Our cancer cover

Our cancer cover

Our plans can help with faster cancer diagnosis, which is key to successful treatment. We cover eligible scans and consultations up to diagnosis, including MRI and PET scans. We don’t go on to cover cancer treatment.

If cancer is diagnosed, we don’t cover the private treatment of it but can still support people going back into the care of the NHS. And throughout, you and your team will have the additional support of a dedicated cancer phone line, to help you and family members with questions and information.

Why don’t you cover cancer treatment?

We’re often asked if Equipsme is too good to be true. It isn’t. We do exactly what we say we do – simple plans, transparent terms and conditions and a focus on sustainable pricing so more businesses can cover more of their people.

One way we’re able to keep our prices competitive and sustainable, is that we’ve very carefully chosen not to include cancer treatment in any of our plans.

Bear with us. We know cancer is a BIG thing. But treatment comes at a BIG cost – and means businesses who have employee claims can end up facing huge increases at renewal. That can mean they can’t afford to cover everyone else for everything else that can go wrong.

We want more people in more businesses to get more health support.

So our approach is to get our members with diagnosis and treatment on their plan a faster cancer diagnosis – which can often also speed up the referral back into the wonderful NHS for their actual treatment, as the NHS are often best placed with more expertise to provide that critical care.

How important is swift diagnosis?

What your Equipsme plan can do for you is to get you answers and get you on the right path FASTER – and that’s incredibly important when it comes to cancer. The earlier you catch it, often the easier it is to treat.

For example, bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK. While there are different types and grades of bowel cancer, when it’s spotted at Stage 1 before spreading elsewhere, 90% of people will survive bowel cancer for 5 years or more after their diagnosis. At Stage 4, only 10% will.

Getting your symptoms checked out is essential, and Equipsme can get you a second opinion with a GP, and an open referral to a consultant within days rather than weeks. This open referral can then be used to submit your claim for specialist diagnosis and tests to assess and if covered, approve.

With NHS waiting lists at an all-time high, Equipsme is an effective back-up, there when you need it most, to help get you to the place you need to be.

How does the relationship with the NHS work?

Many consultants will work for the NHS, but also practice privately. They’re well used to referring private clients back into the public health system. The NHS is brilliant at cancer care, and while the speed with which you can get back into NHS cancer treatment may vary, depending on where you live, we’ve found that the private and NHS sectors often work seamlessly together.

What does the cancer care line do?

All Equipsme members can access the AXA Health Cancer Care team. The helpline is covered 24/7 by nurses and counsellors who can help answer questions, explain terminology, and discuss options. They’re there for families as well as patients themselves. And sometimes a listening and expert ear can really, really help. Because you don’t have to go through cancer alone.

Go to your Equipsme portal to find your AXA Health membership number, and call them free.

Where can I find more support?

Cancer research
NHS Cancer support
Macmillan Cancer Support

Further reading

What is prostate cancer?
How to check your breasts
What is ovarian cancer?
How to check your testicles

Please note all claims are subject to the terms and conditions of the Membership Handbook and prior authorisation by the claims team at AXA Health.

What happens when an Equipsme member has cancer symptoms?

If someone has our most popular Equipsme plan, which includes private diagnosis and suspects they may have symptoms that might be cancer, they can take an open referral letter from their NHS GP or the Equipsme GP service and submit a claim to AXA Health. This will then be assessed and if covered, AXA Health can help book an appointment with one of their recognised specialists to investigate the diagnosis further.

When you’re worried about cancer, every day waiting to see a specialist counts.

With Equipsme, people can get seen quickly, get answers quickly – and get on the right path as soon as possible. Tests, such as CT and MRI scans, and consultations that members need to get a diagnosis are included in the diagnosis benefit.

Terms and conditions do apply so if you are interested in an Equipsme plan we do recommend reading our full documentation. If you have any questions on what can be a complicated subject, please feel free to contact us.  If necessary, we will seek clarity from our insurance partner, AXA Health.

The consultant, and the specialist cancer nurses on our helpline, can then help answer questions if the patient has to go back into the NHS for their treatment.

How does the relationship with the NHS work?

Many consultants will work for the NHS, but also practice privately. They’re well used to referring private clients back into the public health system. The NHS is brilliant at cancer care, and while the speed with which you can get back into NHS cancer treatment may vary, depending on where you live, we’ve found that the private and NHS sectors often work seamlessly.

How do you support people who have cancer?

We’ve got a great team of specialist cancer nurses who work at the AXA Health cancer & heart helpline. They’re there to answer all the questions people forget to ask at their NHS appointments, explain all the jargon and options – and offer emotional support to cancer patients and their families.

Access to the 24/7 nurse helpline includes questions about family members. If you need advice day or night, they are there for you.

Why don’t Equipsme plans include cancer treatment?

The simple answer is the cost. Cancer treatment is very expensive, and that would mean an increase in our premiums and potentially high renewal increases for individual businesses that have big claims. We’re committed to keeping our plans as an affordable alternative to traditional Private Medical Insurance.

Equipsme was designed to make private health cover an option for big businesses who want to insure everybody in their workforce – and small businesses who never thought they’d be able to afford it.

We also wanted to focus on the health treatments our customers were most likely to need. The risk of cancer increases with age – half of all people with cancer in the UK are over 70. The average age of Equipsme members is closer to 40, and the most commonly used services are our 24/7 GP access and the treatment of muscle, bone and joint pains that often require physio sessions. By providing health services people really want and really use – plus a route to fast cancer diagnosis – we aim to open up access to private health benefits and health back-up to more people and places that haven’t had it before.

Equipsme plans give people 24/7 access to a GP helpline and appointment booking, private physio sessions, a nurse advice line, plus diagnosis and treatment benefit options at a UK-wide AXA Health network of private hospitals. Businesses with employees can also choose to add on optical & dental and stress support benefits.

Can you promise that prices will stay low because of your cancer exclusion?

We can’t guarantee that prices won’t increase in future but we’ve been around since 2018 and have only increased our three times (correct as at April 2024).

By contrast, traditional PMI premium rises can be more than 10% each year. Some providers may also increase renewal premiums for the entire workforce if someone from the company has used their plan for cancer treatment. This could make cover unsustainable for a business to keep funding.

More stable pricing also helps maintain more sustainable P11D costs for your team. They too are affected by annual price increases and employees may ask to be removed from the scheme because it becomes too expensive.

Sustainability is important, especially when businesses are looking at whole of workforce cover, with Equipsme we have designed our plans to reduce the risk of surprises waiting down the line.

What if I want full cancer treatment cover?

If you’re looking for gold‑plated, bells and whistles private medical insurance, Equipsme probably isn’t for you. We recommend looking at some of the larger household names or talking to a specialist broker about your requirements.

But if you’re looking for something practical, usable, and good value for money – that works for everyone – then you’ll find we’re pretty unique