Many employers offer critical illness insurance as part of their benefit package. What is this insurance and is it worth purchasing? Before paying for a plan, you should read the fine print and consider alternatives.
While a regular health insurance plan usually offers comprehensive coverage for all types of illnesses, many plans have high deductibles and copays that require policyholders to pay a lot of money out of pocket. Critical illness insurance allows you to buy insurance to cover that gap if you have a serious health diagnosis, such as cancer or a heart attack. Critical illness insurance may also cover non-medical expenses, such as mortgage or child-care bills.
Premiums for critical illness insurance policies are relatively low, which makes the coverage appealing. The policies usually pay out in a lump sum, with the amount depending on the policy purchased. There are different types of critical illness insurance policies: some cover only one illness, like cancer, while others offer coverage of a number of different illnesses. The more coverage offered, the higher the premiums.
Before purchasing one of these policies, however, you need to consider the downsides. Reading the fine print on the policy is very important because the policy will only cover certain illnesses, and actual coverage may depend on the severity of those illnesses. For example, even though the policy says it covers cancer, it may only cover aggressive cancer and not a more slow-moving cancer. In addition, critical illness insurance doesn’t offer the same protections that regular health insurance offers under the Affordable Care Act, so you can be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. Critical illness insurance premiums also tend to rise as you get older, and you could be denied coverage once you reach a certain age.
Instead of critical illness insurance, you can consider alternatives. Look at your health insurance to see exactly what it will cover. In addition, a health savings plan in which you contribute pre-tax dollars can be a good way to cover unexpected medical expenses. Disability insurance can also offer protection for lost salary due to illness.
For more information about critical illness insurance, click here.
*This article is provided for persons interested in elder law issues in Virginia and across the United States. This article has been written by a practitioner in the field of elder law, but unless otherwise noted, the writer is not affiliated with ThompsonMcMullan, P.C. Nothing in the newsletter or the articles is, or is intended to be, legal advice or a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal advice of any kind, please consult an attorney with experience in that area of the law, whether in our firm, or otherwise.