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Availability of new lifesaving childhood cancer treatment could be a postcode lottery.

Availability of new lifesaving childhood cancer treatment could be a postcode lottery.

A frightening story for all parents appeared on the BBC news website this morning.  The news that whilst a pioneering, life saving cancer treatment has been developed for neuroblastoma, one of the deadliest forms of childhood cancer, it is not available for all. At a cost of £65,000 per child, some NHS primary care trusts are funding it, whilst others are saying no. This can leave parents in a desperate situation trying to raise the money through remortgaging, other fund-raising, or in some cases taking on tens of thousands of pounds of debt.

Having a sick child is traumatic enough for any parent, but to have a child with a deadly form of cancer, knowing that treatment would provide a 20% increase in the chance of survival and being denied it, is almost unimaginable.

For parents who hold a critical illness policy there may well be some welcome assistance in this situation.  Whilst the adult policy will not pay out for the child’s illness, in a lot of critical illness policies there are some additional extras thrown in which could really help out.

If a policy includes children’s critical illness, there may well be a lump sum payment of up to £20,000 – £25,000 which gives a considerable head start on fund-raising.  In cases where each parent holds a policy, some providers go further still, and will payout this sum for each, potentially providing a lump sum of up to £50,000.  Even if the cost of treatment is covered by the NHS, the very fact that you have a seriously ill child is potentially going to have a devastating impact on household income in the event that one or both parents have to stop working to help with the care.  This cash lump sum is intended to help fill the gap and to allow you to focus on what really matters at times like these, without worry of the financial implications.

Life insurance companies Ageas and Friends Life offer access to “Best Doctors” a service which provides free of charge, expert second opinion on diagnosis and treatment plans from the doctor who for your specific illness is, (without wanting to sound like Jeremy Clarkson) the best in the world.  This service works in conjunction with your consultants in the NHS to give the parent all the information they need and the peace of mind that the treatment they go ahead with, is actually the best option.

Ageas go one step further, saying that if the treatment your child needs is only available outside of the UK, then they will double up the children’s critical illness benefit.  If both parents are policy holders, this would provide £100,000benefit.

Clearly additional benefits are just one element to consider when taking out protection insurance, but they really can make all the difference should you need to make a claim on them. For fee-free advice  on the most appropriate protection cover for you and your family call L&C’s expert advisers on 0800 9531932.


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