How is cancer covered by trauma insurance?
Trauma insurance, also known as critical illness insurance, provides a lump sum benefit in the event that the policyholder suffers from or has been diagnosed with one of the medical conditions that are specified in the trauma plan. Many insurers will cover up to 50 different conditions including cancer, stroke and heart attack. The average age of a claimant for Trauma Insurance is 48.
What is the threat of cancer in Australia
- One in two men and one in three women, will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85
- Close to 3,300 men die each year of prostate cancer. An additional 20,000 new cases are diagnosed each year
- Two in three will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70
What types of cancer are usually covered by trauma insurance policies?
Most trauma insurance policies will provide cover for:
- Prostate Cancer
- Skin Cancer
- Malignant Bone Marrow Disorder
- Invasive Cancer
- Hodgkins Disease
- Carcinoma in Situ of the Breast
Does trauma insurance cover all types of cancer?
Cancer is one of the serious medical events that is commonly covered by trauma insurance in Australia. Although, it should be understood that not all types of cancer may be included in your trauma insurance policy as may be the case with other conditions, such as heart diseases.
The level of trauma cover for different types of cancer may also vary between providers. Depending on the insurer, some types of cancer which are considered non life-threatening may not be included in your cover, such as skin cancer. Other exclusions may include benign prostate cancer and other conditions that are classified as cancer but are pre-malignant.
In addition, cancer may also be defined differently between insurers. Therefore it is essential to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully, as failure to do so may result in your claim being denied. When in doubt, it important to speak to an insurance consultant who can guide you through the policy.
Is cancer claimed often on trauma insurance policies?
Unfortunately cancers are some of the most commonly claimed conditions for trauma insurance. Take TAL for example:
TAL Trauma Insurance Claims
- Cancer (including breast and pancreatic cancers) were the most common reason for serious condition claims in the 2016 financial year.
- TAL paid out $20,445,418 in skin cancer claims in the same period.
How is cancer defined among Australian trauma insurance providers?
Cancer is a very broad and complex term. Different types of cancer have different causes, treatments and typical severity, and there is also a lot of individual and biological variation in one's susceptibility to and likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer at some point.
Requirements that insurers may include when defining cancer include:
The cancer being untreatable
Insurers typically require the cancer's development to be characterised as "uncontrollable" or otherwise aggressive and difficult to treat.
It meets a "histological" definition
Some insurers will require your cancer diagnosis to fall within certain histological definitions (according to what it looks like under a microscope.)
Cancer is sometimes disputed
Cancer claims are particularly highly disputed with some insurers, indicating that out of date and varying definitions may be an issue in some policies.
Definitions will also vary for specific types of cancer
The definition of cancer within trauma cover usually includes restrictions, which will determine whether the benefit will be payable or not. Using the extracts from AMP Flexible Lifetime Protection in May 2010 (AMP Risk Bulletin, 2010), the definitions of cancer that allow for a benefit to be paid include:
- Malignant cancer, as diagnosed by a doctor or specialist
- The significance of the treatment
It is important to remember the definition of cancer stated above will not be the same as with other providers. Refer to the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to understand the types and definitions of cancer that will be covered by the provider of your choice.
Trauma cover as preventative measures against cancer
In Australia, one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85 (Cancer.org.au, 2013). Being the number one reason for trauma claims, there are four main types of cancer that account for over half the cancer varieties that both men and women suffer, and they are:
Can trauma cover protect Australian men against prostate cancer?
Every year, around 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in Australia, with close to 3,300 men who lose the battle against this disease (Prostate.org.au, 2013). This is a disease that is growing in numbers and younger men have become more susceptible to prostate cancer due to certain lifestyle habits, such as drinking alcohol, although genetic issues may also play a part. One in nine men in Australia will suffer from prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Can trauma cover women against breast cancer?
Statistics have shown that one in four Australian women will be diagnosed with a type of cancer in their lifetime (ABS). In 2010, breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death for Australian women, which accounts for 15.3% of all cancer deaths in women. Around 700 women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer every year (Cancer Australia, 2013).
