When my father was 54, he was diagnosed with an auto immune disease that struck quickly and in a devastating fashion. He lost his kidneys to the disease, and spent the next 11 years on dialysis until he received a kidney transplant last summer. Thankfully, he had long-term disability insurance through his employer, along with solid health insurance (which switched to Medicare after 18 months, since kidney failure is a special exception to the normal Medicare age requirements). Also beneficial in his situation was his age: He had been working for 30 years when his illness occurred, so he already had savings in place.
But what if a critical illness were to strike in your 30s? What if you didn’t have savings or disability insurance in place to cover loss of income if you needed to stop working during treatment? Do you have a plan in place for covering the deductible on your health insurance policy? What about medications, since it’s becoming more and more common for health insurance policies to be sold with only partial coverage for medications? Would paying for transportation and lodging to see an out-of-town specialist be prohibitive? What about out-of-network deductibles or the cost of experimental treatments that aren’t covered by health insurance?
Illnesses like cancer, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and paralysis seem like something that only happens to other people… until they happen to you or someone you love. And a critical illness policy makes an excellent addition to your health insurance coverage, providing an influx of cash when you need it most.
Critical illness policies can be purchased at the same time as a new health insurance policy, and they’re also available as a stand-alone product (perfect for someone who already has health insurance from an employer or a spouse’s plan). Policies are available with a wide range of benefits and premiums, so there’s something for everyone. And if you’ve recently been shopping for health insurance, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how much less expensive critical illness coverage is – even for high benefit levels to cover a whole family – when compared with health insurance. If you’re later diagnosed with one of the specific critical illnesses covered by your policy, you’ll receive a lump sum cash benefit from the insurance company (pay attention to the fine print on your policy – some plans pay a percentage of the face value of the policy for less serious illnesses). In addition, your policy might include a per diem benefit for any days that you’re hospitalized with an illness covered by your plan.
Critical illness coverage shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for health insurance, since there are numerous illnesses and injuries that it doesn’t cover at all, and since the benefits are designed to be used to cover out-of-pocket costs and unexpected expenses that arise in the face of a serious illness like cancer – not to cover the majority of the medical costs that go along with such an illness (which can very rapidly get into the six figure range: health insurance is a necessity!). But if you do have solid health insurance in place, especially if it’s high deductible coverage, you might want to consider adding critical illness coverage as a supplement.
Several top health insurance carriers in Colorado offer critical illness coverage, including Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and United HealthCare. If you’d like quotes for you or your family, or if you have questions about how a critical illness policy could benefit you, please contact us. There’s never a charge for our services, and we’re happy to help you find both the health insurance policy and the critical illness coverage that best meet your needs.