- Cancer Information
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- Cancer care and your rights
- Legal, financial and workplace concerns
Legal, financial and workplace concerns
During or after cancer treatment, you may have concerns about insurance policies, financial issues and work. This section provides an introduction to these topics. For more information, see Cancer and your finances or call Cancer Council 13 11 20. You may also want to consider obtaining independent legal and financial advice about any issue covered here.
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Legal, financial and workplace support
Cancer Council’s Legal, Financial, Small Business and Workplace Referral Service may be able to help if you or someone in your family is affected by cancer, and you need financial, legal or workplace advice. We can connect you with professionals to assist you with credit and debt issues, insurance claims and disputes, early access to superannuation, managing workplace issues, and transitioning to retirement. Call 13 11 20 to find out what services are available in your area and whether you are eligible for this assistance.
You may have taken out personal insurance policies (e.g. income protection or total and permanent disability) before your diagnosis. You may also have insurance through your superannuation. It’s important to make a claim as soon as possible, because there may be time limits that apply. If you think you should be covered but your claim is denied, get in touch with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. You can also call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to see whether we can connect you with a lawyer for assistance.
If you’re not making a claim, usually you do not need to inform the insurer about your cancer diagnosis until you renew your policy or change your level of cover. However, it is a good idea to check your insurance policy to see what it says about disclosing health issues.
If you’re taking out a new policy you are generally required to provide your medical history, including your cancer diagnosis. Insurance companies are allowed to refuse cover, but only on reasonable grounds. This does not include private health insurance – it is unlawful to be denied health insurance because of health issues, but there may be a waiting period before pre-existing conditions are covered.
For more on this, see our New insurance policies fact sheet.
Getting travel insurance can be a major concern for people with cancer or who have had cancer. Insurance companies may view you as more of a risk. They may believe that you’re more likely to get sick and require treatment while you’re travelling, need to return home for treatment, or cancel your trip due to illness.
In general, you should be able to buy travel insurance for things that are not related to your cancer (like lost luggage and cancelled flights). It may be difficult to buy travel insurance that covers cancer-related medical problems, but you should be able to get coverage for non-cancer-related medical costs. If you have to disclose any pre-existing health conditions, be honest – a claim may be denied if you withhold information.
How to get travel insurance
Toni Ashmore, Cancer and Ambulatory Services, Canberra Health Services, ACT; Baker McKenzie, Pro Bono Legal Adviser, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Acting Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, South Metropolitan Health Service, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; David Briggs, Consumer; Naomi Catchpole, Social Worker, Metro South Health, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Tarishi Desai, Legal Research Officer, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Kathryn Dwan, Manager, Policy and Research, Health Care Consumers Association, ACT; Hayley Jones, Manager, Treatment and Supportive Care, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Victoria Lear, Cancer Care Coordinator, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Deb Roffe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Michelle Smerdon, National Pro Bono Manager, Cancer Council NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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Practical advice and support during and after treatment