Cancer treatments are progressing, are your PMI policies?

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

The cost of cancer in the UK - the facts

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 expert on 0333 920 6911. Alternatively, if you’re considering alternatives to your current policy, find out more about employee healthcare cover for businesses.


1 Cancer Research UK
2 The Telegraph 
3 Macmillan
4 Lang & Buisson, 2013
5 Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: A 2021 projection, published by BUPA 2011
6 Cancer Research UK
7 Cancer Research UK

This is a marketing communication FP19.533


Debra Clark
Debra sits on the Mercer Marsh Benefits healthcare management team and is dedicated to delivering top levels of customer service to all clients.

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