Aviva has launched a top-up health insurance product focused on supporting people with cancer.

Cancer Essentials is the first in a range of low-cost insurances designed to provide medical, financial and emotional support on diagnosis of specific conditions, and to complement treatment customers receive through NHS health services.

The Essentials range will sit alongside Aviva’s private medical insurance. Aviva said it signals a new direction in its approach to health insurance in the UK, aiming to provide cover for all budgets and across all life stages.

Cancer Essentials provides support for adults on diagnosis of cancer. Recent research from Aviva shows that British adults are more worried about being diagnosed with cancer than any other serious disease, including dementia/Alzheimer’s, heart disease or stroke.

Internal data from the insurer shows that cancer is the single most common cause of critical illness claims, further highlighting the prevalence of a disease which can have a devastating impact on families.

Cancer Essentials cover includes:

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  • Up to £100,000 ($139,301) towards the cost of non-NHS funded cancer drugs, on request from the customer’s NHS specialist.
  • A £5,000 cash sum payable on the diagnosis of cancer, to help with immediate everyday costs.
  • 24/7 access to a GP Helpline.
  • Access to online and phone based support from a team of personal nurse advisers
  • The insurance is priced according to the age of the individual and whether or not they smoke. For example, Aviva said a 50 year old would typically pay between £5 and £8 per month.

New and existing Aviva customers can request a quote and apply for cover direct via Aviva’s website. Customers can view their policy documentation at any time via a secure online portal. Claims can also be made online.

Dr Doug Wright, medical director for Aviva Health, commented: "The NHS does a brilliant job of offering an extensive range of cancer services but financial pressures mean it simply cannot fund every cancer drug that is available.

"That’s where Aviva is stepping in. For a low monthly cost, customers have the peace of mind of knowing that if diagnosed with cancer, they will benefit from being able to access up to £100,000 worth of additional cancer drugs and treatments, should these by requested by the customer’s NHS specialist."