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As the average life expectancy in the United States continues to increase, insurance brokers are finding ways to make sure Americans can afford the privilege of getting older. Critical illness insurance was developed in 1996, as people realized that surviving a heart attack or stroke could leave a patient with insurmountable medical bills.
“Even with excellent medical insurance, just one critical illness can be a tremendous financial burden,” says CFP Jeff Rossi of Peak Wealth Advisors, LLC. Critical illness insurance provides coverage if you experience one or more of the following medical emergencies:
Because these illnesses require extensive medical care and treatment, their costs can outstrip a family’s medical insurance policy quickly. If you don’t have an emergency fund or health savings account (HSA), you’ll have an even harder time paying those bills out of pocket.
Many people are now choosing high-deductible health plans, which can be something of a double-edged sword: Consumers benefit from relatively affordable monthly premiums but could find themselves in a real pinch if a serious illness were to strike.
Critical illness insurance can pay for costs not covered by traditional insurance. The money can also be used for non-medical costs related to the illness, including transportation, child care, etc. Typically, the insured will receive a lump sum to cover those costs. Coverage limits vary – you could be eligible for a few thousand dollars all the way up to $100,000, depending on your policy. Policy pricing is impacted by a number of factors, including the amount and extent of coverage, the sex, age and health of the insured, and family medical history.
There are exceptions to critical illness insurance coverage. Some types of cancer may not be covered, while chronic illnesses are also frequently exempted. You may not be able to receive a payout if a disease comes back or if you suffer a second stroke or heart attack. Some coverage might end once the insured reaches a certain age. So, like any form of insurance, make sure to read the policy carefully. The last thing you want to worry about is your emergency plan.1