Health insurance with cancer cover

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June 1, 2023
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Private health insurance may offer you the option to cover cancer related treatments, consultations, diagnostics and support services. This means that if you’re diagnosed with cancer, and you’re covered, your provider will pay in part or whole for the treatments, tests and support you need, subject to your own underwriting terms.

How does cancer cover work with health insurance?

Health insurance covers policyholders for acute medical conditions that occur after the policy has started, which may include cancer. When comparing health insurance, you’ll find that different providers offer varying policies and terms for their cancer coverage. Your policy may follow one of these examples:

  1. Cancer cover not included as standard - Your policy won’t include cancer as standard, but you may be able to include it as a policy addon for an additional fee.
  2. Included as standard, with the option to upgrade - Your policy covers cancer as standard, but you can upgrade your cancer cover to something more comprehensive.
  3. Fully comprehensive Included as standard - Your policy covers the highest level of cancer coverage from the provider as standard.

What happens after cancer diagnosis?

If you have a policy that includes cancer cover and you’re diagnosed, your provider will cover the costs of related services such as consultations, counselling, treatment, recovery and more, subject to your underwriting terms. It’s important to note that you can only claim on cancer care that’s covered in your policy, and not every policy works the same way.

What cancer treatments and services are included?

The types of treatments and cancer-related services included in your policy will depend on who your provider is and the level of cover you purchase. To give you a picture of the types of cover options that may be available across the UK, we’ve collated the following list from multiple providers:

  1. Direct access to cancer support - Speak to support teams about your symptoms which can advise you on the next steps and may offer you speedy  appointments.
  2. Specialist oncology support - Direct contact with an oncologist for advice and support through difficult periods and decisions.
  3. Counselling support - Trained counsellors can offer you emotional and psychological support as and when it’s needed.
  4. Treatment across the UK - Access networks of cancer centres, hospitals and medical facilities across the UK.
  5. Home treatments - Receive chemotherapy treatment from nurses in your home.
  6. Emerging drugs and treatments - Access treatments and medicines that may otherwise be unavailable to you through public healthcare.
  7. Outpatient services - Cover for diagnostic tests, consultations, chemotherapy and other outpatient treatments related to cancer.
  8. Preventative treatment - Providers may offer preventative treatments if cancer is found in your body and there’s a risk of it appearing elsewhere.
  9. Prosthesis - Receive a contribution towards the cost of prosthesis that’s needed as a direct result of having cancer.
  10. Stem cell and bone marrow transplants - Where needed, your provider may collect, store and implant stem cells and bone marrow as part of your cover.
  11. Wigs and hair restyling - Receive money towards wigs or hair stylists when cancer treatment causes you to lose your hair.
  12. Follow-up consultations - Following a period with cancer, access follow-up consultations to monitor your ongoing health.
  13. Specialist centres - You may have access to specialist cancer centres that focus on specific types of cancers, such as breast or bowel.
  14. End of life home care - If you require end of life home care, a specialist nurse will be assigned to support you.

Are there any limits on cancer cover with health insurance?

Policy limits define the maximum amount of a service you can receive before your provider stops covering the cost. This may be a financial figure or a number of times you can access a service.

Whether there are any limits and what they are depends on your policy details. Limits also depend on the type of treatment and service, as some will more commonly have limits than others. Prothesis, for example, will often be limited across many providers, while chemotherapy and radiotherapy are offered without a limit on several policies.

Which health insurance providers offer cancer cover?

There are many details to consider when comparing cancer coverage across UK health insurance providers, and to understand fully, we recommend that you use our free comparison service.

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However, to help give you an overview of which providers offer cancer care and how they work their policies, we’ve gathered some information to help you understand your options. Please note that with each provider, there is additional information to consider, and their terms are subject to change at any time.

Aviva logo with Equity Health logo in the bottom left corner

Aviva cancer cover

Aviva includes extensive cancer coverage as standard with their health insurance policies, and no upgrade options are available. Aviva’s cancer cover includes:

  1. Extensive cover in full - The costs of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapy are covered in full.
  2. NHS cash benefit option - If you’re diagnosed with cancer, you can opt to use the NHS instead of claiming on your policy. You can claim up to £100 for each day or night of treatments, with no limit on the amount you can claim.
  3. Ongoing care - For up to five years after cancer treatment, you can access unlimited cover for monitoring and ongoing medical care.
  4. Bone strengthening drugs  - Payments for bone-strengthening drugs such as bisphosphonates.
  5. External prostheses - Contribution towards the cost of external prosthesis following cancer surgery.

Vitality logo with Equity Health logo in the bottom left corner

Vitality cancer cover

All Vitality health insurance plans include advanced cancer cover, and they’ll cover eligible inpatient and outpatient costs in full.

