The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2020, 1.8 million people would receive a cancer diagnosis in the United States and approximately 606,520 Americans would die from a cancer-related illness. If you are one of the millions of people who receive this diagnosis, the last thing you want to do is think about the cost.
Cancer insurance provides financial protection for those who are diagnosed with cancer and can help with both medical and non-medical expenses. Since not all plans are created equal, we evaluated 15 cancer insurance companies to find you the best.
While we did attempt to provide a price quote for each policy, we had difficulty getting quotes in some cases and notated as such when this occurred. Our best cancer providers review looks at each option based on price (if available), coverage, claims ease, and more.
7 Best Cancer Insurance Providers
Best Overall: Mutual of Omaha
Policies also cover heart attack and stroke
Pays 14 cash benefits, including preventative screening costs
Provides coverage for ages 18 to 89
Only offers lump sum policies for critical illness coverage
Products are not available in all states
Mutual of Omaha is well known in the insurance industry, having been in business since 1909. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company combines its cancer and critical illness coverage, so in addition to cancer coverage, you are also covered for illnesses such as heart attack or stroke.
Policies are available for people aged 18 to 89 and benefit amounts, which are paid in a lump sum, range from $10,000 to $100,000. The company offers policy terms of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years, along with a lifetime coverage policy. Policies also provide benefits for things like preventive screenings, hospice care, and ambulatory transportation.
AM Best Rating: A+
Why We Chose It: When it comes to purchasing cancer insurance, we selected Mutual of Omaha as our best overall because it not only provides more coverage for the cost than some of the others, but it also provides things like preventive screenings, a selection of benefits ranges (which can help lower cost), and the ability to keep your policy until age 89.
Runner Up, Best Overall: Aflac
Provides fast payment for individual claims through “One Day Pay” processing when submitted through Aflac SmartClaim
Covers experimental treatments
Pays an initial diagnosis benefit
Customer representatives will not tell you what a policy covers unless you sign up for one. However, you may be able to find a summary document by searching online
May exclude pre-existing conditions that occurred within the past 10 years
Aflac is based in Columbus, Georgia, and is one of the most well-known supplemental insurance companies, due in large part to its ad campaigns, which often feature the Aflac duck. Benefits and coverage options vary by state and there is a 30-day waiting period.
The Aflac cancer policy covers a wide range of benefits to both individuals and through employers, including reconstructive surgery, second surgical opinion, and home health care. Options include either a lump-sum payout or payments over time. Policies are age limited. Obtain a quote online to see prices.
AM Best Rating: A+
Why We Chose It: Although Aflac provides a lot of the same benefits Mutual of Omaha does at about the same price, Mutual of Omaha has a slight edge over Aflac because the company allows you to remain a policyholder until age 89, while Aflac only provides coverage through a younger age.
Best Value: Cigna
Gives you the ability to select a benefit amount from $5,000 to $100,000
No restrictions on how you use your benefits (you can use them to help with your medical costs, pay your house payment, or even buy groceries)
Easy to receive a quote online
30-day waiting period
Once you reach age 65, coverage will be reduced by 50%
Benefits are only payable for the first 30 days for any one period you’re confined to a hospital
Cigna is a well-established insurance company that was founded back in 1792 and is known for its health and dental benefits in the United States. The company's headquarters are located in Bloomington, Connecticut. Cigna offers both a comprehensive coverage cancer policy and a lump-sum benefit payment plan with up to $100,000 in coverage.
Individual and family coverage is available for people aged 18 to 99 and does provide coverage if your cancer reoccurs. There is a 30-day waiting period and policies do not cover pre-existing conditions during the first 12 months of the policy. Cigna cancer policies are not available in all states.
AM Best Rating: A
Why We Chose It: When we compared Cigna against the competition, we found that while it did not seem to offer the same coverage as our top two picks, it did provide a better value than most of the other companies we reviewed. This is due to both the monthly price and benefits offered, as well as the longer period of time the company allows for continued coverage.
