The cost of cancer

The cost of cancer on your private medical cover
Cancer is having a significant impact on the UK population. Every day more than 980 people are diagnosed with cancer.1 Earlier diagnosis now provides better hope of beating the disease. However, while the annual scale and costs of treatments are on the rise, so could your private medical premiums.2

So, what are the long-term effects of these rising costs? And what impact could they have on employer funded private medical insurance?

The costs of cancer diagnosis and treatment
36% of new cancer diagnoses are amongst people of working age.3 Cancer accounts for up to 20% of all PMI claims.4 But with the cost of private treatment predicted to increase by 2021, the value of your PMI cover may be less than you think.5

Treatment is progressing
Increases in cancer diagnosis are already putting strain on the healthcare system. This is causing more people than ever to turn to private medical insurance.6

New treatments such as Precision Medicine, Targeted Treatments and Immunotherapy Treatments are already having hopeful success rates. However, they come at a higher cost.

The cost of a PMI claim
With increases in both diagnoses and the costs of preferred treatment, it’s unsurprising that your budget for PMI cover may not stretch as far as it used to.

Consider the example below:

You have 200 employees on single-only cover with a claims fund of £82,000. Current statistics suggest that 1 in 2 people are likely to contract cancer at some point in their lives.7 With an average cost of £40,000 per round of treatment, on top of any other claims made, is this a reasonable claims fund for 200 people?5

Types of PMI policies
There are various types of cancer cover that can be found in PMI policies. Some allow a company to choose the level of treatments offered, while others offer just a standard cover with no flexibility.

The options could include:

  • Full cover for all elements of cancer treatment including end of life care
  • Limited cover based on specific drugs, treatments or timeframes
  • Cover for experimental treatments
  • Cover only for cancer costs that are not picked up by the NHS
  • Cash benefits if choosing to use the NHS for cancer treatment

If you have concerns about how the rising costs of cancer might affect your PMI policy, contact your local Jelf expert on 0333 920 6911. Alternatively, if you’re considering alternatives to your current policy, find out more about employee healthcare cover for businesses here.

This article first appeared on

1 Cancer Research UK


3 Macmillan

4 Lang & Buisson, 2013

5 Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: A 2021 projection, published by BUPA 2011