Are you properly covered for cancer? These 5 Qs can help

Are you properly covered for cancer? These 5 Qs can help

Last updated on 22nd June, 2021 at 09:55 am

A cancer diagnosis is scary on its own – what you don’t need added to that is unforeseen costs and the unfortunate surprise of not being properly covered for them.

#1: What is cancer cover?

“While comprehensive severe illness benefits include cover for cancer, Sanlam also has a Cancer-only benefit available, for those who are especially concerned about the risk of cancer,” says Karen Bongers, product development actuary at Sanlam Individual Life. “Cancer treatment is costly, and people are generally more concerned about the risk of cancer than the risk of any other disease. So it makes a lot of sense to consider a cancer-only benefit together with your medical aid and gap cover, to ensure that you’re properly covered. You can take the cancer benefit on its own, or use it as a top-up to comprehensive severe illness cover, to increase your total amount of cover for cancer,” adds Bongers.

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#2: Why does cancer cover matter?

There are numerous benefits of cancer-specific cover; these include accessibility and inclusivity. If you’re living with certain health conditions – perhaps you have diabetes and don’t qualify for comprehensive or cardiovascular cover – you would likely still be eligible for a cancer benefit.
Medical aid and gap cover may only cover the costs of cancer treatment up to a certain amount, and will not cover any non-medical expenses associated with the disease. Cancer cover bridges that gap, giving you peace of mind.

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#3: How do I know whether I’m covered for cancer?

“Have a conversation with your financial planner about your life cover benefits,” suggests Jyoti Gopee, a financial planner at Pinnacle BlueStar, underwritten by Sanlam. “Ask whether cancer cover is included in your basket of benefits – including the definitions of cancer that is covered and the determinants for claim payout,” she adds.

Women and men are both at risk for breast cancer. Read this to find out how you can protect yourself.

#4: Gap cover, cancer cover, severe illness cover – what’s the difference?

Gap cover
This cover is your ‘safety net’ when your hospital cover is maxed, and you need to cover the shortfall between the medical aid rate and the balance of the hospital bill. “Day-to-day benefit shortfalls cannot be claimed via gap cover,” cautions Gopee. “Gap cover pays the member directly,” she also adds. “It’s your responsibility as the member to pay the hospital, treating doctors or specialist.”

Cancer-only cover
A cancer-only benefit provides comprehensive cover for cancer. As it’s strictly cancer specific, it does not provide cover for other illnesses, like multiple sclerosis, heart attacks or strokes.

Severe illness cover
In the case of Sanlam Comprehensive Severe Illness Cover, more than 300 claim events – including various cancers – are covered. “If you have a cancer-only and a comprehensive severe illness benefit, you can claim from both benefits if diagnosed with cancer,” notes Gopee.

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#5: What should I ask before taking out a policy?

As mentioned, it’s important to first discuss with your financial planner what your current life cover includes in terms of cancer cover. “Your financial planner needs to determine and then further understand the need that is to be fulfilled. This will assist to ensure that the proper solution is implemented,” concludes Gopee. Bongers suggests the following questions to help you get a fuller picture of your cover and what it entails:

“How much does the benefit pay for different stages of cancer?”
All insurance companies providing cover for cancer are mandated to indicate the percentage they will pay out for different severity levels of the disease. These percentages are important when comparing different benefits.

Insurers typically offer two types of severe illness benefits – one paying 100% for all severity levels of cancer, and another more affordable option paying lower percentages for lower severity levels. “Some aggressive cancers are, however, associated with higher expenses, even while in stage 1. The Sanlam offering therefore pays 100% for all severity levels of certain specified aggressive cancers, like pancreatic or liver cancer, even if the more affordable option is selected, ensuring proper cover,” adds Bongers.

“How comprehensive is the cover?”
Naturally, when you take out cover, you want to have peace of mind knowing that there aren’t any ‘blind spots’ that you would need to cover out of pocket. “The Sanlam Cancer Benefit offers cover for cancer, leukaemia, lymphoma and tumours; comprehensive cover for early cancers; wide cover for benign brain tumours; and catch-all cancer claim events for even further peace of mind,” shares Bongers.

“Are there any exclusions?”
“Some exclusions are specific to the product. For example, certain skin or prostate cancers that are easily treatable with minimal financial impact and health risk will typically not be covered by a cancer or severe illness benefit,” explains Bongers. “Other exclusions can be specific to you, if you have a history of cancer and the insurer placed an exclusion on your benefit,” she concludes.

A financial planner is best positioned to tailor a plan to your unique financial needs and goals, including comprehensive cover to protect your finances for life’s unexpected events. Book a meeting with one today.

Sanlam is a licensed financial services provider.

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