Begona Fernandez |
Madrid (EFE).- Having cancer and even having left the disease behind is an almost always insurmountable obstacle to getting a loan. “You enter the bank with the scarf on your head and see that the doors are closed.” Says Inma, declared unfit for a loan, and Alfonso, a former cancer patient who came to put on makeup so as not to appear sick.
The cancer ‘right to be forgotten’ should be a reality throughout the EU before 2025. Spain, Iceland and Malta are the only European countries that do not have legislation that prevents banks and insurers from discriminating against cancer patients.
In this time trial to legislate, the Spanish Federation of Parents of Children with Cancer (FEPNC) is collecting data with the 23 associations that make it up to learn first-hand about the experience of its survivors.
The bank suggested that he hide the medical history
Inma Escriche, 52, a patient with lung cancer for six years and vice president of the Spanish Association of People Affected by Lung Cancer (AEACAP), tells EFE how the bank declared her unfit after revealing her illness in the insurance questionnaire life required as collateral for the loan.
“The bank does not put it in writing” explains Inma, but, in her case, she recommended that she go to another entity and hide her history if she wanted to obtain the loan. A solution that was not valid for her but that, she says, many patients assume.
This is the case of Alfonso, a former lymphoma patient, who had to hide the disease when requesting a loan. Not only with credit, but also to ask for a mortgage, the bank gave him a tiny amount but without stating the reason “to protect himself.”
With the disease in remission, he reveals that when you say you have or have had cancer “the system crashes”, the only option is to deny it.
“That we be taken into account” is what Yaiza Cumelles, 30, a former lymphoma patient, requests. Cumelles is not even considering asking for a loan despite having left the disease behind. She explains to EFE the discomfort she feels when an insurer polls her by phone as a possible client and hangs up when she finds out about her history.
Cumelles, trained as a make-up artist, is aware that many companies do not give work to a person who has suffered from cancer. In her last one, where she spent two years, she was fired when she took a 3-month leave.
Eduard García-Luengo, a 43-year-old former leukemia patient, also explored the possibility of requesting a mortgage. In this case, the bank told him that he could only choose if he presented a guarantor and when he tested the insurance the result was worse, they did not give him coverage for anything related to cancer or its sequelae.
Ángeles Marín, 55 years old and with lung cancer for 13 months, has already ruled out applying for any financial product, aware that the doors are closed to her.
These obstacles occur in patients and survivors, and also in those who have had the disease as children and are overcome.
The right to be forgotten oncology
The president of the Spanish Federation of Parents of Children with Cancer (FEPNC), Juan Antonio Roca, appeals to a European Parliament resolution of February 2022 that establishes that insurers and banks should not take into account the medical history of people with cancer.
It also urges that in 2025 all States guarantee the right to be forgotten for all patients “ten years after the end of their treatment, and up to five years after the end of treatment for those whose diagnosis was made when they were minors.”
Roca regrets that in Spain “nothing has been done and the legislator continues to stand still” and warns that the entities do not distinguish “and put in the same drawer” survivors and patients in active treatment.
83% of patients have problems getting life insurance
A study by the Josep Carreras Foundation of 400 patients with acute leukemia or aggressive lymphoma between the ages of 18 and 35 reveals that 83% admit to having had problems taking out life insurance and thus obtaining a loan, and 70% when applying for death insurance.
According to the person in charge of the Patient Experience program of this Foundation, Alexandra Carpentier, most banking products are subject to life insurance and when this is denied, the loan is denied.
The study emphasizes that although Spanish law does not require you to take out life insurance to request a loan or mortgage, many entities request it as a guarantee of payment.
From the Spanish Association Against Cancer, the social worker Damián Castañeda admits the difficulties of these patients to continue with their vital project.
Bank employers say they are unaware of the problem
Consulted by EFE, sources from the Spanish Banking Association (AEB) assure that they were unaware of this problem, but that in any case it is a matter that depends on each entity and is within the commercial sphere and contact with customers.