Best Cancer Insurance

How to choose the right cancer insurance for you

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Cancer patients paid nearly $4 billion out-of-pocket in 2014, according to the Cancer Action Network, the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society. While medical insurance may cover a significant percentage of cancer costs, out-of-pocket deductibles and co-insurance can still total up to large amounts. As a result, some people choose to utilize cancer supplement insurance, which helps to pay for cancer care in addition to traditional medical insurance. 

Cancer supplement insurance isn’t a complete replacement for medical insurance, rather, it’s intended to protect you from catastrophic costs to your or your family’s pocketbook should you receive a cancer diagnosis. If you’re considering this cancer supplement insurance type, we’ve reviewed companies that offer policies that extend to paying for cancer. After taking into account factors like costs and coverage, we’ve compiled the list of the best cancer insurance companies.

Best Cancer Insurance

Best Overall : Aflac

Aflac

Aflac

Why we chose it: Aflac offers low-cost coverage across a variety of cancer care needs, many with no lifetime maximum.

What We Like
  • No lifetime maximum for the policy for many services

  • Offers multiple riders, including a lump-sum for dependent children

  • Available to individuals and businesses

What We Don't Like
  • Quotes not available online

We chose Aflac as the best overall policy because it covered the widest range of benefits without being a lump-sum policy. Aflac’s policy pays for a portion or all of the common costs associated with having cancer. Examples include an initial diagnosis benefit, anesthesia benefit for surgical port placement, chemotherapy benefit, hospital confinement benefit, and a blood/plasma benefit. They also offer a $40 per year disbursement as a cancer wellness benefit, which covers costs related to screenings, such as a colonoscopy. 

Aflac does not set forth a lifetime max for some cancer benefits, which means the policy could prove very valuable should you or a loved one experience a long cancer journey. Many other policies will offer a one-time payout only or limit all payouts. Aflac does not have a lifetime max on reconstructive surgery, nursing services, ambulance benefits, and other benefits. 

Aflac has a cost calculator that helps you evaluate the value of supplemental cancer coverage. You can adjust different buttons on the calculator to determine how much you could potentially save with supplemental insurance. While quotes for premiums aren’t available online, Aflac advertises its costs as being “as low as a gallon of milk” per week. 

They also offer several riders or policy add-ons. Examples include an initial diagnosis benefit, a hospital intensive care rider, or a dependent child policy that pays $10,000 when a covered dependent child is diagnosed with cancer. 

Another aspect of Aflac’s cancer policy we liked is it's offered to both individuals and to companies.

Best Budget : Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

Why we chose it: Online quote tool lets you estimate policy costs and monthly premiums were some of the lowest we reviewed.

What We Like
  • Many monthly premiums were less than $10 for individuals

  • Offers yearly amount for screening tests or vaccines

What We Don't Like
  • Some aspects of coverage are difficult to understand

  • Not available in all states

Mutual of Omaha offers supplemental cancer insurance with online quotes and the ability to apply for the policy online. For a 40-year old woman, we were quoted a price of $9.97 per month. Both individual and family policies are available through the company. You can also choose to add protections against heart attack and stroke. 

Besides its price, there are several unique aspects to the Mutual of Omaha policy we liked. You can apply even if you have had cancer in the past if you have been cancer-free for five years or haven’t had skin cancer in three years. The company also limits rate changes so if everyone with the policy experiences a rate increase, you won’t experience an individual rate increase. In addition to helping offset costs if a doctor diagnosed you with cancer, the policy also provides $60 on a yearly basis for preventive screening, tests, or vaccines. Examples include a Pap smear, HPV vaccine, or mammogram. In this way, the policy pays you even if you’re never diagnosed with cancer. 

Unfortunately, Mutual of Omaha does not offer its cancer insurance policy in all states. It's available in 46 states and the District of Columbia, excluding Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont. The other drawback to this policy is that Mutual of Omaha breaks out each component of care it covers such as 15% of your hospital room costs or up to $1,400 for chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy. With a list of 14 coverage types, the list can be confusing.