  1. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy - Covered in full.
  2. Biological therapies - Covered in full.
  3. Hormone and bisphosphonate therapies - Covered in full.
  4. Cancer surgery - Covered in full.
  5. Reconstructive surgery - Covered in full.
  6. Stem cell therapy - Covered in full.
  7. Follow-up consultations - Covered in full.
  8. End of life home nursing care - Cover for up to 14 days, with a maximum of £1,000 per day.
  9. Scalp cooling - Covered in full.
  10. Mastectomy bras and external prostheses - Cover for up to £200 for mastectomy bras, and up to £5,000 per external  prostheses.
Bupa logo with Equity Health logo in the bottom left corner

Bupa cancer cover

Bupa gives policyholders the option to add two different types of cancer cover to their health insurance policy. They are not included as standard and must be added to your policy.

  1. Full cancer cover - Bupa pays in full for eligible treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants.
  2. NHS cancer cover plus - You’re only covered when you require radiotherapy, chemotherapy, drug therapy or surgery to treat your cancer, and it’s not available to you under the NHS.
Axa Health logo with Equity Health logo in the bottom left corner

AXA Health cancer cover

AXA Health offers two options that you can include with your health insurance cover:

  1. NHS cancer support - If the NHS will not cover the costs for a licensed drug that meets the following criteria, AXA Health will cover the cost in full:

    a.    Dedicated cancer case manager throughout treatment
    b.    Private hospital stays, daypatient and scanning centre fees paid in full.
    c.    No limit on diagnostic tests for inpatients and daypatients.
    d.    Diagnostic tests with no year limits.
    e.    CT, MRI and PET scans paid in full.
    f.     Specialist consultations.
    g.    Radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
    h.    Monitoring and follow up consultations.
    i.     Up to £400 per year for wigs.
    j.     Up to £5,000 per year for prosthesis.
  2. Comprehensive cancer cover - The most comprehensive cancer cover AXA Health offers, which includes, but is not limited to:

    a.    A specialist has recommended and prescribed the drug for your treatment.
    b.    AXA Health agrees to the treatment in advance.
    c.    The European Medicines Agency or Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Agency licences the drug.
    d.    The drug is aimed at affecting the growth rate of cancer.
    e.    AXA Health also offer up to £5,000 for prosthesis following cancer surgery.
The Exeter logo with Equity Health logo in the bottom left corner

The Exeter cancer cover

The Exeter offers cancer cover for every Health+ member, including coverage for all cancer stages. An example of what’s included is as follows:

  1. Chemotherapy administered at home - Covered in full.
  2. Diagnostics, specialist consultations, tests and scans after diagnosis - Covered in full.
  3. Surgery, including the removal of tumours and reconstructive surgery - Covered in full.
  4. Cancer drugs - Covered in full.
  5. Radiotherapy - Covered in full.
  6. Treatments to control cancer symptoms, or to provide pain relief - Covered in full.
  7. Continuous monitoring of cancer, including when in remission - Covered in full.

Freedom HEalth Insurance logo with Equity Health logo in the bottom left corner

Freedom cancer cover

Freedom offers varying cancer cover depending on the health insurance policy you purchase.

  1. Freedom Essentials - A more affordable policy option with reduced cover. It does not include cancer cover but offers the following cash benefit to offset private costs or related expenses:

    a.    Receive £150 cash benefit when you visit a hospital for chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
    b.    Receive up to 50% of the fixed cash benefit for inpatient or daypatient treatments administered as part of cancer treatment.
  2. Freedom Elite - Their most comprehensive health insurance policy, which includes cancer cover for:

    a.    Specialist consultations.
    b.    Cancer diagnosis.
    c.    Ongoing monitoring of health.
    d.    Surgical treatment covered in full.
    e.    Chemotherapy/radiotherapy covered in full.
    f.     Genetic testing.
    g.    Hormonal therapies.
    h.    Medical treatment to combat the side effects of chemo and radiotherapy.
    i.     Bone strengthening drugs.
    j.     Palliative care.

Can you get cancer cover if you already have cancer?

If you already have cancer, then you may not be able to  purchase a policy that includes cancer cover. Health insurance excludes pre-existing conditions, which is one reason why purchasing health insurance before experiencing symptoms may be worth considering.

Can you use the NHS while having cancer cover?

Yes, you’ll always be eligible. Some policies also reference NHS cancer services as part of their offering, for example, offering you cash benefits when receiving cancer treatment from the NHS while holding a policy with them.

While the NHS offer cancer services, individuals may find a benefit in having private healthcare in place should they be diagnosed. Health insurance offers many benefits in addition to cancer cover, such as fast access to health services, the use of private facilities, and may offer access  to new and innovative treatments.

Compare health insurance with cancer cover policies

Our team of independent brokers are available to listen to your needs and help you compare the health insurance policies available. We’ll aim to answer any questions you have about cancer and health insurance, as well as guiding you towards a policy that’s best suited to your needs. This is a free service, and you’re not obligated to purchase after speaking to us. Complete the form below, and a member of our team will be in touch.

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Jasmine Albano
Written by
Jasmine Albano

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