Travel Advice: Travel Insurance for Cancer Sufferers
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Updated date : 18 December 2019
Are you someone who has been recently diagnosed with this deadly disease called cancer? Then, by all means, you should give yourself some time and go on a holiday and come to terms with your illness.
You may also feel the need to go on a holiday to recuperate from the painful cancer treatment or celebrate the fact that you are free from the disease. Whatever be the case, it is imperative for you to buy travel insurance that will take care of you.
Today's lifestyle has manifolded the chances of a person getting cancer. Worst still, with over 200 types of cancers, any part of the body may be susceptible and anyone may fall prey to this dreadful disease.
A study conducted by the British Journal of Cancer in Britain suggests that, over the last couple of decades, there has been an increase in the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer. People born in the years following 1960 are 50% more likely to be affected by cancer.
India alone has about 10 Lakh patients being diagnosed with cancer every year, and it kills another six to seven Lakh. According to a special research paper on the prevalence of cancer in India which was printed in Lancet Oncology journal, by 2035, these numbers may increase substantially and 17 Lakh fresh patients may be diagnosed with cancer, with about 12 Lakh people dying from it every year.
If you are planning a holiday, travel insurance is essential. It typically covers your personal belongings, luggage, cancellations, any medical expenses that you may incur during your trip abroad and expenses for flying you back home in case of an emergency.
Is It Easy To Find Travel Insurance That Covers Cancer Sufferer?
Travel Health Insurance for cancer patients or for someone with a pre-existing medical condition is usually very challenging to obtain. While common medical conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and asthma are usually covered, more serious conditions like cancer, heart conditions and mental illness are not. The reason being such patients are seen as people who are more likely to make a claim.
Owing to this, you may have no option but to cancel your holiday plans or bear the cost of expensive medical treatment if you were to fall ill during your vacation. And even if you successfully find an insurance company willing to insure you, more often than not, the premium quoted is exorbitant and could even be more than the cost of your holiday itself.
While patients with an existing medical condition may find it difficult to find a company that issues them a travel health insurance, it certainly isn't impossible. The travel health insurance industry has listened to your woes and is taking steps in the right direction. A couple of mainstream insurers may agree to insure your vacation, but any claims related to cancellation will be excluded.
For instance, at the last moment cancer makes you too ill to travel and you have to cancel your trip, or you have to visit a hospital for cancer treatment during the duration of your trip, or due to an illness caused by cancer, then you will have to bear all the costs for treatment out of your own pocket.
Should you prefer buying a cancer travel health insurance policy that is more comprehensive, today there are a number of specialist firms that offer insurance to people with pre-existing medical conditions, which includes cancer. However, since you are a candidate that has a greater risk of asking for the claim, you should be prepared to pay a premium that is way higher than what a person without a medical condition would be asked to pay.
Not just that, you may be asked a lot of questions related to your cancer - when was it diagnosed, about its stage, the grade of your illness and perhaps its prognosis. The entire procedure may bring about some amount of distress to you, but it is important for insurers or perhaps even you to have all the information at hand.
It is also very likely for your insurer to ask you to submit a letter from your doctor which duly explains your medical condition and that you are fit enough to undertake a trip abroad.
The stage of treatment and severity of cancer typically are the deciding factors for the premiums that you will have to pay. Also, if you are heading to the United States of America, cancer travel health insurance is usually more expensive due to the high costs of medical bills there.
How To Obtain a Cancer Travel Health Insurance If You Have Recovered From The Illness?
If you are someone who was diagnosed with cancer in his past and have now recovered from the disease and are officially in complete remission, you may be tempted into believing that buying travel insurance would be easy. However, the sad part is, it can still be quite tricky. You may need specialist cover, or you may have a hard time finding the right policy.
Insurers, too, may differ in their approach. Some insurers may be willing to cover a patient who has been free of cancer at least for a couple of years, while some others may insure you even if you're cancer-free for three months. However, practically all insurance firms will insist that you bring along a letter from your doctor that confirms you no longer have the disease and are eligible to travel.
While, from the looks of it, the attitude of insurers towards cancer patients, may seem to be harsh, but it only helps to be clear and let them know about your medical history with utmost honesty. In an event where you fail to disclose details you're asked for, your insurer may go to the extent of refusing to pay a claim, which might turn out to be an expensive affair for you.
What Are Some Tips For Cancer Patients Who Wish To Travel?
If you have cancer and wish to travel, you must be aware of taking extra precautions that will minimize your risks while on-the-go.
- Anyone who has cancer or was ever diagnosed with cancer must seek advice from a medical professional before undertaking any trip. It is also advisable to carry all documents that have the finest details about your medical history, details about the diagnosis of your cancer, its treatment and the medication you are using. Details about your doctor should also be with you at all times.
- Choose your destination with a lot of care and consideration, when you are planning your holiday. It is rather unnecessary to take a long flight to a remote destination when you are surrounded by beautiful locations that are closer to home. Another major problem with planning a holiday to remote destinations like islands is questionable availability of medical facilities nearby which could prove to be a huge risk in times of an emergency.
- The standard of healthcare in the country you're planning to visit, too, must be carefully analyzed. Also it worth noting that if you plan to visit a country that requires you to take vaccinations before you land there, an already compromised immune system may further deteriorate.
- On the day of your flight, consider checking in early and find out everything about all the medical equipment present onboard the aeroplane. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually affects people with some of cancer, so it is important you take all the necessary precautions.
- If you are on medication, it definitely helps to check the availability of those drugs in the country that you are visiting. You must also keep your medical prescription along with you should you lose your medicines or they get stolen. As a rule of the thumb, try carrying your medication in your carry-on luggage as it is less likely to be lost when compared to your stowed luggage.
- It is advisable to carry with you a letter that explains why you are carrying certain pills and syringes in your luggage - you may be asked for an explanation at any time by the authorities.
- Travelling to a different time zone requires you to exercise extra caution. You must take proper advice from your doctor regarding dispensing your medication.
- A cancer patient is a person with extra needs. Don't hesitate to call up your airline well in advance and ask them to give you a seat with more legroom, should you need one. Tell flight attendants about your condition when you board the aircraft. Also, inquire about facilities for the handicapped in the hotel you're staying at.
- Pack plenty of sunscreens and carry lots of protective gear for your trip. Sensitivity to the sun increases due to chemotherapy and radiation, and it helps to be more careful.
- When your immunity is low, it is essential you take extra care of your hygiene. Wash your hands more often and use hand sanitizer at times when water isn’t available. Drink only bottled water and avoid food that's uncooked or not cooked properly.
- Lastly, be easy on yourself. Take an ample amount of rest in between activities and have a rocking vacation.
What Do Insurers See Before Giving Travel Health Insurance To Cancer Patients?
Today, with the presence of so many Travel insurers, you can compare travel insurance plans online and buy an insurance plan that best suits your condition.
Most specialist insurers will insure cancers such as breast/prostate/kidney/bowel and colon cancer. Some might provide travel insurance only if you were diagnosed more than six months ago at the time of submitting your application, if cancer hasn't spread beyond the primary site and if in the last six months you haven't had any chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Some companies that cover prostate cancer would offer you travel insurance only if you have a P.S.A. (Prostate Specific Antigen) score of 10 or less.
The duration of your trip has a vital role to play while purchasing cancer cover. Most companies will cover cancer patients only up to a trip period of 6 months.
Most of the specialist travel insurers provide insurance cover not only against your cancer but will give you a host of other usual travel insurance benefits too, some of which include travel delays, cancellation, and lost baggage.
Currently, almost all the products in the health insurance category cover only healthy people who may incur cancer-related expenses in future. However, some companies are taking steps in the right direction and are queuing up to launch insurance products that are disease specific.
Fortunately, most insurance companies today view cases on an individual basis. Every case is assessed individually. However, as a general rule, if your doctor has explained to you about your life expectancy and given you a time limit, the more in advance of your intended date of travel you buy insurance, the more challenging it is to be able to find a policy that’s both suitable and affordable. Having said that, you will need to get your insurance sorted out as soon as you book your holiday.
Areas of Travel Determine Travel Insurance Premiums
An unsaid rule in the world of travel health insurance is that the risk assessment and premiums that you may depend heavily on which part of the world you are travelling to.
Medical bills may be cheaper in some parts of the world. However, if you were to go to North America or the Caribbean, medical costs are significantly higher, and so are the insurance premiums. You may not be able to obtain travel insurance for the USA if you are suffering from an incurable form of cancer.
Having cancer by no means should deter you from taking a holiday you have been longing to go to since forever. All it requires is a bit of research from your end, thoughtful negotiations with your insurance provider and all the necessary precautions that will enable you to have a fun-filled and enjoyable trip.
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