Best for Fast Payment : United American

United American

United American

Why we chose it: United American will pay you a lump sum if you have been diagnosed with cancer and no physical exam is required for coverage.

What We Like
  • Lump sum paid with written proof of cancer diagnosis

  • Do not require a physical exam or take into account family medical history

What We Don't Like
  • Quotes not offered online

  • Not offered in New York state

Some lump-sum cancer insurance policies put stipulations on their payouts, such as that you must be hospitalized or be actively receiving treatment. United American’s policy only requires you to receive a cancer diagnosis as written and certified by a physician to receive a payout. Fewer hoops and requirements to jump through is why we selected United American as best for fast payment. 

United American offers a lump sum benefit in increments of $10,000 that ranges up to $50,000. They do not require a physical exam or take into account if your family members have had cancer; they only look at your personal medical history. The coverage is renewable for life or if the one-time benefit is paid. The company has an AM Best rating of A (excellent) for financial strength, which means it has the funds and financial strength to pay out its policies. 

The company operates as United American in 49 states. The company has an affiliate, Globe Life Insurance Company of New York, that offers separate policies. Also, you must contact a United American insurance agent to receive a policy quote; they do not make their monthly rates available online.

Best for Customizable Coverage : Physicians Mutual

Physicians Mutual

Physicians Mutual

Why we chose it: Physicians Mutual offers two benefit options and several riders that expand the policy to cover many critical illnesses or enhanced benefits.

What We Like
  • Choose from two supplemental cancer insurance policies with different pay structures

  • Additional riders available to expand critical illness coverage

What We Don't Like
  • Quotes not available online

  • Riders available only to those younger than age 65

Physicians Mutual offers a cancer insurance policy that pays for a number of cancer-related costs. They offer two policy types that pay varying degrees for cancer costs, such as inpatient stays, surgery, treatments, and transportation. You can select from these two policies for the base benefits that most fit your budget and goals. 

If you desire, you can also further customize the policy by adding benefit riders of varying amounts. For example, Physicians Mutual has a First Diagnosis benefit rider, which offers a one-time payment of between $2,500 to $10,000 based upon your selection for the first diagnosis of "internal cancer," according to the provider summary sheet. Because cancer costs are usually greatest in the first months after diagnosis, this rider may help when you need it most, according to the Cancer Action Network. These riders are available only to those under age 65. 

They also offer a critical illness benefit rider that can expand your coverage if you have had a heart attack, stroke, or heart bypass surgery. This reduces the need to purchase a separate critical illness policy. The policy also offers some cash benefits as well as some benefits that are paid directly to your provider. If you do receive cash benefits, you may use them as you see fit. 

Physicians Mutual does not offer online quotes so you will need to contact an insurance agent to obtain premium information.

Best for Individuals : UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare

Why we chose it: Wide variety of benefits for critical illnesses, including cancer. 

What We Like
  • Offers critical illness coverage for a large number of illnesses

  • Pays percentage for non-invasive cancers

What We Don't Like
  • Quotes are not available online

  • Benefit amount decreases after age 65

UnitedHealthcare offers a critical illness policy that includes cancer coverage as part of its critical illness plan. We liked this policy for individuals because it offers coverage for more critical illnesses than many policies we evaluated and offers a lump-sum cash benefit. 

In terms of cancer coverage, the policy will pay 10% percent if you are diagnosed within 30 to 90 days after your policy’s effective date and 100% if diagnosed 90 days after the effective date. The policy also offers 25% of the lump-sum payment for non-invasive cancers (cancers that haven’t spread), which helps further expand the coverage. 

You can select a coverage amount that ranges from $10,000 to $50,000. Other critical illnesses covered include heart attack, transplant, paralysis, coma, kidney failure, coronary artery bypass graft, and loss of hearing, speech, or vision. Benefits may vary by state, and UnitedHealthcare has a state-by-state brochure available on its critical illness insurance site. 

The main drawback to this policy is that premium quotes aren't available online; you will have to contact a UnitedHealthcare agent to find out a quote. Also, the policy’s benefit payment decreases to 50% of the lump sum after age 65, which makes the policy less valuable at that time.

