GPs here in the UK have largely met news that one of the country’s leading health insurance policy providers have rolled out dedicated cancer cover with dismay, going as far as to suggest that such bespoke provisions serve only to exploit the inherent fears in many of us.
The opinion-polarising health insurance product recently launched by Aviva is said to pay-out what’s referred to as a £5,000 bonus if and when a policyholder is diagnosed with cancer, and counters claims that it’s praying on people’s emotions by citing research findings which stress that the nations’ fears about getting cancer outweigh those of any other illness they dread receiving confirmation of suffering from.
Be that as it may, this hasn’t stopped doctors slamming this unique policy, which according to reports also hands those policyholders who do receive the diagnosis that nobody wishes to hear with a sum of £100,000 towards the funding of cancer drugs which aren’t provided on the NHS.
One of the voices of discontent amongst health practitioners is that of one of the UK’s most prominent cancer specialists, Dr Clive Peedell, who as he sees such revelations believes that such a product ‘preys on the fears of the public’. What’s more, both Peedell (who also happens to be the co-leader of the National Health Action Party) and his NHS colleagues feel that if the health service remains under-funded and the NHS fail to keep pace with new treatments due to a fiscal disadvantage – then this will give large health insurance providers the green light to cash in on this shortfall in the future and, as he puts it, have a ‘field day’.
Fear Factor of Protecting Ourselves against Cancer Will Fuel Interest in Illness-specific Health insurance Policies Going Forward, Say Leading Medics
Aviva’s new standalone health insurance product, entitled ‘Cancer Essentials’ is set to be made available to anyone aged between 18 – 70-years who have not previously been diagnosed with cancer; a disease which in its various forms is predicted to directly affect every 1 in 2 people born after 1960 according to separate studies on the subject. With premiums starting from less than £2 per month the objective behind this cancer-specific policy is to appeal to those who either don’t require (or indeed, simply can’t afford) full private medical insurance cover, with Aviva promising further selective and illness-specific health policies (included the mooted dementia and stroke products which follow the same pattern) unveiled later this year. The perceived usp to such defined policies is that they differ from existing critical illness examples which tend to spread themselves over a number of different critical illnesses simultaneously, whilst these disease-specific versions would focus solely on the chronic illness in hand. For the record, the most common claim on a critical illness policy is in relation to cancer.
Returning to what Dr Peedell had to say on the topic, and the member of the British Medical Association’s council (a section which represents the views and beliefs of some 150,000 GPs) reiterates the point he made at the top, by implying that the potential inability to be granted access to the very latest cancer-specific drugs and treatments on the market due to NHS cut-backs and budget constraints will lead people to opt for health insurance policies of this more cynical nature in the near future. Worried that the general public will feel coerced in to making such knee-jerk decisions against their better judgement, Peedell concludes; “Cancer treatment is better than ever, but unless we get a grip on NHS finances, the wheels will come off. And it will be a field day for the health insurance industry.”