and develop cancer symptoms later, your one cancer, heart attack, and stroke policy will likely cover all or most of your conditions.
What Does Stroke Insurance Cover?
According to stroke.org, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds and is the 5th leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke happens when blood flow is cut off from an area of the brain, resulting in brain cells losing oxygen and dying. The dying cells lead to memory and muscle control loss. Small strokes may only result in temporary weakness, while large strokes can permanently paralyze a person.
Shockingly, nearly 80% of strokes are preventable. You can help prevent strokes by keeping a healthy weight and blood pressure, exercising regularly, avoiding excess alcohol consumption, and not smoking.
When looking for stroke insurance, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans are great places to start. Having extra Medicare coverage will most likely give you access to more affordable healthcare through your doctors and pharmacies.
If that is not enough coverage, you can invest in a stroke policy. Most stroke policies are combined with heart attack policies. Stroke insurance is usually paid out as a lump sum (ranging from as low as $5,000 to as much as $100,000), which means it can cover anything from relevant surgeries to income replacement, instead of covering individual benefits.
Heart Attack Insurance
The CDC states that about 610,000 Americans die of heart disease every year. As common as heart disease is, it’s not cheap to handle. It can cost upwards of $20,000 for a hospital stay alone, not including the costs of any surgeries and prescriptions that follow.
While your Medicare plan may cover your hospital stay costs, it may not completely cover the surgeries and prescriptions you need. In fact, Original Medicare does not cover prescriptions at all. You will need to enroll in either a separate prescription drug plan (otherwise known as Part D) or either a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan that includes prescription drug coverage. That’s why a heart attack/stroke plan is a great option. After a heart attack, you can receive a lump sum based on your policy value to help you pay for care or replace lost income.
Cancer, Heart Attack, and Stroke Insurance
Some cancer, heart attack, and stroke insurance policies are looped into one policy. The same policy can cover heart transplants, physical therapy, patient and family member transportation and lodging, bypass surgeries, anesthesia, replacement of lost income, and help with home expenses.
Costs for cancer, heart attack, and stroke policies will vary based on your needs and how much coverage you want to pay for. If you prefer, you can pay as little as $20 per month (but will have less coverage than if you paid a higher monthly premium).
Help Us Help You
If your family medical history includes strokes or heart attacks, be sure to disclose that information to your Medicare agent. They can help you pick a plan that best encompasses your needs, and then help you decide whether or not you need to add an ancillary policy.
Do you have an agent? Our agents are able to sell countless different plans, so they can help you find the one that truly works best for you. Submit your contact information on Medicare Plan Finder so we can have one of our licensed agents reach out to you. If you’d prefer, give us a call today at 833-438-3676.
This post was originally published on March 23, 2017. It was updated on October 23, 2018, and again on July 18th, 2019.