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Health Insurance for Cancer Survivors

Like anyone else, it is important for cancer survivors to have health insurance. Health insurance for cancer survivors should consist of preventative coverage as well as hospitalization and emergency coverage. Although there are thousands of different types of plans and companies that can provide basic health insurance, be sure to find out exactly what each policy covers and if its benefits fit the survivor's needs.

Federal and State laws regulate health insurance companies and once someone obtains health insurance they are usually guaranteed the right to renew that insurance provided they have not committed fraud and have paid all premiums on time. This means that once an individual obtains health insurance, he or she is usually guaranteed the right to renew that same policy. However, even if the policy renewal is guaranteed, the price is not. Insurance companies in most states have the right to raise the premiums on a policy at renewal.

If a cancer survivor is planning on applying for private health insurance, he or she should take into consideration that private companies can deny access to individual health insurance plans. There are state and federal agencies that help high-risk individuals find affordable health insurance policies and these can be found through state insurance bureaus. Also be aware that insurance companies have the right to temporarily exclude any pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, though rules on this vary state-by-state. The pre-existing condition period of exclusion can last anywhere from six months to a few years during which time any treatment for a condition that existed prior to the beginning of the policy is not covered. Most states have laws that require health insurance companies to credit prior continuous health insurance for the pre-existing condition exclusion period.

Health Insurance for cancer survivors through an employer will often mean that the health insurance provider will not discriminate based on previous health, even though the same pre-existing condition period may apply. If an employer provides health insurance, every employee has access to that insurance. If employment ends, an employee has the right to continue insurance coverage, but is required to pay the employer's share of the premium as well as their own. This is part of the COBRA coverage law. An employee can remain under that same healthcare provider for a period of 18 to 36 months after leaving the position.

The government also provides help for cancer survivors in obtaining health insurance. Medicaid helps low income individuals receive proper health insurance through government resources. Some states have specialized programs that are alternatives to Medicaid. Some of these resources are:
-Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that also runs programs for certain families and individuals based on needs.
-High-Risk Pool - all states have a high risk pool for individuals who have been denied access to individual health insurance plans. These are limited and sometimes have a high premium as well as some pre-existing condition exclusion periods.

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