Is Your Health Insurance Plan Strong Enough To Handle Cancer, Heart Attack or Stroke?


Yesterday, I read an article from The Associated Press.  It was entitled, “Cancer’s Growing Burden:  The High Cost Of Care.”

The post tells the story of a lady who was forced to spend the money she had inherited from her mother to pay for life-saving treatment for cancer.

I find the financial cost of cancer doubly sad.  I watched as my grandfather died of lung cancer and have lost 4 members of my immediate family to Huntington’s disease.  I know the mixture of fear, grief and stress that invades the entire family when a debilitating disease attacks one member.

As an insurance agent, the only thing that I can do is to help prepare families for the financial hit that comes with cancer.  I am not able to do away with the emotional stress that comes with a major disease but by using different insurance plans, I am able to help people avoid the financial stress that comes with disease.

The only catch is that I have to work with people before anyone gets sick.  While the precautions below are wise investments for anyone, I especially advise them for people who have a genetic history of serious disease in their family.

MAJOR MEDICAL INSURANCE

This type of insurance is the most comprehensive type of insurance available.  It will help pay for most of your medical bills if you contract a serious illness.

However, Major Medical insurance does not pay everything.  It will only pay a portion of your new expenses if you are diagnosed and treated with a disease.

Unless you are able to pay for the new expenses out of your savings, can qualify for government help or are willing and able to accept charity, you may need to use a combination of the insurance types below.

CRITICAL ILLNESS INSURANCE

Critical Illness insurance typically will pay a lump sum of cash directly to you in the event you are diagnosed with cancer, heart attack, stroke or any of the other covered critical illnesses.

I have not found any Critical Illness plans that cover Huntington’s disease but have found a couple that will cover Alzheimer’s.  There are links to information from three different insurance companies that offer Critical Illness insurance on the Critical Illness tab of this blog.  The information that is found in the brochures is for Texas.   If you live in a different state, the plans may or may not be similar.

The video, however, is educational in nature.  The information in it is good regardless of the state in which you live.

Critical Illness insurance is typically not very expensive.  If you have a good Major Medical plan, you only need enough Critical Illness insurance to pay for what your Major Medical does not.  If there is no limit on the pharmacy benefits in your Major Medical policy and you would not be inclined to try “experimental” treatments,  you should be fine with a minimum benefit equal to your policy’s maximum out-of-pocket cost sharing.

If your major medical plan has a limit on prescription drugs or you would be inclined to try “experimental” treatment, you would be wise to increase the benefit amount you request.

LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE

Many diseases take a long time to recover from.  They leave their victims with functional problems for several months.  Major Medical insurance will only pay for medically necessary bills.  It will not pay for a family member to take off work to care for you or provide the money necessary to hire an aide.  For that you will need a special type of insurance called Long Term Care.

There are many options that insurance companies offer when you first apply for insurance.  All of the options have a major effect on the type of policy you get.  Take the time to study what is available before you buy.  If you get it right at the time of your application, you should not have any problems at the time of your claim.

DISABILITY INCOME INSURANCE

Major Medical insurance only provides money to pay for medically necessary bills.  Long Term Care insurance only pays if your ability to function is compromised.  Critical Illness insurance will pay cash directly to you but only if one of the covered critical illnesses are diagnosed.

The one thing that is certain is that none of these types of health insurance will pay the bills that you are already responsible for while you are sick and out of work.

The sick days you are allotted at work are to protect you if you have to miss work because of an accident or mild fever.  They are not sufficient to cover you if you are laid up indefinitely with a cancer or stroke.

Social Security Disability Income does not start until you have been out of work for at least 6 months.  That assumes that you qualify for SSDI right away.  Many people do not.  I have seen it take as long as 18 months for someone to start getting disability payments from Social Security.

Until SSDI payments start, you are on your own to pay your mortgage, car payment, groceries, etc.  If you do not have a sufficient “Rainy Day” savings account, a short-term Disability Income plan can provide a stream of money for up to two years.  It can allow you to pay your bills while you wait for the SSDI beaurocracy to work.

If you do not want to rely on Social Security Disability Income, you will probably want to look into long-term Disability insurance.  It is even more expensive than short-term Disability but if you have it, you do not have to be concerned about Social Security’s beaurocracy.

SUMMARY

In the event of a serious illness, Major Medical insurance is not enough.  You will be glad you built an entire health insurance portfolio to include Critical Illness, Long Term Care and Disability insurance.

If you have something to say about this post or additional information on the topic, leave your comment here.

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