The report found that people living with health conditions had significant difficulty obtaining insurance policies as well as making claims on existing policies. These include being discouraged from making a claim, having their claim denied because of their health condition and not being given information that the insurer relied upon to refuse the claim.
It further found that 17% of those whose claims were denied reported that the reason for rejection was due to their relevant health condition. Of those who encountered problems, very few took action to resolve these, for reasons including feeling disheartened, unsure of their options, as well as a lack of physical, emotional and financial capacity to take action.
Notably, 52% of those surveyed in the report were people living with cancer, and their shared experiences are highlighted in the following quote:
“Because it’s too hard. When I got refused cover I asked for an assessment, then I was still refused cover. The insurer then said if I wanted to dispute it I had to provide about 10 different documents from different health professionals. They make it so difficult and time consuming that people walk away.”
– Male 47 years, rare cancer survivor.
Read the Legal Aid news article here and the full report here.
Every day in the Pro Bono Program we see people affected by cancer experience these challenges and in particular, the need for professional support to navigate the insurance process. The support that professionals can provide can be invaluable to people who are facing an already difficult and stressful time. Often, we see people achieve outcomes that would not have been possible without the support of lawyers or financial planners.
Recently, we saw someone who was diagnosed with cancer attempt to claim around $10,000 from their insurance, however, their application was rejected. Thanks to the advocacy from a financial planner we connected them with on a free basis they were able to successfully claim over $200,000 from this insurance policy. This was a life-changing amount of money which they would not have received without the tireless efforts, expertise and generosity of the financial planner who supported them.