What about other types of cancer?
As shown by the trauma claims statistics from AMP Australia in 2011, cancer accounted for 73% of all trauma claims paid, with 30% caused by other types of cancer. As previously mentioned, some of the types of cancer that most commonly affect Australians include lung, bowel, and skin.
Other medical conditions that resulted in a claim for trauma plans include heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and Parkinson’s Disease.
Australian cancer statistics
- 1 in 12 Australians will develop bowel cancer before turning 85 years old.
- 14,234 Australian are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year (Bowel Cancer Australia, 2013).
Skin cancer and melanoma
- Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they turn 70 years old.
- Skin cancer and melanoma account for 80% of all new cancer cases.
- Melanoma is a type of cancer that commonly affect people between the age of 15 to 44 years old (Cancer Council of Australia, 2013).
- In 2010, lung cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia (8,099), followed by bowel cancer (3,982), prostate cancer (3,235), breast cancer (2,864) and lymphoid cancers (2,769) (Cancer Australia, 2013).
How can trauma insurance benefit cancer sufferers?
When an individual has been diagnosed with cancer, it does not only affect that one person, but also the entire family, mentally and financially. More often than not, cancer patients will have to take an extended time off work to seek medical treatments, which will have a significant impact on the family’s financial situation.
This is when trauma insurance can help. Trauma cover provides the financial assistance that can be used in many different ways, allowing you and your family to focus on what matter’s most, your treatment and speedy recovery.
Uses of trauma cover benefit payment
When a family member has been diagnosed with Cancer, a household can expect to lose up to $47,000, and that includes healthcare costs of up to $9,000.
Source: Access Economics Study for NSW Cancer Council, 2007
The trauma cover benefit payment can provide you with the means to receive appropriate medical and rehabilitation treatment. It can also be used to cover expensive medical bills which may include:
- Hospital treatment
- Specialist medical services
- Allied health services
- Health administration costs
- Residential aged care
Rehabilitation expenses, on the other hand, may include:
- Special education
- Community care costs
- Electronic aids
- Educational materials
In addition to medical and rehabilitation expenses, trauma insurance can be used to fund home and vehicle modification that may be required to cater to your new condition and aid your recovery.
Trauma cover is considered to be the ideal insurance solution in dealing with cancer, particularly in meeting medical and rehabilitation costs.
Source: Money Management, 2007
Tips for when I buy trauma cover
Trauma cover can provide you with many benefits, particularly when you are going through a life-threatening illness. There are a number of things that you will need to consider carefully before signing away a trauma insurance policy, which will save you a lot of grief in the future when making a claim:
- Check what your policy covers you for. Many people make the mistake of assuming that they are covered for everything, when they may not be. Therefore, it is important to be aware of which types of cancer that you will be covered for in your policy. Understand the different definitions of cancer types. Certain type of benign or pre-malignant skin cancer may not be covered in some policies, therefore, it may be worth looking into other providers that offer protection against this type of cancer.
- Know what you are paying for. Not knowing what you are covered for may result in you paying thousands in extra premiums for expensive extras that you do not really need. Its essential to review what is included in your policy and to avoid plans with benefits and features that are not relevant to your situation.
- Include your family in your trauma policy. If a member of your family, especially your children, is stricken with a critical illness, will you have enough cover to take care of them? Including your family members in your trauma policy will give you a higher level of peace and security knowing all your family is protected. Most new trauma cover policies offer an option to add children’s trauma cover for an additional cost. Signing family members for a policy will normally entitle you to a discount too.
- Check the features and limitations. An insurance consultant can ensure your policy includes all of the necessary features and benefits to match your protection needs. This can be achieved through a comparison of hundreds of different policy options against your personal needs.
Trauma insurance is highly beneficial plan to protect you against life-threatening illness such as cancer. It can provide you with the valuable financial support that you and your family may need, especially at a time when you need all the support you can get. Trauma cover can minimise the financial impact that cancer can have on you and your family, and focus on what is important, which is your recovery.