Is this a good idea? (Cancer Insurance with Refund)

Trina_TXApril 20, 2002

Does anyone here have cancer insurance? I talked to a saleslady from Conseco yesterday. They have a cancer policy that is $33.50 per month for a family. It pays directly to you, $1000 upon a cancer diagnosis, $25 per chemo or radiation treatment, $40 per night for a family to stay in a motel if you are hospitalized, also pays so much for surgery, anesthesia, nursing, hospice, etc. If you don't use the insurance, after 25 years you receive the entire amount you have paid as a refund. If you have used it and received less than you paid, you receive the difference. If you use more than you paid in, you get no refund. I realize that I would be losing interest that I could get in a savings account, but I would also receive something for that money. After 25 years, it comes to a little over $10,000. That is not a huge amount, but I will be 63 then and it would be a bump for our retirement. What do you think?

PS - I can also add Intensive Care insurance to that policy for an extra $9 per month - don't know if that is refunded or not. Also, I do already have regular health insurance, but this pays directly to the patient or family. That would be a big help if that time ever came.

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Check with your state insurance comminsuer for complaints, ratings, etc. Does sound too good. I have seen ads for similiar programs, but cannot remember the warnings I also saw. I have never heard of this company, so check out what ratings they have, how long in business, and make sure they are registered to sell that insurance in your state. Check with other independentant agents selling insurance. If you have life insurance, check with your company. Just be very careful.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2002 at 4:40PM
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No, this is not a good deal. It's an awful deal. If, God forbid, you ever get cancer, $1000 is going to be a drop in the bucket compared to what treatment will likely cost, and ditto for what little bit of your own money they are going to dole out back to you for the other various things mentioned.

I definitely agree with you that $10,000 would come in really handy for your retirement. But wouldn't $24,000 come in handier? Because that's what you'll have at the end of 25 years if you spend $37.50 a month and buy a U.S. Savings Bond every month for the next 25 years instead of handing the $33.50 over to Conseco. (I only picked the $37.50 figure because that's a bond price. You would have close to the same amount if you just invested just the $33.50 that Conseco wants, but you can't buy a Savings Bond in that denomination.)

Plus, if you need the money before that, you'll have it, and it's 100 percent safe since it's a U.S. Government obligation. Check Conseco's stock prices and financial reports -- I think there's serious doubt as to whether they'll even be around 25 years from now.

If you could afford to bump up your investment to $50 a month, you'd have over $30,000. You can check out the U.S. Savings Bonds wesbite for more information. I included the link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: U.S. Savings Bonds Information

    Bookmark   April 21, 2002 at 10:28PM
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It appears the only winner in that package would be the insurance company. I agree with Ken. Invest in other ways.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2002 at 8:55AM
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The Conseco people were at my workplace recently (the school district I work for allowed them to be there) and actually I was pretty impressed also with their sales pitch.

Cowboyind, the $1000 Trina mentioned is not the full extent of their coverage, they cover well beyond that amount for surgeries, medications, etc....that is only for the initial diagnosis.

According to what I was told, they have been in business in my state for 25 years and have been around longer than that. If they should go out of business, your investment is protected by some sort of insurance company protection (like FDIC for banks). This is what I was TOLD...I did not sign up, so I don't have documents to look at first hand. I DID sign up for their accident insurance as I have four drivers in the family and some sort of accident (hopefully minor!) would seem pretty inevitable. That one is completely refundable (unless you have used it up) after 20 years as well.

When I asked the salesperson how the company makes money on this (as it seems to be too good to be true) her answer was that the company has use of your premiums for 20 years and can invest, etc. (True, YOU could be investing that money too, but I figure one really bad accident and I would be out a heck of alot of money that this would cover on top of my regular insurance).

Probably my biggest reason for purchase was that my parents bought cancer insurance 20 years ago (not sure if it was Conseco or perhaps is the same company new name) and just received their check for all of their premiums recently. It worked for them. Perhaps it won't be there in 20 years for me, but I guess all of life is a gamble and sometimes you research, and think things through and hope you are doing right and go ahead.

Just my opinion on all of this.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 4:47PM
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Well, if the possible payouts are different from those Trina mentioned, then the policy could have some conceivable benefit to a person who purchases it. But "specific condition" policies -- whether for accidents, a specific illness, or whatever -- are a poor insurance purchase because the payouts are extremely low as a percentage of premiums taken in. The fact that the company is willing to give back your premiums (without interest) after the policy expires is proof of this fact, because they couldn't do it if they were paying out any significant amounts of money in claims on these policies.

That may be true about insurance consumers being protected by an agency similar to the FDIC. For the sake of Conseco's customers, I hope so. They have made one lousy business decision after another, and they are in dire financial straits.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 9:17PM
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Thanks for the info cowboyind. I signed up for the accident insurance with the option of canceling after 10 days of my packet's arrival. I really want to go over it with a fine tooth comb and see what I can find.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 10:13PM
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Great; that's definitely a good idea. My guess is that you will find many exclusions and stipulations which severely reduce the value of the protection offered by the policy. But I could be wrong, since I haven't seen it myself. Good luck either way you go -- and if you choose to keep the accident insurance, I sure hope the company makes money on you because you never collect!


