October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
About one in eight women (about 12%) will get invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. In 2016, almost 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. An additional 61,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with non-invasive (situ) breast cancer. And women aren’t the only ones affected – in 2016, about 2,600 men in the U.S. are expected to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
This means that at least 12% of families will have to face this terrible disease. While you can never fully prepare for a diagnosis, arming yourself with both knowledge and insurance—including individual disability insurance—can help you and your family get through this difficult time.
Here are several reasons why disability insurance can be critically important to those dealing with breast cancer.
Cost of breast cancer treatment
Over the course of their lifetime, breast cancer patients generally spend between $20,000 and $100,000 on breast cancer treatment. In fact, about a quarter of women diagnosed with breast cancer go into debt. Generally, the more advanced the cancer is, the more treatment costs.
These numbers are extremely high. Additionally, indirect costs, such as lost wages due to a cancer diagnosis or cancer-related death, are estimated to make up about 97% of a patient’s expenses.
Breast cancer and work
Breast cancer affects each patient differently. For some, they can continue working throughout much of their treatment. Some women (and men) also have flexible schedules and/or understanding staff and can adjust their work schedules around treatment.
Most people, however, will have to take at least some time off of work, and it’s important that they have some income protection to cover any lost wages. Some employers or the state might offer short-term disability that protects employees for a period of time—usually three to six months. When this expires, your employer or the federal government may approve long-term disability. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to recover from a serious health condition while maintaining any benefits you have, as well as your position at the company. However, FMLA only covers companies that have 50 or more employees.
The importance of disability insurance for breast cancer patients
Unfortunately, not all employers offer short-term disability insurance and not all management is understanding about their employees taking time off from work. Missing work or having to quit your job means, of course, lost wages. And when you’re in treatment for cancer, your life doesn’t stop; you still have expenses like mortgage, car payments, child care and more.
Own-occupation disability insurance can supplement disability insurance that you have through your job, or it can provide insurance if you aren’t covered at work. You can keep these policies in effect throughout your working life, keeping you protected for years to come.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be overwhelming and it can also wreak havoc on your finances. Disability insurance offered by your job or the government won’t always cover you to the extent you need. Protect yourself, your family, and your income by purchasing own-occupation disability insurance. Get started with a quote today.