CN Mobile Logo

Search form


Insurance Policies for Cancer: Made in Japan

Insurance Policies for Cancer: Made in Japan

The financial burden of a long-term illness such as cancer can
be devastating, with as much as 66% of the costs of cancer being
nonmedical[1]. These financial concerns are leading some Americans
to buy insurance policies that, upon diagnosis of cancer, assist
them in paying for their care.

Several companies now offer disease-specific insurance policies
for cancer, with the industry leader being American Family Life
Assurance Company (AFLAC).

AFLAC built this program by selling cancer insurance to the Japanese,
starting in 1974 when they became the second foreign company licensed
in Japan. AFLAC currently has a monopoly in Japan, insuring 20%
of the Japanese. The $7.2 billion company receives 85% of its
revenues from Japanese operations[2].

Understanding the factors that made cancer insurance successful
in Japan may assist policy makers in eval-uating strategies for
cancer insurance policies in America. However, cultural considerations
clearly differ between the two countries.

The Japanese population is one of the healthiest in the world.
Japan provides universal access for its 127 million citizens and
has the highest life expectancy of any industrialized nation (76.1
years for males and 82.1 years for females), as well as the lowest
infant mortality rate (0.5%)[3,4].

These statistics, however, overshadow trends for cancer. Cancer-related
deaths in Japan have risen sharply over the past 50 years, and
in 1992, 188 of every 100,000 Japanese died of cancer, making
it Japan's number one cause of death[5].

Cancer Care in Japan


Loading comments...

By clicking Accept, you agree to become a member of the UBM Medica Community.