    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 11:09PM
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Guess maybe I should have given more info on this. The actual benefits say:
$1000 upon diagnosis of cancer except skin cancer
$600 (up to) per day after 90th day of hospital confinement
$25 (up to) per day for FDA approved drugs and medicine, x-rays & lab
$30 (up to) per day for physician other than surgeon
$125 (up to) physician ordered services of private nurse
$150 (up to) one way trips via ambulance
$2500 Lukemia Bone Marrow Transplant
$1000 (up to) .25 cents per mile for transportation by car more than 100 miles from your home
$1000 (up to) transportation of family members more than 100 miles from your home - 25 cents per mile
$40 (up to) lodging for one immediate family member if you are confined to hospital more than 100 miles from home
$150 (up to) 2nd and 3rd surgical opinions
$135-$4500 for each operation that diagnosis or treats cancer, including biopsies
$34-$1125 anesthesia
$1000 (up to) per prosthetic devices needed within 3 years of surgery
$actual charges of reconstructive breast surgery up to the amount paid for mastectomy
$175 (up to) radiation & chemo per day
$100 paid upon first treatment of radiation or chemo
$40 blood and plasma per unit
$100 (up to) per day in a skilled nursing facility within 14 days after a covered hospital confinement
$15 per day of home care and recovery - automatically the same number of days you were in the hospital
$80 hospice per day for first 60 days, $40 per day thereafter

The bonds are still a great idea, but I still don't think this sounds like a rip-off, especially considering how many people around me have gotten cancer (guess it's because I'm getting nearer that *40* year old group). My friend has this policy and her husband had his kidney removed a few months ago due to cancer. I'm waiting to see how they cover him and his expenses.

Thanks for all the input.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 10:05AM
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I would not get this insurance. Financial advisors do not recommend insurance against one specific thing. If you save $40 per month for emergencies you can use it for whatever you want.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 12:53PM
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Trina, thanks for all of the additional information. No, I do not think this sounds like a rip-off either. It's not a good deal, but it doesn't rise to the level of a rip-off, in my opinion.

Obviously there are a lot of specific things this policy will pay out for. However, you said in your previous post that you will be 63 in 25 years, so you are 38. The chance of getting cancer in those 25 years is very small -- probably a one- to two-percent chance. These policies capitalize on people's fears about some specific dreaded risk -- a risk that the company knows is not likely to befall a person. For example, women worry tremendously about breast cancer, but heart disease kills ten times as many women as breast cancer.

Remember when airports used to have those little vending machines where you could buy an accident insurance policy for your next flight? This was exactly the same principle. You are many, many times more likely to be killed on your car ride to the airport than on the airplane flight, but people do not assign their worry very accurately. Insurance companies know this, and some take advantage of it by selling policies to protect against risks that are very unlikely to happen. A cancer policy is one form of that.

So with this policy you have maybe a couple percent chance of collecting on the basis of a claim, and if you don't you will get your money back without interest -- but you have to wait 25 years for it. However, if you save the money in U.S. Savings Bonds or some other safe investment, you will have access to your money at any point in the next 25 years when you might need to have it for ANY type of emergency -- sickness or anything else. Plus, in the very likely event that you DON'T get sick between now and then, you'll have more than twice as much money when you're done than this policy is going to give you.

There's one other problem, too: If you currently have health insurance, they may deduct from their benefits the amount that this plan pays you for a service or treatment that it did cover. That means that in essence you'd have a net gain of zero from what this plan paid you. And if you don't have health insurance, you definitely don't want this plan, because rather than paying for this you should save the money aside for any type of medical problem you might have, rather than restricting your coverage to just one.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 1:45PM
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Well, Cowboyind, you have convinced me.

Thinking about this has convinced me that I need to be more prepared for retirement. We are contributing 6% of my DH's salary to retirement. His employer matches that amount. Trouble is that we just started this recently. We had to cash out his other retirement a few years ago when his employer closed. He went back to school to change fields and is much more stable now. Do you think savings bonds are the best way to save a little extra every month? If a person wanted to use this amount $25-50 per month, would you suggest savings bonds, CD's, etc?

Thanks for you opinion everyone who answered this for me. I appreciate it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 4:23PM
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Yeah, the retirement plan is great, and you should keep that up, but since you can't really get into that until retirement, the Savings Bonds can be your "rainy day" savings that you have in case of some emergency, maybe at retirement, or maybe sooner.

