It’s more and more common for people to survive cancer. While this is a positive trend, it also means that people could face more than one critical illness throughout their lives, including the possibility of another cancer diagnosis.
You may be wondering if you are eligible for critical illness insurance if you’ve had cancer in the past. This question pertains to you if:
- You currently have cancer and want to get insurance if you’re diagnosed with another critical illness. In this case, cancer would be a pre-existing condition.
- You have survived cancer in the past and want to insure yourself if you get it again or get another critical illness.
Are you potentially eligible for critical illness insurance in these circumstances? The short answer is yes, but you must research your options and find the right plan. Read on to learn about applying for critical illness insurance after you’ve had cancer and the other options available to you.
Factors That Affect Your Eligibility for Coverage
If you’ve had cancer in the past, your insurance provider may use several factors to decide if you’re insurable. These vary widely from one company to the next and from one plan to the next. Some of the things that might affect your eligibility are:
- The type of cancer you had. Some cancers have a higher rate of re-occurrence, and insurance companies will consider this when assessing your risk of becoming ill again.
- Your age. Older people are more likely to become ill again, either with cancer or with another illness.
- Your family history of cancer and other illnesses. If the cancer has a genetic component, your risk of getting it is higher if a biological relative has had it in the past.
- Other risk factors for serious illness, include obesity, smoking, excessive drinking, exposure to harmful chemicals, an unhealthy diet, and pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
- How sick you became the last time you had cancer. People who were able to keep working and following their daily routines might be less inclined to make a claim against their critical illness insurance, so they present a lower risk to the insurance provider.
Not every insurance provider will ask for all this information. Some plans don’t require any testing, exams, or extensive questionnaires.
Alternatives to Critical Illness Insurance
As noted above, not all insurers require a complete medical exam and medical history. There are also other types of insurance you can consider.
If you’re concerned that you won’t qualify for critical illness insurance because of your previous cancer diagnosis, consider a no-medical policy. This type of policy doesn’t require exams, testing, or lengthy questionnaires about your medical history. Approval tends to be faster than insurance requiring a full medical.
Some insurance providers offer critical illness insurance that only covers specific individual illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. You can also get policies that cover several major illnesses under one plan.
This type of life insurance is designed to pay the benefit when you pass away. This differs from critical illness insurance, which provides a living benefit when you receive a diagnosis. Traditional life insurance is fully underwritten, requiring a complete medical exam, testing (including blood draws and fluid samples) and a lengthy questionnaire about your medical history and those of your relatives. Getting approved for this type of insurance takes longer because the process is more extensive.
This type of policy is also designed to pay its benefit when you pass away. No medical exams or testing are required, like no-medical critical illness insurance.
These policies are designed to pay benefits when you have to leave work due to illness or disability. The benefit typically ends when you are well enough to return to work. While critical illness and life insurance give you a lump-sum benefit, disability insurance is usually paid in installments.
|Typical Benefit timing||Payment structure||Medical required||Typical Coverage||Approval time|
|Critical Illness||At diagnosis||Lump sum||Yes||Illnesses listed in the policy||Weeks – Months|
|No-Medical Critical Illness||At diagnosis||Lump sum||No||Illnesses listed in the policy||Days – Weeks|
|Cancer-only critical illness||At diagnosis||Lump sum||Yes||Cancer||Weeks – Months|
|Traditional Life||When you pass away||Lump sum||Yes||Loss of life||Weeks – Months|
|No-Medical Life||When you pass away||Lump sum||No||Loss of life||Days – Weeks|
|Disability||At diagnosis||Installments||No||Any disabling condition||Weeks to months|
Deciding on The Right Plan
Comparing insurance policies can be confusing. Some of the questions you can ask to help you decide on a plan are:
- How likely will you be diagnosed with a severe illness in the next 5-10 years? This is a matter best discussed with your doctor, considering your entire medical history, age, and risk factors.
- Is there a chance that one of your family members may become ill? You may want to purchase insurance for them as well.
- Do you have other coverage through your employer or another insurance policy?
- How much would you need to maintain your standard of living if you couldn’t work?
- What will your employee benefits and your provincial health care plan cover (ex: mobility aids, home nursing care)
- Do you have anything set aside to cover unexpected expenses?
Canada Protection Plan offers a wide range of insurance products for people who have had cancer in the past. Our policies are exclusively no-medical, meaning you can apply for coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Our life insurance plans are tailored to your current health status and are also no-medical. We offer critical illness insurance designed to provide a lump sum benefit of up to $100,000 and plans for specific illnesses.