Cancer rates are increasing worldwide – you probably know someone suffering from cancer or you may be a cancer patient or survivor yourself. The World Cancer Research Fund has reported that, in 2018 alone, there were 17,036,901 new cases of cancer reported globally. That said, being diagnosed doesn’t mean you can’t travel anymore. Indeed, sometimes travelling is required to receive a particular treatment abroad; at other times, a recently recovered patient might want to fulfil their dreams of seeing more of the world. We asked the team at Pacific Prime Singapore to tell us more about the all-important insurance options.
International Private Medical Insurance
International private medical insurance plans are able to cover you virtually anywhere in the world (US exclusions may apply). This means that if you develop any form of cancer during your current policy, costs related to cancer treatment will be covered up to the policy limit – whether you decide to seek treatment in Singapore or elsewhere.
If you’re already diagnosed with cancer and are starting to look for insurance coverage, you’ll likely have a tough time finding one as your condition will be treated as pre-existing. It’ll probably be excluded from the plan or you’ll have to pay a heavy loading.
Some international health insurance plans allow you to have cancer treatment abroad. If you live in Singapore, where medical treatment is on the high side, your insurer might suggest that you go abroad for surgery or other necessary cancer treatments if they’re too expensive locally, and may even be willing to cover your travel costs.
Or, it might also be the case that your policy limit is shrinking fast and you don’t wish to pay anything out of your own pocket for cancer treatment – and you’ve found cheaper options elsewhere. With the right international private medical insurance plan, you can have the freedom to travel to another country for medical care.
How about travel insurance?
This will cover you for any medical emergencies, but you’ll notice that virtually all policies exclude pre-existing conditions, including any form of cancer. As travel policies are often short-term, their coverage limits are also quite low compared to international health insurance. They’ll likely not be sufficient to cover any major treatments and surgeries. International health insurance is therefore the best choice for expats.
Other things to consider: vaccinations, medication and doctors’ letters
Being a diagnosed cancer patient or someone in remission makes travelling a bit more tricky. Advanced planning is required because, depending on your destination, you might need certain vaccinations. Due to the nature of cancer treatment, you mightn’t be able to receive these immediately, leading to your trip getting postponed.
The first step of planning a trip is therefore consulting your doctor. If you’re still taking medication, you’ll need a special medical note stating the type of drugs you’re taking with you abroad and your specific type of cancer. You should also do some research as to whether the country you’re travelling to has rules against bringing in or transiting with the medication that you need. Just to be sure, consider bringing with you an additional signed prescription as a backup and only purchasing medication from licensed pharmacies overseas.
What insurance coverage should I get?
It’s recommended to get an international health insurance plan, as they offer the most comprehensive coverage and allow diagnosed patients to travel around the world for treatment. In addition to international health insurance, also consider getting critical illness insurance earlier on and before cancer strikes. Critical illness policies offer a lump sum cash payment in the event that the policyholder is diagnosed with a predetermined illness in the policy.
Read more in our Health & Fitness section!