Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez recently announced a significant development regarding the rights of cancer survivors in the country. In a meeting with various cancer associations held in Seville on May 13th, the Spanish government pledged to introduce amendments to the law to ensure that cancer survivors are not subjected to any discriminatory practices when seeking insurance or mortgages. This progressive step is set to take effect in June.
Speaking in front of 2,500 militants and supporters, Sánchez declared “We are going to recognise the right to oncological oblivion of all those patients who defeated cancer. This means that they will no longer suffer discrimination when it comes to signing a mortgage or accessing insurance or credit. This is useful politics, it is what a government that is sensitive to the people does and that defends what interests the majority of the people.”
The proposed changes aim to render void any contractual clauses that are based on an individual's oncological history and lead to exclusion or discrimination in obtaining products or services. Insurance companies will be strictly prohibited from considering a person's cancer history as a basis for imposing more burdensome conditions in insurance agreements. Notably, individuals will now have the right to refrain from disclosing their cancer history when applying for insurance related to mortgage loans.
The reform will specifically modify the Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007, enacted on November 16th, which governs the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users and the Contract Law Insurance.
This transformative initiative will benefit all individuals who have completed cancer treatment at least five years prior to signing the contract, provided there has been no relapse since. Prime Minister Sánchez (pictured) emphasised the injustice of penalising patients with more onerous conditions after they have already endured a serious illness.
It is noteworthy that Spain, Iceland, and Malta are currently the only European Union countries that do not guarantee cancer rights. However, the EU has set a deadline of 2025 for its member nations to implement such provisions, as outlined in a resolution passed by the European Parliament in February 2022. The resolution reads “Insurers and banks should not take into account the medical history of people affected by cancer; calls for national legislation to ensure that cancer survivors are not discriminated against compared to other consumers; notes the Commission's intention to work with business to develop a code of conduct to ensure that the evolution of cancer treatments and their increased effectiveness are reflected in the business practices of financial service providers.”
With this commitment to ensuring insurance rights for cancer survivors, Spain takes a significant step towards promoting equality and eliminating discrimination in accessing essential financial services.
The recent announcement has been warmly welcomed by the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), an organisation dedicated to supporting individuals affected by cancer. According to the AECC, an estimated 2.2 million people in Spain have triumphed over cancer, and they view this development as a significant advancement in ensuring social protection for patients. The AECC recognises this announcement as a remarkable stride forward in advocating for the rights and well-being of those who have overcome cancer.
Image Credit: La Moncloa
September 26, 2023
September 22, 2023