Here is where people will disagree with me. I do like Savings Bonds as an investment (I buy them myself) because they pay a good return, they are safe, and the federal tax on them is deferred until you cash them in, so your money grows tax-free. Right now they pay better rates than CDs. Plus, there is something cool about buying one every month as almost a ritual and then getting them back in the mail and having a stack of them. I don't know, for me, it is a psychological advantage because it makes me not want to spend the money. I see that bond in front of me and I do not want to cash it in. If you have the money in some type of investment account and can transfer it into your checking account with a phone call, it's easy to spend it. That's just me; other people may say that it is too conservative of an investment, but for me I like it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 5:12PM
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Actually when you think about insurance, isn't it all sort of a gamble? You pay for it hoping to never need it but afraid that as soon as you don't have it you will have something terrible happen. Just a reflection of the out-of-control medical costs today I guess.

As far as the track record of a company, again a gamble somewhat. Companies that seem safe and stable today may be in bankruptcy tomorrow.

As the saying goes, nothing's sure but death and taxes!

Coyboyind, thanks for good thoughts about buying bonds. Hate to say it, but never have bought one (I'm a CD gal myself). Where do you get What sort of denominations? They are insured? How long do you have to hold them til maturity?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 8:48PM
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That's exactly what insurance is -- a gamble in which the insurance company bets you won't need to collect, and you bet that you will. Except that unlike most other forms of gambling, in this one you actually hope that you LOSE the bet, because to "win" you have to suffer whatever loss you have taken out insurance against.

CDs are a similar type of investment to U.S. Savings Bonds in that both are very safe. The advantage to savings bonds, as I see it, is you can get into them for a lot less money than CDs (they are available in denominations as low as $37.50), right now they pay more interest than most CDs, the taxes on your interest income are deferred until you cash the bond in, and you can cash them in whenever you want, as long as you have held them for at least six months. They are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S., so they are about as safe an investment as you're going to get. The government's bond website below has more info. They also have something called EasySaver where you automatically have money deducted from your checking or savings account on a certain day each month and buy bonds that way. I may get into that myself.


Here is a link that might be useful: U.S. Savings Bonds Website

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 11:16AM
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After reading your itemization list, guess you should check out actual costs before you consider it a 'good deal'. Just as an example, look at the $600 a day *after* 90 days in the hospital.

This is a 'cancer only' policy, right? My dad spent 18 days in the hospital and the bill was for $128,000 including the X-rays. His chemo was billed separately at $1,200 a pop three times a week. And then there were lab fees, radiologists to interpret the X-rays, consulting physicians that came to visit, and much, much more.

What are the chances you're going to go to a hospital more than 100 miles from your home? (ok, Texas is a big state, but...) Your transportation doesn't kick in until it's 100 miles away.

A physician (other than surgeon) gets $90 - $125 per hospital visit... ten minutes with you and then off to his next patient. Now I understand the term "billable hours".

Ken, Savings Bonds are a good way to 'put some away every month'. It's really cool when you see those stacks of $75 or $100 bonds grow and grow. The hard part comes when you cash them in and have to pay taxes on all that 'deferred interest' :-(

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 12:14PM
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Ok, another stupid question: Is everything you earn on a savings bond considered interest? If I pay $25 for a bond and it matures to become worth $50, is that entire profit considered interest or just what it continues to accrue during the next however many years you keep it? (Please don't laugh, I feel I should know this, but I don't). Thanks.

My MIL buys my kids a savings bond ($50 denomination) every year on their birthday for college. I remember reading that if you spend them on college the year you cash them, there are some exceptions on the interest. Is that right, and we wouldn't have to pay anything then?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 1:11PM
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Gina: True, you have to pay taxes on the interest you earned on Savings Bonds when you cash them in, but you can be careful about when you cash them in and time it so that you, say, cash a little in this year and a little next, and reduce the tax bill for that year. With most interest-paying investments, when they pay it to you, you pay taxes on it, and that's that. At least here you have some control over it.

Trina: Yes, the amount you pay for the bond is the starting point, and what you cash it in for is the ending point, and the difference between the two is what you pay taxes on, because that is your interest income. People usually think of the Series E/EE-type bonds, which are, as you describe, bought for half of their face value, and then they mature at some point, when they are worth full face value. Then they continue to receive interest for a certain length of time.

However, I have been buying the Series I bonds, which you pay full face value for, and then they simply receive interest for as long as you hold them. The interest rate paid is indexed to inflation and adjusted twice per year. Right now the Series I bonds are paying a little more than the E/EE ones, but the difference isn't much and they are both good investments. I think the main reason they came out with the Series I is to make bonds more easily comparable to other types of investments, such as CDs, where you pay full face value and then get an increased value later.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 1:32PM
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Have you ever considered Municipal Bonds? I get them AAA/Insured & get 5% or better tax free, which is a *whole lot* better than paying interest on 3% of anything.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2002 at 10:21AM
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No, I have not considered them; just don't know about them. I am not sure what you mean about paying interest on 3 percent of anything. Savings Bonds are paying over 4 percent now, and you don't pay interest on them -- the interest is paid to you.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2002 at 11:51AM
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Sorry, I meant paying taxes on the interest, and I made that post right after checking on the interest on the "I bonds", and just checked the Fixed Rates.

You pay taxes on the 4% interest you're collecting from your I bonds.

