Most EU countries support EU level actions to improve access to financial products for people with a history of cancer
People who had cancer in the past may experience difficulties to access financial products, such as life insurances or loans, even years after being cured. To improve their situation and increase equity, the European Commission announced in the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to examine practices in the area of financial services from the point of view of fairness towards persons with a history of cancer in long-term remission. A quick scan by the EUHealthSupport consortium, led by Nivel, showed that most EU countries and stakeholders support further exploration of EU level actions to improve the access to financial products.
Most EU countries expressed their support for EU level action, in particular to increase awareness of the importance of equitable access to financial products for persons with a history of cancer. Furthermore, they support the exchange of knowledge, experiences and practices across EU countries and the establishment of an EU level body that synthesises and regularly updates relevant (scientific) evidence. A number of countries also support the development of an EU Code of Conduct or other type of EU level policy on the topic.
EU level action also welcomed by stakeholder groups, but difficult according to insurers
Besides the EU countries, most stakeholders also broadly expressed their support for EU level action to improve access to financial products for persons with a history of cancer. This applies to representatives of people with (a history of) cancer, healthcare professionals, academics and others. The (re)insurance and financial sectors showed more reservations regarding EU level action because of the complexity. These stakeholders expressed the need for an in-depth analysis and potential initiation of actions at the national level first, before considering actions at EU level.
Studying the variety in national policies may be helpful to set up EU level action
There is substantial variation in regulatory arrangements between EU countries. Belgium, France, the Netherlands and, since very recently, also Portugal and Italy have legislation to support access to financial products for cancer survivors adopted or implemented. In Luxembourg the government agreed with insurance companies on a non-legislative convention. Some countries report self-regulatory actions of the insurance and financial sector, while others have more general anti-discrimination legislation that also aims to protect the rights of cancer survivors. We propose to evaluate the current provisions in countries, including their impact, and to exchange experiences and practices. This may serve as first steps to further implement national and EU level policies to improve the access to financial products for persons with a history of cancer.
About the study
Nivel conducted this explorative study together with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), as members of the EUHealthSupport consortium. The purpose was to better understand the current situation as well as the viewpoints of EU countries and stakeholders regarding access to financial products for persons with a history of cancer. We conducted a quick scan of the (scientific and grey) literature and consulted experts, EU countries and stakeholders. The study was conducted as part of a service contract to provide scientific support to the European Commission’s “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan” led by the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE).