Bupa warns: Check the small print on cancer cover

26 August 2008 / by Rachel Mason
A third of Brits are diagnosed with some form of cancer, and as a result, more than half name cancer as their ‘major’ health worry. This, says Bupa, along with growing uncertainty over access to cancer drugs on the NHS, is why so many people are turning to private medical insurance.

But, says Bupa, even with private medical insurance, you cannot always be sure you are covered, because polices differ greatly between providers.

"Not all private medical insurers fund treatment for every stage of cancer,” says Bupa, "some stipulate time or pre-set monetary limits on funding for cancer drugs, while others offer varying levels of cover."

"People should check the small print of their policies so they are not let down when they come to claim."

Cancer charity Beating Bowel Cancer is also advising people to be aware of the detail in the range of private health insurance options available.

"It is important that people make sure they check their cancer cover, so that if they come to claim, they are not let down at what will already be a difficult time," said Hilary Whittaker, chief executive at Beating Bowel Cancer.

"If you are not sure what level of cover you have, call your insurance company directly or speak with your financial adviser."

Dr. Rebecca Small, assistant clinical director at Bupa UK Health Insurance, says that she believes a policy should give people access to treatment at every stage of their cancer.

"It's about the right cancer treatment, at the right time, in the right place and is ultimately about giving patients the best possible chance," she said.

Bupa also routinely funds drugs such as sunitinib (Sutent), temsirolimus (Torisel), bevacizumab (Avastin) and sorafenib (Nexavar) for patients with advanced kidney cancer, and many others which are not widely available on the NHS.

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