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Do I need cancer insurance?

If you are currently insured under a comprehensive medical policy, you don't need cancer insurance. Any major medical policy includes coverage for cancer and cancer-related illnesses. If you are covered under Medicare, you won't need cancer insurance, either.

If you're thinking about buying cancer insurance, consider the following:

  • Cancer insurance pays only for cancer. It's less expensive than a major medical plan, but the major medical plan is far more comprehensive in its coverage.
  • You're not necessarily increasing your coverage if you purchase both a cancer insurance policy and a comprehensive medical policy. Any policy can have a coordination of benefits clause that states it will not pay if you own another policy with the same benefits.
  • Cancer insurance is limited. You'll want to read the policy carefully to find out exactly what it includes. Does it cover outpatient care? Many types of cancer treatments, including radiation and chemotherapy, are done on an outpatient basis. Does it have fixed dollar limits for certain benefits? Is coverage reduced after you reach a certain age? Does the policy cover illnesses you may get as a result of treatment? You'll want to know the answers to such questions.

In the past decade, state and federal regulations on the sale of cancer insurance have loosened, and you may hear more from companies that want to sell it to you. Be cautious. Chances are good that you already have coverage under your existing health plan.