Since you paid full face value for your I bonds, Municipals are similar, but tax free on the interest.

With a tax-free municipal you don't pay any taxes on the interest, and you collect interest 2x a year. It takes more money to get into than regular savings bonds, but I know once I got the bug, I was finding all kinds of ways to get money to buy bonds.

EX: I bought 20K worth of a Water Utility bond. The price at the time was 99.00, so I had to put up $19,800 for the cost. In addition, I had to pay the accrued interest since the last payout (which I get back in the next payout). The accrued interest was $50.00, and then there was a $5.00 service charge... Total cost: $19,855.00

In return for that, which is good until 10/01/2031, (unless they 'call' it - more later) I will get a check in the mail every April and October 1 for $500 (1/2 of the annual interest), and don't have to pay taxes on that money -- State or Federal.

"Calling it"... this particular bond is 'callable' in 10/01/2011 @100.00, which means that they have the option to re-finance the municipal project in 2011 and can pay me back 100% (which means that since I bought at a lower price, I get back $20,000), PLUS, I've already had all of that tax free interest for the nine years.

If a bond doesn't get 'called', at the end of the 30 years I'll get all of my initial investment back and will have paid NO taxes on the $30,000 interest I've gotten over the years.

Important for me to be Highest Rated =AAA AND Insured. Municipalities have been known to default. (California a couple of years ago). If the municipality defaults on payments, the insurance company pays off and I still get my money back.

Another important difference is that with the I bonds, you're limited on how much you can buy per year ($30K per social security number). You can buy all the Munis you can afford.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2002 at 1:33PM
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Hey there Trina ... It sounded good to me. Heck, if you don't use it you will get all that money back after 20 years. I had the premiums payroll deducted for 4 years ... and then was permanently laid off. After several months without a paycheck, even with weekly unemployment monies coming in, just meeting my living expenses was tough enough. Of course, I had to quit paying the premiums. So, they got $2200.00 out of me and I have no chance of a refund. If I had invested that money in a different manner, I would still have access to it today. How many people will continue to pay premiums for all those years? I'd bet the percentage of people that get those refunds is really low! Cyndi

    Bookmark   May 3, 2002 at 5:14PM
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Good point Cactuslady. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 3:20AM
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Some people seem confused as to what you are insuring.

"Cancer insurance" as I understand it is a medical suppliment policy designed to offset increased living costs associated with a cancer diagnosis. It is not "medical insurance" designed to pay the doctor.

Kind of a screwy policy. Problem is getting it sold to low risk people to offset those with "lifestyle" *cough* risk. Why pay for the other guy's cigarette habit?

: )

    Bookmark   June 4, 2002 at 3:20PM
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No, if you go back up, you will see that this particular policy did cover some medical procedures as well. There was no confusion. The problem with this policy is not that people are "paying for others' bad habits," but instead that the policy is written to pay out very little to anyone, regardless of lifestyle. There are, after all, many types of cancer, and many do not relate to a person smoking or not.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 1:58AM
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Cowboyind, I was one of the people at my business who sat to listen to the sales pitch (did not buy) and in a way I would say that Bunnyman is right...this insurance does pay directly to the owner of the policy and none of it goes to doctors, hospitals, or anyone else... in my opinion Bunnyman is right that the payments "offset increased living costs associated with a cancer diagnosis". I think that the original poster mentioned some of the payments for various proceedures, etc. to point out how much the policy would pay the OWNER if they had this diagnosis or various proceedures done. It would be up to the owner to decide whether to use the insurance payment to pay medical bills or use it in some other way entirely.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 4:11PM
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The facts and figures reported by the American Cancer Society for 2001 estimate that 2/3's of the cost associated with cancer treatment are non medical. This is where a supplemental cancer policy can help to offset some of the cost difference.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 7:41PM
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Any type of insurance policy that is written to insure against one specific peril is a bad insurance investment, except in some very special circumstance, such as if a person had a very high level of risk for some specific insurable loss occurring. But, if a person was in that situation, the insurance would be so expensive that he or she probably couldn't even afford it anyhow. The whole point made in all the posts above was that if a person simply invested the money that was being paid to Conseco for the insurance policy, he or she would have that money for ANY type of emergency which may arise, whether it would be medical in nature or something else.

The fact that this company is paying out very little on these policies is illustrated by their ability to refund the premiums (less interest) at the end of 25 years. What better proof do you need that this is a poor insurance investment?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 9:17PM
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Insurance is to spread risk.

Insurance is NOT an investment.

Narrow policies make sense. I buy fire insurance and car insurance just to name a couple specific peril policies. The chance of my home burning down is slim but if it did the cost would be large, by spreading that risk across many people the insurance company can offer me "protection" from the risk. Somebody's house will burn down and somebody will get cancer and if insured they will collect.

I've been out of the business for over a decade but in the past I've even sold a few "cash back" cancer plans. Different treatments are used as triggers for increasing the payout. These measure how serious a particular case of cancer is. For some people cancer is a visit to the doctors office and they are "cured". For other people cancer is a fight for life that can go on for many years.

