Written by FLAVIA MPAGI
Unfortunately, for the fortunate few with medical insurance, this will not help in these situations.
Medical insurance usually excludes cover for life-threatening illnesses like cancers, especially if it is pre-existing condition. However, if you are diagnosed with the disease while you have medical insurance, your relief will be short-lived, as medical insurance always offers a financial limit for each person. Given the cost of treating these diseases, limits are soon exceeded.
There is no relief from life insurance cover either, where benefits only accrue upon death. Even when one’s health deteriorates, your cover does not allow for payments to be made. Life-threatening illnesses are termed as ‘critical illnesses’ by insurers and an insurance policy is designed specifically to cater for such diseases.
This is called the critical illness policy. It will pay a lump sum on
bLife Insurance/b – Women Furious Over Insurer Gene Testing | YodZiaN b.../b
Thousands of women with family histories of breast and ovarian cancer could pay higher insurance premiums or even be denied cover altogether under new proposals from the insurance industry.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is expected to lodge an application for permission for its members to ask women whether they have been tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.
The faulty BRCA genes are responsible for about five per cent of the 41,700 new cases of breast cancer and 10 per cent of ovarian cancers diagnosed in Britain each year.
If the insurers are granted permission by the Genetics and Insurance Committee (the organisation that advises the Government on the issue), women who have tested positive could be forced to pay higher premiums. Some companies may even refuse high value life or critical illness insurance.
A notice published on the GIC?s website said, ?The Committee expects that the Association of British Insurers will submit in late 2006/2007 four revised and updated applications for the use of adverse results from predictive genetic tests of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (breast/ovarian cancer) in helping to determine insurance premiums for life and critical illness insurance.?
At present, the only predictive genetic test the committee has allowed insurance companies to ask about is for Huntington’s Disease. This is because of the lack of environmental influences on its development.
However, across Europe, several countries have banned insurers from using genetic tests to decide premiums. Also, in 2005, a voluntary agreement to avoid using such tests by British insurance companies was extended until 2011.
Under this agreement, insurers can ask potential customers only about genetic testing results for Huntington’s Disease. However, they can only ask for the information for policies that are worth more than ?500,000 for life insurance, more than ?300,000 for critical illness and more than ?30,000 a year for payment protection.