Excerpted article was written by Michael Franklin, Digital Producer
They’ve come out on top in the hardest battle they’ve ever faced, but many Canadian cancer survivors are in another fight, this time with their insurance company.
Wilhelm Weinmann beat prostate cancer four years ago and, like 90 percent of men who contract it, the disease shouldn’t give him any future problems.
That is, until Weinmann got a new job and sought health insurance through his company’s plan with Sunlife.
He was looking for dental, vision and prescription coverage for his wife and four children, but was surprised to find that the company denied his application.
The company told him that his medical history, specifically his case of prostate cancer, was not considered a standard risk for the policy.
“To me, it felt really wrong, wrong to get that answer. I dunno, it kinda felt like getting cancer again.”
The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, the group that Sunlife referred CTV to when asked about the issue, says the denial for cancer survivors is an ‘industry issue’.
Representatives with the Canadian Cancer Society say that it’s a common tactic for insurance agencies that isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
“As our population ages, we’re gonna have thousands of Canadians that have moved beyond their disease but have to live in a system that wasn’t designed for them, that doesn’t support them and their families as they move forward and live their lives,” said Gabriel Miller, policy director with the Canadian Cancer Society.
Miller says he’s called on the government for help with the issue.
Weinmann says he hopes that others will hear his story and be willing to help.
“I’m really hoping to shame these guys into changing their policies.”
While there are insurance policies that cater to cancer survivors, they tend to be very costly.
The Cancer Society says survivors who can’t get insurance often need to rely on financial assistance or charitable programs to fund expenses that insurance would normally cover.