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Accessing insurance during your child’s cancer treatment

Some insurances can be helpful in covering the cost of treatment or living expenses. This information covers accessing health insurance, income protection, trauma insurance, and travel insurance.

Some insurances can be helpful in covering the cost of treatment or living expenses. This information covers accessing health insurance, income protection, trauma insurance, and travel insurance.

You may have insurance that you don’t even know about. Did you know that some industry superannuation funds automatically sign up their clients to certain insurances?

In fact, according to ASIC, super funds typically have three types of insurance for members:

  • Life insurance – pays a benefit to your beneficiaries when you die, either as a lump sum or as an income stream
  • Total and permanent disability (TPD) cover – pays you a benefit if you become seriously disabled and are unlikely to ever work again
  • Income protection (IP) cover – pays you an income stream for a specified period if you can’t work due to temporary disability or illness

You can check your insurance policy by contacting your super fund and filling out a claim form where you will probably be asked for supporting evidence or documentation.

If you’re a parent of a child with cancer, and they’re listed on your health insurance policy, advise your fund as soon as possible after that diagnosis and ask how they can help.

If you buy health insurance after you have been diagnosed with cancer they will most likely impose a waiting period for a pre-existing illness, but once this period has passed, you can make a claim. You may also want to compare cover between health funds. www.privatehealth.gov.au is a good place to compare health insurers and answer questions about private health insurance.

Income protection insurance is a monthly payment of up to 75% of your income. If you’re a young person who has income protection insurance, it covers you for accidents, illnesses or major traumas. Some super funds and life insurance policies include income protection insurance, so it’s a good idea to check even if you don’t think you’re covered.

After a waiting period, income protection insurance pays you up until you return to work. If you can’t return to work, it can pay up until the retirement age of 65 (depending on your occupation and the benefit period for your policy).

Income protection insurance is tax deductible. It’s designed to make sure you can continue to meet your day-to-day expenses until you return to work. It is especially suitable for self-employed people, small business owners or professionals whose business relies heavily on their ability to work.

To access  income protection insurance you’ll need to apply to the insurance company or super fund directly. Our support team can also help you with this. Contact us on 1800 REDKITE (1800 733 548) or support@redkite.org.au.

Trauma insurance pays a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a specific illness. Depending on the insurer, this can cover up to 45 major illnesses including cancer.

If you have trauma insurance, check with your fund to see if your child is covered. In most cases, children’s trauma insurance can’t be purchased as a separate policy, but is generally offered as an option if you buy adult trauma insurance. Some adult trauma policies also offer up to $10,000 in child cover as a premium-free benefit. As with other forms of insurance, pre-existing conditions are excluded.

Travel insurance can be important for people who have cancer or who have had cancer. Travel insurance plans include basic plans covering lost luggage, theft and cancelled flights, as well as broader plans that also cover overseas medical expenses, loss of income due to injury or illness, and death or disability cover.

Travel insurance is often difficult to buy if you’re already diagnosed. As with all insurance, we recommend that you compare prices and levels of cover as terms and conditions will vary depending on your diagnosis and the insurer’s guidelines. An insurance broker will be able to help with this.

If you are looking for travel insurance for your child, start looking at options well before you leave – preferably as soon as you book your travel. It’s important to know if and how a cancer diagnosis will affect your coverage, so you can make an informed decision about whether to travel.

Please remember, you can dispute a rejected claim. You can get in touch with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. You can also call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to see whether they can connect you with a lawyer for assistance.

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