Published June 09, 2020
Last updated April 26, 2021

Most of us say, “It will never happen to me.” But each year, over 805,000 Americans will have a heart attack,1 more than 795,000 will suffer a stroke,2 and an American Cancer Society study predicts that 1.9 million American will receive a new cancer diagnosis in 2021.3

Thanks to modern medicine, more people than ever survive critical conditions like these. But there are often high costs associated with treatment that put a strain on a family’s budget. Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck,4 and medical bills are almost always unexpected, and typically additional costs accompany those bills that are not necessarily medically-related, like time lost from work, cost for travel and parking, and the cost for added help at home.

What if it happens to me?

Critical illnesses can cause financial devastation to individuals and families—even those with health insurance. That’s what makes critical illness insurance a popular form of supplemental coverage. Read on to learn the basics.

Critical care insurance covers some of the costliest illnesses

The “big three” illnesses covered by critical care plans are heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Most policies cover a wide range of other serious illnesses such as kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, and even blindness. Critical illness insurance can provide a lump-sum benefit to help a patient cover their costs, many of which aren’t covered by their major medical plan, if they’re diagnosed and treated for a covered condition.

A critical illness can greatly affect your livelihood

Developing a critical condition can result in sudden, unexpected out-of-pocket medical and non-medical expenses that often include:

  • Deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments
  • Treatments not covered by medical insurance 
  • Transportation to and from the care facility
  • Childcare and pet care
  • Lost income due to time off work to recover or care for a family member 

In addition to managing these costs, people still have to pay their regular household bills, like mortgage or rent, health insurance premiums, car payments, school tuition, and utilities. It can all add up to a significant drain on the budget, not to mention any savings set aside for emergencies.

It’s for this reason people consider critical care insurance to help them meet their obligations and get the care they need—and focus on recovery instead of worrying about bills.

Are you at risk?

There’s no simple way to assess risk because many factors go into the equation, including lifestyle, family history, the presence of certain health conditions. It’s a great idea to talk with your insurance agent for help determining your “fit” for a critical illness plan and answering all of your questions. Find an agent today!

Policy contains exclusions and limitations. See policy for complete details for policy features, benefits, options, rates, definitions, & limitations and exclusions.

Critical Illness policies underwritten by Combined Insurance Company of America (Chicago, IL) in all states, except New York. In New York, Critical Illness policies underwritten by Combined Life Insurance Company of New York (Latham, NY). Combined Insurance Company of America is not licensed and does not solicit business in New York.


1. Heart disease facts. (2020, September 08). Retrieved April 23, 2021, from disease/facts.htm

2. Stroke facts. (2021, March 17). Retrieved April 23, 2021, from /facts.htm

3. Stroke facts. (2021, March 17). Retrieved April 23, 2021, from stroke/facts.htm

4. Leonhardt, M. (2020, December 11). 63% of Americans have been living paycheck to paycheck Since Covid hit. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from 12/11/majority-of-americans-are-living-paycheck-to-paycheck-since-covid-hit.html