Can you have private cancer treatment?

None of us want to be on the receiving end of a cancer diagnosis but what options do you have when it happens? Of course you have access to cancer treatment via the NHS and they do offer excellent levels of care for cancer patients. The other option of course is to opt for private cancer treatment. If you have a private medical insurance policy in place you can look to claim on your policy providing you have no related exclusions. You would also need to check that you have cancer cover as part of your benefit options. If not, you can look at self-funding your treatment.

Policies such as Hospital Treatment Insurance do not cover private cancer treatment once you have a cancer diagnosis. You would need to have a private health insurance policy that offers cancer cover.

Private cancer treatment via your Private Medical Insurance policy

If you are eligible to claim on your health insurance you will have access to some of the best treatments and facilities in the UK. Rapid access to diagnostic testing is a key element when it comes to the treatment of cancer. Private health insurance will provide this for you.

Insurers such as Bupa even allow you to call them directly with symptoms of cancer. You will not need to have a GP referral. Another great time saving aspect of private treatment.

Even if your policy has a reduced out-patient cover limit, most insurers will not apply the out-patient limit for the treatment of cancer claims. You will have peace of mind right from the start that your treatment will be covered. There are policies that have an annual maximum claim limit, make sure you know if your policy falls in this category.

What benefits could you have access to for private cancer treatment?

Insurance companies offer different benefit levels and therefore the policy you choose will dictate the level of cancer cover you will have. When you start to compare health insurance policies it is worth specifically looking at the cancer cover available. You will find full details of the Cancer benefits available from every provider in relation to their private cancer treatment.

If you have chosen a policy with full cancer cover you should expect it to include some (or all) of the following:

Full cover for:

  • Hospital charges and specialist fees
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Proton Beam therapy
  • Post-surgery services
  • Bone strengthening drugs (such as bisphosphonates)
  • Treatment for the side-effects of chemotherapy & radiotherapy
  • Stem cell and bone marrow transplants

Variable cover limits would be available for:

  • NHS Cancer benefit (if you choose to have your cancer treatment via the NHS)
  • Cover for a nurse to give you chemotherapy in your own home
  • Preventative treatment
  • Monitoring
  • Wigs
  • Prostheses
  • End of life & Palliative care
  • Hospice donation

Insurers such as AXA Health offer you access to a dedicated nurse 24/7, 365 days per year. This service is available for you and your immediate family. These nurses can even talk to your specialist or doctor if you are unsure about anything related to your condition or treatment. So when you have a nagging question at 3 am you will not have to wait until the morning to talk it through.

It is important that you remember that no two insurers offer the same cover. If cover for private cancer treatment is your priority then discuss this with your broker. They can help you find a policy that offers the right cover levels for you.

If you have had cancer before, will your new health insurance policy cover cancer?

Sadly, cancer can affect any one of us at any age. With statistics showing that 1 in 2 of us will get cancer, the odds of never having a cancer diagnosis are minimal.

For people who are totally new to health insurance and buying a new policy as an individual then cover will depend on a number of things:

  • What type of cancer you had in the past
  • How long ago you had cancer
  • When you finished your treatment and were signed off

Talk to your broker about your medical history and they will be able to ascertain whether private cancer treatment would be available via a new health insurance policy.

If, however, you have recently been diagnosed with cancer and are still having treatment or your treatment is planned or pending then it is very doubtful that a new policy will cover you in relation to that condition.

This may not be the case if you are joining a corporate health insurance policy as an employee. If the company has Medical History Disregarded underwriting and the policy itself has cover for cancer claims included then you should not have an issue. This is because Medical History Disregarded underwriting offers cover for pre-existing medical conditions.

Reasons your cancer claim may not be eligible for cover under your policy:

Health insurance in the UK offers outstanding cover for private cancer treatment however, there are situations that may affect your ability to make a claim:

  • You have chosen a policy that does not offer cancer benefits.
  • The policy you have in place will only cover you up to the point of diagnosis.
  • There is a monetary limit on your policy which you have already exceeded.
  • You have an exclusion for cancer applied to your policy.
  • Your moratorium underwriting choice means you are not covered at this time.
  • The recommended treatment is not recognised or approved in the UK.

For more information about cancer types, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments please refer to

How can SMP Healthcare help you find a policy that covers Private Cancer Treatment?

The team at SMP Healthcare have many years’ experience in the health insurance sector. We are an independent and unbiased broker with no affiliation to any of the insurers. We can help you understand the comparison between policies so you can make an informed decision about the policy you buy. If Private Cancer Treatment is your priority we can provide you with detailed information about the cancer cover offered from the insurers on our panel.

For more information about how we can help you, please get in touch:

Telephone: 0800 047 0127 / 01245 929129