If you or someone you know was diagnosed with a critical illness, you may find yourself wondering if you or your loved one will qualify to purchase insurance after diagnosis. Or, maybe you’re healthy now but you’re unsure if you’ll ever need critical illness insurance and are assuming you could get coverage if (or when) your health changes.
In this blog post, we'll look at what it means to be diagnosed with a critical illness, the likelihood of becoming critically ill, and how critical illnesses can impact insurance decisions.
A critical illness, in relation to insurance, refers to significant health events like a cancer diagnosis, heart attack or stroke. Certain life insurance carriers (but not all) provide critical illness plans that cover additional severe, life-threatening conditions or procedures such as: heart transplants, coronary bypass surgery, major organ transplant, paralysis, kidney (renal) failure and angioplasty, among others.
The odds of being diagnosed with a critical illness will depend on many factors, including your age, sex, ethnicity, family history and your own health history. If you're reasonably healthy today, you might think your odds of becoming critically ill are so low that there's no need to consider insuring against that risk.
However, none of us can predict if, or when, we might become ill or suffer a major, life-impacting health event. According to the National Cancer Institute , an estimated 1,685,210 people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer this year. And, when it comes to heart disease, strokes and other types of cardiovascular diseases, the American Heart Association reports that about 92.1 million American adults are living with form of cardiovascular disease or have suffered a stroke. Keeping these statistics in mind, it’s recommended to prepare yourself for the worst, so you can rest easy knowing you’re covered if anything happens.
Unfortunately, waiting to apply for and purchase critical illness insurance coverage until after you've already been diagnosed with a critical illness or until after you've experienced a significant health event means that you won't be eligible to cover that illness or health event.
Critical illness insurance is coverage you purchase while you're healthy enough to do so. You pay policy premiums to the insurance company. In return, if you are later diagnosed with a critical illness that is covered under your specific policy, the insurance company will pay you a lump sum cash benefit.
If you already have a critical illness, the unfortunate reality is that you will not be insurable for a critical illness policy.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies cannot discriminate against someone because of their pre-existing conditions, so if you have a critical illness, you should be able to maintain health insurance coverage as long as you keep paying your policy premiums, even if you don't have access to an employer-sponsored group health insurance plan.
When it comes to life insurance and disability insurance , you may be able to get a certain amount of protection through an employer-sponsored group life insurance or group disability plan without having to answer questions about your health history.
In addition, there are other insurance carriers that offer a base minimum amount of insurance coverage to everyone regardless of health history, however premium payments for that coverage will likely be higher for someone with a critical illness than for someone who is otherwise in good health.
If you had a critical illness in the past, such as breast cancer that has been treated and has not returned, you may qualify for coverage with a number of carriers. It never hurts to explore your options and find out if a carrier is willing to offer you coverage, so don't let a past or current critical illness keep you from talking to your insurance professional about what's available.
Although, of course, none of us want to find out we have a critical illness, there is a possibility that at some point in our lives we could find ourselves dealing with a cancer diagnosis, heart attack, stroke or other major health events. So, don't wait until it's too late to purchase critical illness insurance coverage, or to explore other types of insurance products – prepare for the unexpected.
Whether you end up ultimately purchasing critical illness insurance, disability income insurance, life insurance or some combination of them, you'll be able to rest easier knowing that if the worst happens, the bills will still be paid and your loved ones will be taken care of.
At Symmetry Financial Group, we know there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for insurance coverage. The most important thing when looking for coverage is that your insurance policies be designed to meet both your needs and your budget. As a truly independent solution, we have access to more than 30 well-known and trusted insurance carriers' products. This gives us the ability to find the best solution for you, whatever your goals. To learn more or to receive a quote on life insurance plans, contact us today .