Sometimes a policy can cost more then it is worth, so shop around. I know AFLAC has cancer insurance and probably many others. Every state has a different insurance department so policies can differ from state to state.

The "cash back" portion is mostly for show. Many people cannot save money at all and are attracted to these features. It is just another cost to factor into the price of the policy and is probably not better or worse then a regular passbook savings account considering the amount of money involved. When I sold insurance, policies were available with and without that particular feature. As an agent I liked to sell the "cash back" policies because they were more expensive and thus my commission was larger.

In general, I don't like "cash back" insurance. Insurance is to cover risk and savings are to provide money later in life. If you are a "saver" then get a policy without the cash feature, if you can't save a dime then perhaps consider a cash value policy.

I sold a ton of both cash and non-cash cancer insurance and claims are being paid against some of those policies.

Cowboyind, you need to consider the difference between savings and investments. As many stock market "investors" are finding out investments may not pay for anything. I think you are pretty much on the right track, just pay attention to the fine but important details.

: )

    Bookmark   June 8, 2002 at 3:46PM
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This type of specific peril insurance IS a bad deal. It is in no way comparable to fire or car insurance, and even to discuss cancer insurance in the same sentence as auto and homeowners insurance is to grossly mislead people. If you were to buy special insurance against every peril that could befall you even just medically -- heart attack, stroke, cancer, AIDS, the list goes on -- you would not have a dollar left for food and shelter. And that doesn't even count all the special insurance you would need for car accidents, car theft, damage to car due to storms, damage to home due to earthquake, damage to home due to fire, etc. Homeowners and auto insurance are NOT special case insurance policies -- they are blanket policies that cover nearly all perils affecting either the car or the home.

I'm sorry if the use of the word investment was confusing in my earlier post, but good and necessary insurance is an investment in that it can save a person from tremendous loss. But, even considering your limited definition of the term, that's why I advised in my first post on this topic to put the money in U.S. Savings Bonds -- and then the person would have $24,000 at the end of 25 years instead of $10,000. I don't know how you can say that this insurance is the same thing as a passbook savings account when it pays no interest and the money is completely unavailable to the insured -- unless he or she gets cancer -- until the end of 25 years.

Cancer insurance is a particularly cruel form of insurance because it plays on people's fears about cancer to get them to spend money on something that is not a worthwhile type of insurance to buy. No one seems to sell heart attack insurance. There are two reasons for this: First, people are more scared of cancer than heart disease, even though heart disease is a far bigger killer. Second, there is too much chance that the insured actually WILL have a heart attack during the period covered by the insurance, so the companies selling these bad single peril policies do not want to touch it.

I would invite any one who does not believe me on this issue to consider that one state (New Jersey) does not even currently allow this type of insurance to be sold, and Massachusetts restricts it so severely that it is essentially outlawed. Consumers Union has called it a "bad insurance deal," and further points out that it can even be counter-productive in that many people buy cancer insurance when they don't have any other health insurance -- not even realizing that what it pays will be basically nothing next to the cost of treating a serious case of cancer.

The link below references an article with quotes from governmental authorities, Consumers Union, and others with knowledge about this form of insurance.


Here is a link that might be useful: Cancer Insurance Information Article

    Bookmark   June 8, 2002 at 9:30PM
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Cancer Insurance is not there to put money into your pocket when you retire. It is there for the sole purpose of protecting you and your family in the case of cancer. 1 out of 2 men will get prostate cancer, 1 out of 3 women will get breast cancer. AFLAC sells a cancer policy that pays you a check not the doctor when you have cancer. Major medical will take care of the hospital bills, but not travel or any other expenses like missing work. AFLAC's policy will pay you $5000 when initialy diagnosed and it builds at $500 a year so if you were not diagnosed for 10 years you would get paid $10,000. It pays you $300 for the first 30 days of hospitalization and then $600 a day after that. It pays $300 a day for chemo. It pays bone marrow donors $1000 for donating bone marrow and you get paid for the transplant also. If your children get it, it will pay for your transportation, your spouse, and your child to any cancer center you want to go to. You also get paid $75 a year per person to get a cancer screening. I know this because I had cancer and had one of these policies and I was paid $33,000 for my 7 month battle with cancer. The medical insurance paid all of the medical bills. AFLAC paid my other bills:groceries,water,utilities, house payment. I now work for them because of what it did for me.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2002 at 11:45AM
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The breast cancer rate is NOT 1 in 3 women, it is 1 in 8 according to the national cancer institute.

Here is a link that might be useful: National Cancer Institute

    Bookmark   September 11, 2002 at 1:04PM
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Suppose you get run over by a truck, die of a heart attack, get bitten badly by a neighbour's dog, get hit by a tree during a tornado, etc., etc. so that you die, say 24 years and 6 months down the road.

Total amount of premiums paid: Large.

Benefit from this insurance? 0.

Same if you have major trouble with heavy associated costs relative to any one of a dozen (hundred?) other types of illness. What benefit do you get from these people? 0.

