MPs and charities are campaigning to change the rules on travel insurance, so that cancer survivors who are in remission for a set number of years will no longer have to declare the illness.
The current situation is that anyone who has undergone treatment, or had a cancer diagnosis, must declare that history on most travel insurance applications. This can increase premiums dramatically, and in some cases add thousands to the cost of holiday insurance, especially in countries like Australia, Canada or the USA, where any medical treatment can cost thousands per minute, never mind the hour.
Youth Cancer Europe, a campaign/charity organisation, recently worked with the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show to highlight the situation, where young people found that getting travel insurance cost more than the trip to Europe to attend a family wedding. Supported by MPs from the SNP and Labour, the campaign group hopes to get the law changed, so that after ten years in remission no cancer survivor would have to declare the condition. This would be five years for those diagnosed under the age of 18.
The ABI response to the BBC show was; “We want to continue our dialogue with cancer charities on these issues and work with them to help improve access to insurance.”
Brexit may add another layer of complication to getting travel insurance of course, as many EU countries already make it difficult for UK citizens to get free, reciprocal medical treatement, forcing them to pay upfront and claim on their insurance later.
If the EU decides to implement a general travel visa scheme then that will be an extra cost for everyone, but individual countries may well add extra hurdles for UK travellers as a kind of tit-for-tat payback if they feel they’ve lost a battle over particular trade tariffs, fishing rights, food or luxury goods import duties etc.
But it’s difficult to predict a scenario where any EU country would effectively make it even more expensive for UK cancer survivors to visit – the bad PR isn’t worth it frankly.