While “healthy” people are paying around £37, on average, for travel insurance, many former cancer patients are having to fork out more than £1,000 because outdated holiday insurance policies still view the disease as a “death sentence”, a charity has said.
According to Macmillan Cancer Support, some cancer patients are even refused insurance altogether, forcing many to forgo their holiday plans
Despite the fact it is predicted that by 2020, one in every two people will get cancer at some point in their lives, some travel insurance prices and policies, Macmillan said, treat the disease as though it only affects a small number of people.
In fact, cancer patients are now twice as likely to survive at least 10 years following diagnosis than they were at the start of the 1970s, Macmillan said, as it called upon the insurance industry to ensure cancer patients are not priced out of the market.
Extrapolating figures from the survey of more than 2,000 individuals who have had cancer – which was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Macmillan – the cancer charity estimated that 8,500 British holidaymakers who applied for holiday insurance were unsuccessful in securing cover, despite the fact their cancer diagnoses were more than 10 years ago.
Furthermore, approximately 7,500 Britons who managed to secure cover had to pay in excess of £1,000 to do so.
On average, people with cancer are paying £133 for holiday insurance – four times the average price of an annual travel policy for the general public (£37).
‘Give people with cancer a break’
Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said those with cancer found securing suitable insurance cover “can turn a dream holiday into a nightmare”.
She added that Macmillan hear every day about a cancer patient who is eagerly anticipating a holiday to celebrate the end of their treatment, only to discover they cannot secure suitable travel insurance.
“It’s not good enough that they are being denied travel insurance or charged sky-high prices. Even those who were diagnosed a decade ago are being written off as ‘uncoverable’”, she said.
Macmillan wants insurance providers to “give people with cancer a break” and ensure policies are fairly priced across the board.
In response to the charity’s findings, the Association of British Insurers said: “Travel insurers pay out more on medical expenses than any other claim.
“It is common for those with serious pre-existing conditions like cancer to pay more as the costs of treatment are often significantly higher”.
The Macmillan study comes just weeks after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched a formal call for evidence about the problems faced by people with cancer when buying holiday insurance.
The regulator has asked travel insurance providers to participate in the industry-wide review, saying it was now a “critical time” to explore the issue.
The research from Macmillan is saddening, but nevertheless highlights the importance of using an independent intermediary such as ourselves. We review the market on our clients’ behalf to help them purchase the right product at the right price.
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