As a search shows that it has not previously been mentioned on this forum, I thought it would be worth posting about a type of travel insurance that has a different approach to pre-existing medical conditions (PMCs). This could be a good option for some (but not all) CML sufferers.
Most travel insurance starts with quite a wide definition of PMCs. Cancer is almost always specifically named as being a PMC, even if it has been in full remission and treatment free for years or even decades. Even if it isn't mentioned specifically, the definition usually includes anything you are taking medication for or seeing a medical professional about, so CML sufferers will be caught. No cover is given for PMCs unless they are declared and accepted under medical screening.
This approach has a number of disadvantages for CML sufferers (and indeed non-CML sufferers).
- Many insurers will not cover CML at all.
- Most other insurers want big extra premiums, in return for covering CML.
- It is very time consuming going through the medical screening. If you want to shop around to find a company that will offer cover at a reasonable premium, you have to go through screening many times and it can take many hours.
- Screening is intrusive.
- Many of us have other medical conditions, so even though there are a few specialist insurers that understand that CML is low risk and will cover it for a small premium, they might want further extra premiums for, say, mild asthma or just for having raised cholesterol (even if this is not giving rise to any symptoms or illness). It can mount up.
- This is made worse by the fact that once you are into the screening process, you usually have to disclose any medical condition, even ones that are not themselves within the PMC definition.
- If you forget to disclose any medical condition, you may not be covered if it leads to a claim that the insurer can argue is connected. You're not going to forget serious things like CML, but you can't always be sure that you have remembered to disclose every piddling little medical issue. Sometimes, you have to go back to childhood!
- If you are travelling as a family, you will need them to be covered, too, so 3-7 apply for each family member.
- The restriction on PMCs may (depending on the wording of the policy) also apply to people not named on the policy, such as family members who are not travelling. So if your mother falls seriously ill 3 days before your departure and you want to cancel so you can be with her, this will not be covered if her illness relates to a PMC.
There are, however, a couple of insurance companies (maybe others?) who have a very different system, which eliminates most of these disadvantages. The ones I know of are Eurotunnel and ETA.
Their approach is to have no screening. If your condition is what they define to be a PMC, you are not covered for it and there's no way to change that. So, if that's you, these insurers will be no use. However, they use a much narrower definition of PMCs, which means many people (including many CML sufferers) will not be considered to have PMCs, so you are covered at their standard premium, without any screening.
With Eurotunnel, the definition of PMC is:
1 You will be covered for claims arising directly or indirectly from any existing medical conditions, so long as your doctor can confirm that at the time of purchasing the insurance or booking the journey (whichever is later):
you were fit to travel;
your medical condition(s) were stable and there was no sign they would get worse;
you had not been diagnosed as suffering from a terminal illness
you did not know that you would need medical treatment or consultation at any medical facility during your journey;
If you need to make a claim arising directly or indirectly from any existing medical conditions, your doctor will be asked to confirm all of the above in writing.
2 You will not be covered if you travel against the advice of a doctor or where you would have been if you had asked for their advice before beginning your journey.
3 You will not be covered if you travel specifically for the purpose of obtaining and / or receiving any elective surgery, procedure or hospital treatment.
No insurer is going to cover you, and you would be unlikely to want to travel, if you are unfit for travel, or you have a terminal illness, or you know you will need treatment during your trip, or your doctor has advised you not to travel. So, the only restriction that matters is that "your medical condition(s) were stable and there was no sign they would get worse". For many CML sufferers on TKIs, with BCR ABL slowly falling or steady at low levels, this test will be met. So you are covered. What matters is what your consultant says, so just ask if they consider you stable and if there are any signs you might get worse (which is not the same thing as a promise that you will not get worse).
Eurotunnel only cover in Europe. They do single trip (no age limit) or annual cover (under 70). www.eurotunnel.com/uk/traveller-info/insurance/travel-insurance/
ETA are slightly different. They exclude:
"1. Any trip, which you begin or is booked by you contrary to medical advice, or to obtain medical treatment, or after a terminal prognosis has been made.
2. Any claims or expenses arising directly or indirectly from any of your medical conditions for which medical advice or treatment has been given by
a medical practitioner or hospital during the 12 months prior to:
a) the date of booking the trip or date of issue of this insurance, whichever the later (in respect of single trip insurance)
b) the commencement of the period of insurance or the date of booking any trip covered by this insurance, whichever the later (in respect of annual multi-trip travel insurance)
This exclusion shall not apply to any condition (f)or which you take regular continuing medication provided that there has been no change in the type, frequency or quantity of drugs within the last 12 months. However, no claims or expenses relating to such condition will be admitted hereunder in the event of your failure to take such drugs in accordance with the medical advice given."
So, for anyone on TKIs, they should be covered for CML if there's been no change to the type of TKI, the dose or frequency in the 12 months before buying the insurance (or booking the trip, if later). Unfortunately, a reduction in dosage or switch to a different TKI would mean you would not be covered. And, illogically, you would not be covered if you were taken off TKIs altogether, if you were still being monitored to check your BCR ABL stays low.
ETA does cover outside Europe. Single trip up to age 69 and annual cover to age 75. www.eta.co.uk/insurance/travel/