Most Comprehensive Coverage: Physicians Mutual
You can decide whether benefits are paid to you or your provider
Easy to apply for coverage
Pays cash benefits in addition to other coverage that you have
Coverage is not available in all states
Does not cover pre-existing conditions if they occur during the first two-year period after the effective date of coverage
Physicians Mutual was established in 1902 and its headquarters are located in Omaha, Nebraska. The company provides insurance products for both individuals and small business employees. You will need to apply for coverage with your specific health history to obtain a quote.
Benefits are capped at $2,000 per calendar month and limited to $16,000 per year for covered treatments plus a one-time first diagnosis limit up to $10,000 upon learning you have cancer. Coverage includes preventive care screening, a daily hospital room benefit, ground or air ambulance transportation, inpatient doctor visits, inpatient prescription drugs, mastectomies, hysterectomies and biopsies, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone or immunotherapy drugs, and experimental treatments, as well as lodging, airfare, and transportation benefits.
There is a 30-day waiting period for coverage.
AM Best Rating: A
Why We Chose It: We like that in addition to providing a lot of comprehensive coverage for medical treatment, policies also provide cash benefits for out-of-hospital costs related to cancer treatments such as lodging and airfare.
Best for Employees Benefits Program: MetLife
Coverage starts immediately
No physical exam
Keep your policy if you leave the job
Only available through employer
There is a benefit suspension period between recurrences
Health screening is not available in all states
MetLife serves more than 90 of the top 100 companies on the Fortune 500. It operates in 40 global markets. Its headquarters are located in New York City and the company was founded in 1868. MetLife cancer policies are only available through employer benefit programs and, as such, you must have an employer’s plan to receive a quote. Do note that this policy is portable; if you leave your employer for any reason, you have the option to continue coverage.
Coverage is provided in a lump-sum payment (up to $30,000 for initial diagnosis) and you can use it for annual health screenings, cancer recurrence, treatment, hospitalization and more. Payments are made directly to you and you can use them however you wish. There is no waiting period for coverage to begin and there is no medical exam. The only requirement for coverage is that you are actively working.
AM Best Rating: A+
Why We Chose It: We like that coverage starts immediately and there is no physical exam when applying. We also like that if you change jobs, you can take your employee coverage with you.
Best for Individuals: United Healthcare
Benefits are paid upon first diagnosis as a lump sum payment
Policy also covers other serious illnesses such as heart attacks, organ transplants, coma, strokes, and more
Only pays 10% if diagnosed within 30 to 90 days after effective date
First diagnosis must be made at least 30 days after your effective date
Applicant must be 18 to 59 at time of application
UnitedHealthcare was created in 1977 and its headquarters are located in Minnetonka, Minnesota. It is considered one of the largest healthcare organizations in the world and plans are available nationwide. UnitedHealthcare offers critical care/cancer policies with maximum lifetime benefit amounts ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.
Critical care policies start at affordable rates and are underwritten by the Golden Rule Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the UnitedHealth Group. The policy only remains in force until the next due date following the primary benefit holder's 70th birthday. You can quickly get a quote online.
AM Best Rating: A-
Why We Chose It: UnitedHealthcare is our best choice for individuals because in addition to covering cancer, the company’s critical care policy applies to additional ailments such as heart attacks, loss of hearing, loss of speech, loss of vision, major organ transplants, and more.
Best for Low Monthly Premium: American Fidelity
A low monthly cost makes this an affordable option for those who simply want peace of mind
You could receive your benefit for eligible claims in as little as one day when you’re enrolled in direct deposit (AFQuickClaims)
Helps with indirect costs of cancer treatment (babysitters, meals away from home, travel expenses)
Benefits are reduced by 50% after the age of 70
Only available through an employer
Maximum benefit payout is $2,500 to $10,000
The American Fidelity Assurance Company was founded in 1960 and its headquarters are located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The company provides low-cost limited benefit cancer insurance to employees and their families.
