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No one wants to think about the possibility of a cancer diagnosis. But over 1.8 million new cases expected by 2021, which could total $157 billion in medical costs1 Supplemental health insurance for cancer could help you pay for out-of-pocket costs in the event of a diagnosis.

Standard health insurance may cover cancer, but the costs of cancer include more than just direct healthcare bills. It can also include missed days of work and extra expenses. These are things your health insurance policy can’t cover, but a supplemental cancer insurance policy may be able to help.

How Can Supplemental Health Insurance for Cancer Help Me?

Supplemental health insurance for cancer can help with the out-of-pocket costs of cancersuch as:

  • Deductibles and copays
  • Out-of-network charges
  • Travel and lodging for you and/or your caregivers
  • Childcare
  • Specialty equipment, food, and clothing
  • Lost wages

Depending on your health insurance’s deductible and out-of-pocket maximum costs, what you’ll have to pay will vary. Additionally, cancer costs vary depending on where it is located and when it is diagnosed.  The average medical cost for individuals with cancer ranges from $23,500 to $105,500.3

How Does Supplemental Cancer Insurance Work?

Supplemental cancer insurance is designed to help supplement your health insurance policy, not replace it. Supplemental plans require you to pay monthly premiums just like standard health insurance, but the benefits are typically offered as lump-sum cash paid directly to you.When you receive a cancer diagnosis, you file a claim with the insurance company and you could receive your lump-sum payment in as soon as three days if the claim satisfies the terms of the policy.

You can use this benefit any way you like, including out-of-pocket treatment costs, travel to a medical facility, mortgage payments, or other household bills. It’s yours to use however you see fit.

Will Disability Insurance Cover Cancer?

While disability insurance is meant to help you in certain health emergencies, it may not be cover all your insurance needs. To qualify for long-term disability, you are required to miss work for a certain period of time.4 Since cancer treatments are highly individualized, you may not be disabled long enough to qualify. For example, chemotherapy can last three months or less. Long-term disability terms vary, so check your policy for details.4 

And if you use short-term disability, your employer is only required to hold your job if you are also eligible and file for 12 weeks of FMLA leave.6 These two very different plans also may not cover all of your missing wages while you’re unable to work, and others may have a waiting period before benefits can be accessed.5

Who Should Consider Supplemental Insurance for Cancer?

Anyone with a healthcare plan should consider purchasing a supplemental cancer insurance policy. Approximately one out of four Americans may develop cancer,6 and 80% of all cancers are diagnosed in people over age 55,6 so it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Supplemental cancer insurance can be an affordable way to help reduce the burdens that can accompany cancer treatments.

Can I Get Supplemental Cancer Insurance Any Time?

Yes, unlike most health insurance, a supplemental cancer plan can be applied for whenever you’re ready to buy a policy.2 There are no open enrollment periods. However, you must apply for a plan before you receive a cancer diagnosis. You will not be able to qualify for a policy afterwards.

How Do I Get Supplemental Insurance for Cancer?

The easiest way to find supplemental cancer insurance is to work with an insurance agency. HealthMarkets can help you compare supplemental cancer plans, customize your options, and apply online. Our service is fast, easy, and offered at no additional cost to you. Get started now. 


1. “Financial toxicity: A growing burden for cancer patients.” Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. September 1, 2019. Retrieved from | 2. American Cancer Society. April 22, 2020. Retrieved from | 3. “Cancer Care Costs in the United States Are Projected to Exceed $245 Billion by 2030.” American Association for Cancer Research. Retrieved from | 4. “Understanding Long-Term Disability Insurance vs. Social Security Disability.” Disability Benefits Help. February 21, 2020. Retrieved from | 5.U.S. Department of Labor. 2020. Retrieved from | 6. American Cancer Society. 2020. Retrieved from 

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