Best for Additional Coverage : Cigna

Cigna

Cigna

Why we chose it: Cigna offers a number of customizable options via its lump-sum policy option, including cancer recurrence and additional help paying for treatments. 

What We Like
  • Multiple additional coverage options available, including recurrence coverage

  • Policies include individuals up to families

What We Don't Like
  • Must enter contact information to get an online quote

  • Maximum coverage and available riders vary by state

Cigna offers lump-sum cancer insurance with modifiable coverage, including heart attack and stroke insurance. Other additional coverage options include recurrence coverage. This is where you can receive another lump sum should a doctor diagnose you with a different cancer type. Additional riders include a radiation and chemotherapy benefit, specific disease benefit, or a cancer benefit builder where the value of your policy increases over time. You can also purchase individual coverage or opt to extend the policy to you and a partner/spouse, single-parent family, or family. 

While coverage can vary by state and qualifications, the maximum listed benefit is $100,000, and you decide where the money is used. The issue-age ranges from 18 to 99 years old. Once issued (and you continue to pay the monthly premium), Cigna guarantees the policy is renewable for life. They advertise the average monthly cost as $19, but this can vary based on the benefit amount and the number of individuals covered. The policy benefit is reduced by 10 percent if you are diagnosed within 30 days of the policy’s effective date. 

If you aren’t looking for a lump-sum policy, Cigna also offers a Cancer Treatment Insurance policy, which covers treatment-related costs that include surgeries, medications, radiation, transportation, and rehabilitation. 

Online quotes are available and help you see available policy riders in your state. However, you have to first provide your name, email address, and phone number, so you are sure to hear from the company whether you choose their plan or not. You must purchase the policy through a Cigna agent. Also, the availability of certain riders varies by state, so you will have to search your location to determine what options are available.

Best for Ease of Qualifications : Breeze

Breeze

Breeze

Why we chose it: Apply online and receive a decision in minutes with this company that is upfront about their needed qualifications. 

What We Like
  • Can apply online and receive a response in minutes

  • Lump-sum cash benefit for cancer, heart attack, stroke, or organ transplant

What We Don't Like
  • Not available in New York state

  • Coverage is for critical illness, which slightly raises the price

Breeze provides critical illness insurance for illnesses that include cancer. Their online application provides a quote and instant decision within minutes. To obtain a quote, you must provide a few details, including birthdate, zip code, and whether you are a smoker. You will then receive a quote where you can adjust the amount of desired coverage, ranging from $5,000 to $75,000. Once you do this, you can move forward with the application. You’ll then answer several health history questions, such as if you’ve had a heart attack, stroke, or been diagnosed with cancer within the past five years.   

We were quoted a price of $20.70 per month for a 40-year old woman to receive $25,000 in benefits. To receive $50,000 in benefits, the monthly cost would be $39.22. While the price is more than some cancer insurance policies alone, the policy does cover multiple medical conditions. 

Breeze’s coverage is for critical illness, so it does extend beyond cancer coverage. Covered conditions depend upon your policy choices, but may include heart attack, stroke, organ transplant, and invasive or non-invasive cancers. If you do have a qualifying event, you will receive a lump-sum cash benefit to use at your discretion to pay income from missed work, deductibles, or copayments.  

Breeze does not offer supplemental critical illness insurance in New York state.

Final Verdict

Cancer supplement insurance policies range from those that pay a lump sum to those that pay for a portion of several cancer-related costs. The premiums for these vary based on the level of coverage and benefits you choose. Most require you to contact an agent before you can determine the average monthly payment. When you do receive a quote, it’s important to compare the policy’s benefits with its average costs to select the best policy for you.

Compare Providers

Best Cancer Insurance
Site Why We Picked It Policy Type Costs
Aflac   Best Overall  Pays for percentage of costs  Quotes not available online 
Mutual of Omaha Best Budget Pays for percentage of costs  $9.97 monthly for a 40-year old woman 
United American Best for Fast Payment Lump sum  Quotes not available online 
Physicians Mutual Best for Customizable Coverage Pays for percentage of costs with some cash benefits  Quotes not available online 
UnitedHealthcare Best for Individuals Lump sum  Quotes not available online 
Cigna Best for Additional Coverage  Lump sum On average, $19 per month 
Breeze Best for Ease of Qualifications Lump sum $20.70 for 40-year old woman for $25,000 in coverage

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is Cancer Insurance?  

