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If I get thyroid cancer (non-spreading), then how much money can I get for this?

You would have to already own a cancer insurance policy if you expect to "get money" for a cancer diagnosis. Your payment is defined by the terms of the policy.

Cancer insurance doesn't replace regular health insurance. It's a form of supplementary coverage that pays out if you're diagnosed with cancer. You can purchase cancer insurance on your own or sometimes it's included through an employer's benefits program.

You can't buy cancer insurance if you've already been diagnosed with cancer, and some policies come with a waiting period or a maximum time period for when coverage goes into effect. Most policies pay out a lump sum after you're diagnosed, although some continue to pay for expenses. Your premiums will depend on the richness of the policy's benefits as well as your age and perhaps your lifestyle or family health history.

A similar type of supplemental health insurance coverage is a critical illness insurance policy, which pays a lump sum for a variety of serious conditions - including cancer.

The value of cancer insurance is a debatable topic. Some consumer advocates recommend buying comprehensive medical insurance and disability insurance rather than investing in cancer insurance. A good health plan is the key to early detection and diagnosis. Studies show that patients with health insurance generally have earlier detection and greater survival rates.

When evaluating cancer insurance alternatives, read the policies carefully to understand exactly what they cover, and understand how a policy might affect benefits through your regular health insurance. For instance, some major medical plans don't pay out if you have other coverage.

Read more about evaluating cancer insurance.

Last updated: Nov. 2, 2010