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Specialty Insurance ABCs - Policies Help Pay For Things Not Under Basic Coverage

Eight years ago, Terry Braun was not sure he required cancer insurance.

At the time the Indian Lake resident bought the specialty policy through AFLAC, he was only 45 years old and quite healthy.

He said. "I was an athlete, and I did a lot of organic [food] and would keep in great shape. I had the insurance for a year, and I thought I was never going to get sick. I did try to call them to cancel the policy, but they told me it had to be in writing."

Braun, now 52, is happy he never canceled. Almost immediately after purchasing the policy, he was diagnosed with blood lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects blood protein. Braun has undergone extensive treatment ever since, together with hospital stays and chemotherapy. Most of his expenses, if not all, were been paid for by AFLAC.

"I'd be in tough shape without it," he said of the policy, which provides cash benefits to pay cancer-related bills. "This has made not working a lot easier. My oncologist will not release me for work, but you have to have money to do things you want to do. I would not have had nearly the quality of life I do without it. It's so stressful on your body with chemo, but it eases your mind knowing you're getting paid for it."

Braun is one of many Americans who have bought "specialty" insurance policies. These take in cancer and disease-specific policies, specified health event policies that cover heart attacks or strokes and long-term care insurance for later in life. Each of these policies is an "extra" designed to help pay for things not covered by chief medical insurance, said Mary Jo Hudson, director of the Ohio Department of Insurance.

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