Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
Other kinds of health coverage benefits might be used in addition to your primary insurance. When looking at these options, it’s important to know what your primary policy does and does not cover. These plans don’t usually cover your regular medical expenses, or you might have large out-of-pocket expenses.
Your employer might offer a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) if you aren’t eligible for an health savings account (HSA). FSA funds are also taken from your salary tax-free. Sometimes, your employer will add to your FSA too.
You can use FSA money for medical or dependent care expenses. If you don’t use FSA money by the end of the year, you lose it.
Some employers will offer to pay you back for certain medical expenses through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). Reimbursements are tax-free and usually have a maximum amount. HRAs are different from HSAs and FSAs because the employer pays for and manages the account. The employer chooses what to cover and whether or not you can roll funds over to the next year.
Supplemental plans are not primary insurance plans. They are add-ons that can help cover what your insurance doesn’t pay. Review the policy carefully because many of them don’t cover pre-existing conditions or have waiting periods.
Catastrophic health plans are coverage for worst-case scenarios. They have low monthly payments, but high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.
Here are some important things to know about catastrophic coverage:
Catastrophic insurance does pay for the following, regardless of how much of your deductible you’ve paid:
To be eligible for a catastrophic plan, you must either be under 30 years of age, or qualify for a hardship exemption.
Most people use catastrophic plans as a temporary, last resort to have some kind of coverage. If you are eligible for catastrophic coverage, you’ll be able to see them in the Marketplace. You can also ask for free quotes before you decide.
Hospital indemnity insurance is a kind of supplemental insurance that you can get in addition to your regular insurance coverage. You pay a monthly premium. If you’re in the hospital, your insurance pays a certain amount of money to you. You can use this money on hospital bills or other things like:
Hospital indemnity plans are usually available through your employer. Some have waiting periods before they take effect.
Some people who have or had cancer might wonder if they qualify for life insurance. Life insurance can give you peace of mind that your loved ones or dependents will have some financial support in case of your death.
Most life insurance companies have certain requirements for people with a history of cancer. These requirements can be different depending on the company, but some common things they might ask you include:
Some life insurance policies have a waiting period for coverage or payout from when you last received cancer treatment. Some companies will consider you for traditional life insurance policies if you’ve been cancer-free for a certain amount of time.
Just like health insurance, there are different kinds of life insurance plans depending on how much coverage you need. The two main kinds of life insurance are:
Term life insurance
Permanent life insurance
There are different kinds of permanent life insurance:
Some permanent life insurance policies have guaranteed issue options. These policies might be an option if you’ve been denied eligibility from other policies. They are a popular choice for people with serious medical conditions because you don’t have to give health information or have a physical examination. You are “guaranteed” to be accepted for coverage.
However, these policies usually have higher premiums and might not pay out as much as other policies. And there’s usually a waiting period of at least a year before they go into effect.
Some employers offer group life insurance plans. There are often coverage limits based on your salary. And if you lose or leave your job, you usually can’t keep this coverage.
Some life insurance companies offer riders (optional add-ons) to your primary policy. Some riders that a person with cancer might look into include:
One of the best things you can do when looking for life insurance is to get quotes from more than one company. Then you can compare your options and find one that meets your needs and budget.
Here are some things to think about when looking for life insurance:
Along with the American Cancer Society, you can find more information and support from these resources:
US Department of Health and Human Services, State Health Marketplaces & more
Medicaid for information on how to apply, including how to find your state’s Medicaid program.
Medicare for information on how to apply, compare plans, find a provider, and more.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Insurance Buyer’s Guide
*Inclusion on these lists does not imply endorsement by the American Cancer Society.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Hospital Association. Health insurance primer. American Hospital Association. Published January 2022. Accessed August 4, 2023. https://www.aha.org/guidesreports/2022-03-21-commercial-health-insurance-primer.
US Department of Health & Human Services. Basic needs. ACL Administration for Community Living. Accessed August 4, 2023. https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs.
HealthCare.gov. Health care options, using a flexible spending account FSA. HealthCare.gov. Published 2019. Accessed August 3, 2023. https://www.healthcare.gov/have-job-based-coverage/flexible-spending-accounts.
HealthCare.gov. Type of plan and provider network. Published 2018. Accessed August 3, 2023. https://www.healthcare.gov/choose-a-plan/plan-types.
HealthCare.gov. How to buy a catastrophic health insurance plan. Accessed August 3, 2023. https://www.healthcare.gov/choose-a-plan/catastrophic-health-plans.
HealthCare.gov. How to set up an HSA (Health Savings Account). Accessed August 3, 2023. https://www.healthcare.gov/high-deductible-health-plan/setting-up-hsa.
HealthCare.gov. Official Health Insurance Guide. Accessed August 3, 2023. https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners. What type of life insurance is right for you? NAIC.org. Accessed August 10, 2023. https://www.content.naic.org/article/consumer-insight-what-type-life-insurance-right-you.
Last Revised: September 30, 2023
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