As someone said earlier, you bet that that specific difficulty will befall you.

The insurance companies bet that it won't.

They have the actuaries: you don't.

Did you note the first three letters of their name?

Good wishes for a memorable summer (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere).

joyful guy

    Bookmark   August 28, 2003 at 12:54AM
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Also please note that Hospice does not charge for their services... (which is why donations are greatly appreciated).

    Bookmark   August 28, 2003 at 3:33PM
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If you have premium health insurance, your insurance will pay I would recommend spending the extra money beefing up your medical insurance....then you're covered for more than cancer.

My husband died after a two year battle with cancer. His medical, doctors, 3 surgeries, ambulance trips, radiation, chemo, physical therapy, hospice and ALL prescription drugs hit well over a million dollars.

Our medical insurance paid 100%.

Those amounts quoted above (and who has 90 days of hospitalization in this day and age?) are peanuts.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2003 at 3:58PM
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Sorry it took so long to get back here.

There seems to be some misunderstanding about "cancer insurance". It is NOT medical insurance. It offer finacial protection that is triggered by a cancer diagnosis. Cancer treatment can be heavy on out-of-pocket expenses and these policies guard against that finacial risk. Your major medical policy is to take care of the doctor bills.

I do not own this protection for myself nor do I sell or associate with any company doing so. To be even more clear... I would not recommend it to most people. It does however have a place for some people.

: )

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 2:13PM
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By the same logic, you could say that lottery tickets represent a valid form of investing -- for "some people." Some people do win, after all. Cancer insurance, like lottery tickets, amounts to a very poor way to spend money. Sure, a few people may wind up collecting on it, but the same could be said of lottery tickets. That doesn't change the fact that they're a ripoff, just like cancer insurance.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2003 at 10:10PM
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When you look at financial or insurance product, the question you should ask youself is not "is the product good?", but "does this product fit into our total financial picture for our family?".

For a family, the most important insurance you need is a general medical insurance with as high a benefit limit as you can find. Typically, 1 mil is not enough if there is a serious diagnosis.

If your medical insurance through work is not very good, I would look into getting a supplemental insurance first.

Then your life insurance and disability insurance. You need both if you have a family. Life insurance offered through employment is usually not enough. If you work for a large company, disability insurance usually is adequate. However, most small companies do not offer DI.

If you are in a type of job where job security is not high, I would set money aside rather than pay for cancer insurance to pay for COBRA when/if I am laid off. This will make sure you have as extended medical coverage as possible. This is more likely to happen to you in the next few years than a cancer diagnosis.

Disability insurance is very generalized. It does not matter why you are diabled. In case of cancer insurance, it is a cancer diagnosis. If you have stroke/heart disease/diabetes, it does not pay. Statistically, you are more likely to die of these diseases than cancer.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 2:45PM
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You folks that are telling people not to get cancer insurance, are you going to pay their bills if they get cancer?

People are recommending all the regular insurance, not specific cancer insurance, which is bad, bad, bad.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 12:00PM
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Sure I can... it's called the American Cancer Society. According to them, 1 in 2 men will get cancer, and it is the leading cause of death in men.

The ACS site says it is #2.
See link below.

And the CDC disagrees with your #1 claim too!

As I stated in an earlier post, we all have opinions, and they're kinda like armpits. Everyone's got one or two, and most of them stink.

I deal with facts, as does DH, who is a oncology physicist.

I'm 29, and my wife is 26 years old and we are personally about to benefit greatly from the very insurance that I sell. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Ummm... no thanks! That would be unwise, or are you drumming up business?

Here is a link that might be useful: ACS: What is Cancer?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 1:47PM
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There are many different ways of looking at epidemiology. Statiscally, you are more likely to die of something other than cancer. (all other death rate% = 100% - cancer death%) Since all other causes combined is greater than 50%, you are more likely to die of something other than cancer.... In a narrow segment of population, age of death 34-54, cancer is the leading cause, however. As we age, you are more likely to die of cardivascular disease.

Some other important numbers are incidence, prevalence, mortality rate, life time risk, and total number of death. These all have very specific meanings which I will not go into.

Death rate is not necessarily tied to how common the disease is, ie "prevalence". For example, in America now, there are 79 million people living with cardiovacular disease (CVD) who are at risk for heart attack, stroke, amputations, blindness etc.

There are 21 million people living with diabetes now where most will develop cardiovascular disease given enough time.

There are 10 million people living with the diagnosis of cancer where all cancers diagnosis are combined; breast, lung, colon and prostate are the most common.

The high death rate of cancer is reflective of many cancers where the diagnosis is followed by high mortality rate within 1 to 5 years, ie lung cancer, pancreatic cancer. On the other hand, someone with the diagnosis of diabetes most likely will NOT die of diabetes. The leading causes of death in a diabetic is heart disease, stroke or renal failure, not diabetes!

