What is it?
The Right to Oncological Oblivion, also known as “the right to be forgotten”, is the right of cancer survivors to not have to share their cancer history or to not have it taken into account in different life situations, such as when taking out life insurance or taking out a loan.
Where did this initiative come from?
In February 2022, the European Parliament approved a new directive to strengthen the fight against cancer by considering that “insurers and banks should not take into account the medical history of people affected by cancer” and called for “national laws to ensure that cancer survivors are not discriminated against in comparison with other consumers”.
How has Spain responded to this initiative?
In accordance with this directive, the Spanish government adapted its legislation to make the so-called “right to oncological oblivion” effective.
Until now, one of the problems faced by people who had suffered some form of cancer was the obligation to inform banks and insurance companies when they were going to take out an insurance policy or a certain financial product (loans, mortgages, etc.). This meant that many of their applications were rejected, or their premiums increased due to the risk.
By virtue of this directive and its acceptance by the Spanish government, Royal Decree-Law 5/2023 of 28 June was approved, which regulates the “right to oncological oblivion”.
- Article 209 refers to the amendments made to Law 50/1980, of 8th October, on insurance contracts, by means of this new regulation.
- Article 10 is amended and an additional fifth provision is added.
A new paragraph is added to Article 10 which reads as follows:
“The holder of a life insurance policy is not obliged to declare whether they or the insured person has suffered from cancer once five years have elapsed since the end of the treatment without subsequent relapse. Once the aforementioned period has elapsed, the insurer cannot take into account the existence of oncological history for the purpose of contracting the insurance, and any discrimination or restriction to contracting for this reason is prohibited”.
On the other hand, the fifth additional clause is added, which reads as follows:
“Under no circumstances may access to the insurance be denied, establish different contracting procedures from those normally used by the insurer, impose more onerous conditions or in any other way discriminate against a person for having suffered an oncological pathology, once five years have elapsed since the end of treatment without subsequent relapse.”
“The Government, by Royal Decree, may modify the time limits established in the previous section and in the last paragraph of article 10 jointly or for specific oncological pathologies, depending on the evolution of scientific evidence.”
Who can apply for the Right to Oncological Oblivion?
This new entitlement may be applied for by those who have suffered an oncological pathology, provided that at least 5 years have elapsed since the end of the treatment without subsequent relapse.
What changes does the introduction of this new right imply?
In the contracting of insurance and banking products for patients with oncological pathologies, the following is established once 5 years have elapsed since the end of treatment without relapse:
- Any clauses, terms, conditions, or agreements that exclude one of the parties on the grounds of having suffered from cancer shall be null and void.
- It is strictly forbidden to make distinctions when a person who has suffered from an oncological pathology wants to contract an insurance policy.
- The obligation to declare whether you have suffered from cancer in order to take out a life insurance policy is removed, and the prohibition of oncological history being taken into account in this procedure.
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