Cancer, a formidable adversary, can exact not only a physical toll but also a significant financial and emotional burden on patients and their families. As the prevalence of cancer continues to rise, the need for comprehensive protection becomes increasingly apparent. Cancer insurance, designed specifically to address the unique challenges posed by this disease, offers a lifeline that ensures financial stability and peace of mind during a difficult journey. According to the most recent report of the Hong Kong Cancer Registry (HKCaR), the most frequent cancers diagnosed in Hong Kong in 2020 were cancers of the lung (15.9%),
colorectum (14.9%), breast (14.6%), prostate (6.8%) and liver (5.1%). These five leading cancers comprised over 57% of all new cancers in Hong Kong. (1)
The potential expenses and emotional stress that cancer can impose on individuals and families could be far from imagination. From medical treatments and therapies to everyday living costs, the financial strain can be overwhelming, further compounded by the emotional toll on patients and loved ones. With a well-rounded cancer insurance in place, many of the following areas can be taken care of.
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it can lead to a range of expenses that go beyond medical treatments and can significantly impact their financial well-being. Common spendings can be found in many areas that are not common in other illnesses.
Cancer treatment can involve surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and other specialized treatments. These treatments often come with associated costs, including doctor's fees, hospital stays, outpatient care, and medication expenses. Cancer patients may also require a variety of prescription medications to manage pain, side effects, and to support their treatment plan. Regular imaging scans, laboratory tests, biopsies, and other diagnostic procedures are often necessary to monitor the progress of the disease and treatment response. With the escalating cost of private medical services in Hong Kong, some of these medications can be expensive and may not be fully covered by health insurance.
Cancer patients may experience a decrease in income due to time taken off work for treatment and recovery. Some may need to reduce their working hours or even take extended leave, resulting in reduced earnings. If the cancer patient is responsible for caring for children or elderly family members, additional expenses may arise due to the need for childcare or additional caregiving support.
Dealing with cancer can be emotionally challenging for both patients and their families. The cost of seeking psychological counseling, support groups, or therapy sessions may become a necessary expense. Some individuals may also opt for complementary or alternative therapies to support their cancer treatment. These therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, or herbal supplements, may have associated costs.
Cancer insurance is a specialised form of coverage that provides financial support in the event of a cancer diagnosis. It typically operates by offering a lump sum payout upon diagnosis, allowing policyholders of the cancer insurance to address medical and, most of the time, non-medical expenses associated with the illness.
Cancer insurance extends a lifeline to policyholders by alleviating the financial burden that arises from cancer-related costs. This protection enables patients to focus on recovery and quality of life while ensuring that their families are not overwhelmed by the financial strain.
Cancer insurance often comes in the form of critical illness insurance in Hong Kong. Cancer insurance encompasses a range of coverage, including medical treatments, hospital stays, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, prescription drugs, and palliative care. In contrast with health insurance, the coverage extends beyond medical expenses to include costs associated with travel to and from medical facilities, accommodation, and loss of income due to treatment and recovery.
The coverage of cancer insurance in Hong Kong is getting more and more comprehensive. In some examples, cancer insurance gives protection against 134 illnesses through different stages, including 56 Early Stage Illnesses, 8 Juvenile Illnesses, 5 Special Illnesses (collectively “Minor Illnesses”) and 65 Major Illnesses. The protection level can be restored back to 100% after claims and is available till age 100. Some policies even provide benefits if the policyholder’s spouse or child is diagnosed with Major Illness or passes away. Such flexibility provides comprehensive protection against critical illness as well as features benefiting the policyholder and their family.
When choosing a cancer insurance policy, individuals should assess several critical factors, including the coverage scope, premiums, existing health coverage and their own medical history. Evaluate the specific cancers covered and the extent of coverage in the cancer insurance is very important. In the unlikely event of having an illness, it can be a traumatising and hard time for the whole family. Getting prepared as early sa possible is crucial in terms of protection. Understand the premium costs of the cancer insurance and how they fit within your budget. Consider existing health insurance coverage and whether it complements the cancer insurance . Talk to your financial advisor when needed.
There are also other factors in terms of the existing cancer insurance plans in the market that are worth to be noticed.
Some policies offer payouts depending on the stage of the cancer detected, such as early-stage or minor cancers, intermediate-stage or in-situ cancers, major or advanced-stage cancers. Different policies can have very different treatment on individual cases according to the scope.
Some portion of the sum assured might be paid if the policyholder passes away. This is important to be noted as it can be extra helpful in difficult and unexpected situations.
There’s often a waiting period, the most common being 90 days from the start of the policy during which any cancer diagnosis will not be covered. There is also another period between multiple claims if there are any.
Like all insurance policies, there will be exclusions. Pre-existing conditions, certain types of cancers, or cancers diagnosed within the waiting period might not be covered.
The cost of the cancer insurance premium can depend on factors like age, gender, smoking status, and family history.
Cancer insurance is a vital component of a well-rounded financial plan, offering critical protection against the potential economic strain that accompanies a cancer diagnosis. As medical advancements continue to enhance cancer treatment and survival rates, the need for financial security remains paramount. By understanding the significance of cancer insurance, its scope of coverage, advantages, and key considerations, individuals can make informed choices to safeguard their well-being and that of their families in the face of this formidable challenge.
(1) Overview of Hong Kong Cancer Statistics of 2020, The Hong Kong Cancer Registry (HKCaR)
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