Women with breast cancer face significant difficulties receiving the appropriate insurance cover through their superannuation fund, according to the peak national organisation for the disease.
Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) was responding to news that the Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into the life industry was considering a policy that would allow under-25s to opt out of disability insurance and similar type of cover.
In a submission to the inquiry, BCNA said women with breast cancer are reliant on disability and life insurance to cover the financial shortfall that many experience when they are unable to work for prolonged periods.
However, the network cited research it conducted in 2014 that found nearly one-third of metastatic breast cancer sufferers were unable to receive a lump sum payment from their superannuation account, despite making a claim.
One of Australia’s biggest killers
Cancer Australia data shows that breast cancer was responsible for 13 per cent of all new diagnoses of the disease in 2017. Approximately 3,087 women and 28 men are expected to die from the illness by the end of this year.
According to BCNA, the most common reason individuals fail to get benefits from their superannuation was because of the way in which policies deal with the issue of life expectancy. Many claimants also struggled with the complexity of the paperwork involved.
“All the forms are tweaked towards an injury like a broken leg, not about a terminal disease. The process has been long,” one claimant, Lisa, said.
“It would have been really good to have someone that knows all about making a claim. You’ve got to be careful with every step you take.”
BCNA said breast cancer patients also encounter more general problems with their superannuation fund when trying to access insurance, including poor communication, unclear information about entitlements and receiving the wrong forms.
Furthermore, individuals found it difficult to understand how their claims would be assessed for various types of policy, such as total and permanent disability (TPD) and total and temporary disability benefits.
“Reliance on superannuation and associated insurances can be of vital importance to Australians living with metastatic breast cancer; however, as found in our survey, many face difficulties accessing it,” BCNA’s submission stated.
Are you having trouble accessing TPD benefits and other types of superannuation cover? Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers are specialists in superannuation and disability claims, so please speak to one of our team for more information.