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August 15, 2019

Do Federal Employees Have the Option to Buy Cancer Insurance?

cancer insurance for federal employees

The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program can help civil service employees meet the needs of their family through insurance options such as consumer-driven and high deductible plans, health savings/reimbursable accounts, or Nationwide Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans, and their Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO). In addition to this primary health insurance, federal employees can purchase supplemental insurance to help cover the out-of-pocket expenses their insurance may not cover.

After heart disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s Cancer statistics estimates there were approximately 1,735,350 new cancer cases and 609,640 deaths in 2018. With breast cancer being the most common form of cancer in women, and prostate for men, the lifetime risk of developing cancer in the United States is almost 40%, or one in three Americans. 1

Cancer doesn’t discriminate – anyone can be impacted by a diagnosis. Fortunately, many Americans have the option to purchase coverage that may help should they be diagnosed with cancer.

Financing Cancer

Upon a cancer diagnosis, a patient probably wants to visit the best doctor … but what about a financial advisor? Cancer is expensive. Two financial questions need to be addressed when dealing with cancer treatment: Does the patient have health insurance? Does the patient have money in savings for deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses?

Insurance May Not Be Enough

The 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Education trust found 57% of employees with individual insurance plans had an out-of-pocket maximum more than $3,000 in 2017.

For many insured and uninsured people, the cost of cancer can be catastrophic so much so that they skip or delay treatments.2 Many patients can’t continue to work, which means no income. Those who have insurance and a job that has paid sick time could still be affected by financial toxicity by running out of sick time or having to take unpaid medical leave.

The Importance of Supplemental Cancer Insurance

Supplemental cancer insurance is meant to help pay the difference between what a patient’s health insurance pays and what the patient must pay out of pocket. These expenses may include:

  • copays
  • extended hospital stays
  • lab tests
  • treatments

Additionally, supplemental cancer insurance can cover non-medical treatments such as:

  • supplemental income
  • child care cost
  • travel
  • lodging expenses for treatment

The cost of cancer treatment is staggering, and it seems to only be increasing. Because so many Americans are diagnosed daily with cancer, this can cause devastating changes to a family. Without insurance, the out-of-pocket expenses would be unaffordable for many Americans. It’s imperative for those who cannot afford a cancer diagnosis to consider the benefits of cancer insurance.

  1. AARP, The High Cost of Cancer Treatment, 2018

Categories: Insurance, Cancer Insurance

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