Although its critical care policy has a $10,000 maximum benefit payout, it is an affordable, low-cost option that could offset costs resulting from a high deductible health insurance policy.
There is a 30-day waiting period and benefits are not payable for any loss incurred during the first year of this policy as a result of a pre-existing condition within 12 months prior to the effective date. Benefits are reduced by 50% after age 70.
AM Best Rating: A+
Why We Chose It: We chose American Fidelity as the best company for a low premium because it provides coverage that starts at a very low price. Even at age 61, you can still get coverage at an affordable rate.
What Is Cancer Insurance?
Cancer insurance is a type of supplemental health insurance designed to help with unexpected expenses if you receive a cancer diagnosis. This financial support is typically used as a way to help with some of the medical costs that are not covered under your regular health insurance plan and may also assist with other expenses while you are receiving treatment, such as your mortgage and utilities.
What Does Cancer Insurance Typically Include?
Each policy is different, but they typically include coverage for wellness screenings (mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies) and cover some of the costs associated with cancer treatment. As an example, it may pay your co-payments for treatment, cover some or all of your lost wages, or provide additional coverage once you have reached the maximum benefits of your regular health care insurance.
What Are the Expected Costs of Cancer Insurance?
Costs vary depending on the type of coverage a company provides, as well as your age when you purchase the policy. The older you are, the higher the premium.
On average, you should expect to pay $20 per month ($240 per year) in your 30s, $40 per month ($480 per year) in your 40s, and substantially higher rates as you reach your 50s ($60 per month or $720 per year) and even more in 60s ($90 per month or $1,080 per year) and beyond, since the odds of you receiving a cancer diagnosis increase as you get older.
Is Paying for Cancer Insurance Worth It?
The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship states that among the U.S. population, medical expenditures for cancer in 2020 were projected to reach at least $158 billion. With this in mind, if your health insurance policy has a high deductible and you are looking at a lot of out-of-pocket costs, or if there is a history of cancer in your family, a cancer insurance policy could help ease the blow financially if you were to receive a diagnosis.
What Is the Claims Process Like?
Most of the insurance companies we reviewed advertise that making a claim on a covered diagnosis or treatment is as simple as filling out a form online and sending it in. Companies such as Aflac and American Fidelity state that you can even receive your money on the same day you make the claim through direct deposit.
The keyword here, however, to watch for is the word “covered.” It is extremely important that you understand the conditions and limitations of your policy because this will determine whether or not your claim is paid in a timely manner or if it will get paid at all.
How We Chose the Best Cancer Insurance Providers
We evaluated 15 insurance companies before choosing our list of the best. Some of the criteria we used to make our determination included length of time the company was in business, what each insurance company offered, and how it rated among its peers.
In addition, we looked at the ease of getting the information, such as policy cost, what is covered, and how each company treats pre-existing conditions and wait times. Finally, we looked at how easy (or hard) it was to get our questions answered so that we could get you the information that we feel you need to know.
American Cancer Society. "Cancer Facts & Figures 2020." Accessed December 14, 2020.
AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries." Accessed Dec. 27, 2020.
AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Aflac Incorporated and Its Subsidiaries." Accessed Dec. 27, 2020.
AM Best. "AM Best Assigns Credit Ratings to CIGNA Global Insurance Company Limited." Accessed Dec. 27, 2020.
Physicians Mutual. "Financial Strength." Accessed Dec. 27, 2020.
AM Best. "MetLife Ratings Supplement." Accessed Dec. 27, 2020.
AM Best. "AM Best Revises Outlooks to Positive for UnitedHealth Group Incorporated and Its UnitedHealthcare Subsidiaries." Accessed Dec. 27, 2020.
AM Best. "A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of American Fidelity Assurance Co. and Upgrades Credit Ratings of American Public Life Ins. Co." Accessed Dec. 27, 2020.
National Institutes of Health. "Cancer costs projected to reach at least $158 billion in 2020." Accessed Dec. 27, 2020.