This insurance pays at the time of cancer diagnosis. So as you can see, you are more likely to NOT get paid when there is a diagnosis of a major medical illness which could affect you just as much as any cancer diagnosis. Stroke, heart attack, MS, diabetes etc etc.

This is all very confounded by the fact a person can have multiple diagnosis, cancer and diabetes.....

Good luck in sorting all this out. Personally, I would not get it. However, the premium is extremely cheap. If the premium does not make any difference to you and is fixed, and you have all other more important insurances taken care of, and it will give you restful sleep, why not. Think of it as a cup of coffee a day!

However, don't just believe the numbers that a person gives you. Go check it out and make sense out of the numbers.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 1:01AM
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All this is well and good, but I noticed in the OP's description of the insurance being offered that skin cancer was specifically *excluded.* So, the guy in the example above would still have died penniless. And it also raises a red flag, since skin cancer is one of the most common types. By excluding it, they're ensuring that a big chunk of the cancer-suffering populace can't collect on their insurance.

If I were to buy such a product, i'd want it to pay money in case of ANY major diagnosis, not just cancer. Otherwise, I'd have to buy heart disease and alzheimer's and who-knows-what insurance too.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 4:47PM
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Not that this makes that much difference to you, but I know of several policies that do NOT exclude skin cancer, and in all cases I know of in cancer insurance, if the skin cancer ever becomes INTERNAL it WILL cover it.

Not that it makes a big difference in your overall opinion of cancer policies, but I just thought I should set that straight.

Minor cases of skin cancer don't usually have a big toll on someone financially, that's why many of them don't cover skin cancers until they become internal... but, once they do, they (at least ours) pays alot.

So no, most companies aren't leaving people out of collecting on their coverage when they need it most.

I don't know why I even am trying to change closed-people's minds about this... There are a lot of people who purchase and benefit greatly from these policies from different companies, and if you don't agree with it, that's your opinion... I just hope you don't ever have to wish that you had the coverage.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 9:38PM
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I don't know why I even am trying to change closed-people's minds about this... There are a lot of people who purchase and benefit greatly from these policies from different companies, and if you don't agree with it, that's your opinion... I just hope you don't ever have to wish that you had the coverage.

Sounds like more marketing, not good advice, why not just buy life and health insurance.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 12:00PM
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I am not closed-minded... just practical. The money would be better spent on good health insurance.

How about this - Consumer Reports "10 insurance policies you don't need"....

10 insurance policies you don't need

If you're like most people, you don't relish spending money on insurance. Sure, you need it, but it's not bright and shiny, you can't drive it, and no one is going to admire it. So it's all the more galling when you find out you've purchased insurance that you don't need. âÂÂFear sells a lot of insurance,â says Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit consumer-advocacy group of which Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is a founding member. âÂÂA good rule of thumb is to purchase insurance only from an insurance provider. And buy policies that are comprehensive.âÂÂ

Insurance should cover catastrophic losses that you'd be hard-pressed to cover on your own. So what do you need? A term-life policy to cover your contribution to the family's expenses; a comprehensive health policy (or membership in a managed-care plan); disability coverage to provide income when you can't work; and homeowners and auto insurance to replace lost property. If you've got those, you don't need the following 10 policies.

...skip down to #5...

Cancer insurance. Marketed by specialty-insurance companies, these plans supplement health insurance for cancer-care costs. Annual premiums range from $200 to $3,000. Despite their high cost, the policies may not cover outpatient care. Instead: Chances are that your existing health insurance already covers cancer expenses, so forget about it.

Here is a link that might be useful: 10 insurance policies you don't need

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 12:06PM
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Just my opinions:

Folks, everybody dies. It isn't like you can insure against death. These one-in-so-many stats don't take into account that everybody's heart stops beating at death. The MD reports "Cause of Death": heart failure.

It's important to look at age groupings. When someone says one in eight women dies of breast cancer, ask IN WHAT AGE GROUPING? And, what other health problems contributed?

An individual's genes and lifestyle both contribut to determine length of life. Propensity for cancers and circulatory problems can be indicated by our genes, but obesity, smoking, unprotected sex, etc. are also contributors.

As far as I know MOST men, if they live long enough, develop prostate cancer. Mostly they die of old age, though. Whoops! They die of "heart failure".

Would one of the medically trained posters please correct errors in "what I think I know"? LOL

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 2:12PM
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cmarlin20... I love how you accuse me of marketing on here. That's not what I'm trying to do. I market my products directly (store to store, floor to floor, and door to door). Internet marketing is a waste of time in my type of sales, so quit making accusations.

I'm simply trying to provide an alternative view to your side. If you don't agree with me, that's fine. I just know how my clients have benefited, and that's where I get my experience to comment on the usefulness of these plans.

I'm not doing it to market. Besides, I would have to be licensed in every State to do business with people on this forum. I'm just providing info.