Cancer insurance is a supplemental insurance policy to traditional health insurance that guarantees to pay at least a portion of medical costs should a doctor diagnose the policyholder with cancer. This insurance policy doesn’t replace traditional health insurance. Sometimes, insurance companies may call these “critical illness” insurance policies that include reimbursing for cancer diagnosis as well as other named illnesses. 

While cancer insurance policies vary by the company that offers them, they may often provide a broader scope of coverage for treatments and medications. They may also provide financial support for programs and services that help a person with cancer live a healthier lifestyle. Examples could include seeing a nutritionist, help with child care, or transportation to and from medical appointments.  

What Are the Expected Costs of Cancer Insurance?

Cancer insurance costs usually involve paying a monthly premium. If you choose a company that also fulfills your overall medical insurance, you may be able to provide a single payment for all policies. 

When determining the feasibility of costs for cancer insurance, consider not only what you can pay per month, but also the value of the policy. For example, if the policy pays a lump sum of $10,000, but you may pay that much in total by keeping the policy for a decade, it may not be cost-effective. Some policies also increase their value by offering a sum for preventive benefits. You would not have to be diagnosed with cancer to receive some value from the policy. 

What Does Cancer Insurance Typically Cover?

Answering this question first requires you to determine if the potential policy is a lump-sum or percentage-payment policy. 

  • Lump-sum: Some cancer insurance policies will provide a fixed amount of money were a person to receive a cancer diagnosis. Instead of reimbursing for healthcare costs, a person receives a lump sum or regular payments to help pay for expenses. These policies will typically issue a check for you to use the payment as you see fit. 
  • Percentage-payment: These policy types pay a portion of your insurance costs. Many are based upon the idea that health insurance pays for about 60% of healthcare costs. The insurance company may pay for a percentage or specific number toward cancer diagnosis, surgeries, and treatments. 

Both policies offset costs were you to be diagnosed with cancer. Lump-sum policies offer greater freedom of choice while percentage-payment policies will directly pay your providers and often work with your medical insurance. 

What Is Excluded From Coverage?

Read a potential cancer insurance policy very carefully before purchasing it so you understand what is and is not covered. For example, some cancer insurance policies do not cover certain cancer types. An example may include non-melanoma skin cancer, such as basal-cell or squamous-cell carcinoma. 

Also, some cancer insurance plans do not cover side effects that may occur due to a cancer diagnosis or treatments. Examples include pneumonia or dehydration. 

Policies also may have a waiting period before the policy takes effect. An insurance policy may have a 30-day waiting period from the time a policy goes into effect. If a doctor were to diagnose a person with cancer during this time, their new policy would not cover them. 

Is Cancer Insurance Worth It?

Traditional health insurance should cover most healthcare needs were a person to receive a cancer diagnosis. Therefore, most people should not necessarily need insurance specifically for cancer. However, if you do not have significant coverage through your regular healthcare coverage, you may consider taking out an additional policy. 

A cancer insurance policy could be worth it if you have a high deductible health plan. If you anticipate a need for the significant assistance and extra services that a cancer insurance plan can offer, it may also be worthwhile. Ultimately, it comes down to weighing what you can afford against what benefits you would need should you receive this often devastating diagnosis. 

How We Chose the Best Cancer Insurance Companies 

To select the seven best cancer insurance policies, we reviewed more than 15 companies that offer cancer insurance policies to individuals and employers. We reviewed companies that offer cancer-specific policies as well as critical illness policies that included cancer.

We narrowed our choices down based on affordability, comprehensiveness of coverage, and availability of added riders or preventive benefits. We also took into account the availability of individual and family policies and whether the company offers its policy in all 50 states, making the policy more accessible should a person relocate.

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. American Cancer Society. (2020). Types of health insurance plans.

  3. Health coverage protects you from high medical costs. HealthCare.gov.