Like I said, we won't agree, and I can live with that. I think you're absolutely wrong, and you think I'm absolutely wrong. In your situation, I hope you're right. Take care, best wishes, and God bless.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 7:45PM
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This cancer insurance is a scam. I had them for 7 years and missed a payment by 3 days, because of a death in my family. They canceled my policy and will only reinstate it if I reapply. They need medical records. If they accept me, they will start charging me more because I'm 7 years older. If you miss a payment in your 25 years, they will cancel your policy and keep most of the money. What if u lose your job... this might be one of the things that don't get paid. They are not your friend... they will not work with you, but very much want to take your money. If you drop dead before the 25 years is up... guess what... they keep all the money. Now, if you get cancer, the payout is very small and varies per type of cancer. example, they pay on skin cancer one time only and it's equal to about a half year's premium. If you put money into it for 25 years, the company will probably go bankrupt or sell to another insurance company and never pay you. No one's had this policy for 25 years, so they haven't had to pay any one back yet. Also if you paid them 10K over 25 years and got 4K back in annual PSA tests and claims, then when 25 years is up, they only pay you the remainder, 6k.
You are much better off not buying this insurance. Put this money in a bank or invest it. You get the interest and get all the money if you can't fund your bank account after 7 years or whenever. Change your diet, exercise and minimize your risk to cancer.
Even if your a compulsive smoker. work in an asbestos factory and drink out of styrofoam cups... Don't get this policy, they payout is not worth the premiums. This insurance company is all about screwing you out of your money.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 11:03PM
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Cancer insurance is like flight trip insurance. A rip-off. Don't go for it. Cancer is not the number one killer. Heart disease is. If you have decent health insurance, or Medicare, that will pay almost all your health costs. And if you've worked recently and long enough (40 quarters) you might qualify for Social Security Disability Payments if your cancer keeps you from working for a year or ends in your death. Don't waste your money on cancer insurance!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 8:42AM
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I would have to disagree with the post that included
"Scam beware Cancer Insurance Family Heritage"...
"This cancer insurance is a scam."..."...You are much better off not buying this insurance. Put this money in a bank or invest it. You get the interest and get all the money if you can't fund your bank account after 7 years or whenever. Change your diet, exercise and minimize your risk to cancer.
Even if your a compulsive smoker. work in an asbestos factory and drink out of styrofoam cups... Don't get this policy, they payout is not worth the premiums. This insurance company is all about screwing you out of your money."

My mother in law who has always been pretty healthy (or so we thought), began her policy with Family Heritage in Oct 2010. She was over age 55 so her premiums were kind of high (I thought). With the highest paying cancer coverage, her monthly premium was $108/month. On Dec 17, 2010, she was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer (stage IV) with metastisis. She passed away Oct 27, 2011. From December 2010 to May 2011, she had already received over $30,000 in payments from Family Heritage, and we are awaiting the final payment for the May through Oct (expecting atleast another $17,000). If you are at risk for cancer, it is a good idea! And I know that $47,000 is not much considering the bills for chemo, hospital stays, icu, doctors, etc; but, if you are lucky -as my mother in law was- you will have very good health insurance that covers all of those bills except for office co-pays after your deductible has been met each year. So all of that was hers.
Also, if a person dies within the 25 years, the beneficiary receives the life insurance that goes with the policy. So if you pay on it 5 years, don't use it, then pass away, the beneficiary gets the life insurance. However, as in the case of my mother in law, since they paid her well more than the life insurance, her beneficiary did not receive the life insurance. Also, if she had been paid $3,000 from the company, the life insurance amount would have been reduced by the amount paid out. For example: 15,000 life ins -3,000 cancer ins paid to insured= 12,000 life ins payout to beneficiary.
Not everyones going to have the same situation (otherwise they would go bankrupt), but I do know that this is what she benefited from her policy and her kids did as well. We got a policy for ourselves as well!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:29AM
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I have a Conseco Cancer policy purchased in March of 1974. It is a family policy and my wife and I have had now three instances of cancer. The total paid to us in benefits has been $550. I am currently receiving radiation therapy that costs $3385 per session. There are 5 sessions per week for a total of 43 sessions and there are special charges for the design of the treatment and the use of a CT scanner that does not belong to the host facility. In addition I travel 68 miles round trip for each treatment.

I was able to get funding of $100 toward travel expenses from the American Cancer Society. When I called Conseco, which is now owned and serviced by Washington National, I was told I never submitted a claim for the first diagnosis in 2005, and subsequent surgery early in 2006. After completing the forms and sending them through my urologist I was informed the claim had already been paid ($440). Now I have the cancer back. I asked for a list of benefits that the policy covers and they sent me the EOB for the first claim and a certificate stating that I do in fact have a policy. Along with the certificate they offered to send me the list of benefits at the cost of $25.

Medicare and a BC/BS Supplement have so far paid for all but the travel expenses and the CT scanner.

What do you think I would say about this being a good idea?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 5:25PM
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Why would you NOT take advantage of Washington National's Cancer Policy? It has great daily benefits,you're premium never increases, and you're guaranteed 100% return of premium, EVEN IF you need to use the policy?? Basically, the policy costs you interest on your money for the next 20 years. Seems like a no brainer to me.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:07PM
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