For some, just the mention of the word ‘cancer’ is enough to give them goosebumps. While it is completely alright to feel scared or angry, one needs to be mentally, physically and financially prepared to face what is ahead. The Indian Council of Medical Research has said that overall number of new cancer cases is expected to be close to 17.3 lakhs by 2020. The study further said that breast cancer will be the most common among women and mouth cancer among men.
What is cancer insurance?
Cancer insurance policy, as the name suggests, is a kind of cover designed to help manage risks associated with cancer. It mitigates the expenses associated with cancer treatment and provides individuals with the necessary financial support. Cancer insurance should not be confused with a health insurance policy. A cancer insurance cover is a fixed benefit plan that offers payouts in the event the insured individual is diagnosed with cancer. Health insurance, on the other hand, pays for the actual medical and surgical expenses incurred by the insured individual. Furthermore, health policies come with sub-limits on the amount payable in different situations.
Why do you need it?
The data provided above (para 1), which is rather alarming, clearly shows the need to have a cancer insurance plan in place. The partial or lump sum payout received as claim amount from the cancer insurance policy can be used for paying the treatment expenses, consultation expenses, hospital stays etc. You can also use it to meet household, travel or any other kind of expenses.
Benefits of cancer insurance policy
- Covers all stages of cancer
- Benefits can be used in any manner that you want
- The sum insured is usually paid out on the first diagnosis of illness
- Some plans provide waiver of premium benefit under certain conditions like early stage cancer diagnosis
- Tax benefits can be claimed under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act
When you are looking around for a cancer insurance policy, you will find that there are several different options in the market. Some of the plans you can consider going for include:
ICICI Pru Heart / Cancer Protect
- The claim amount gets paid right away when the insured individual is detected with the illness.
- The policyholder has the option to choose cover for heart disease or cancer or both.
- The insurance company will take care of all the future premiums when the insured individual gets diagonsed with the cancer condition.
- The insured individual can opt for monthly income benefit.
SBI Life - Sampoorn Cancer Suraksha
- Premium waiver benefit is an in-built feature.
- The policyholder can choose among three benefit structures.
- Medical examination is not required.
- On diagnosis of early stage cancer, 30% of the sum assured is paid out as lump sum benefit.
- The policyholder can choose from three plan options - Gold, Silver and Platinum.
- In the event of diagnosis of early stage cancer, the insurer offers waiver of premium benefit.
- The platinum option offers monthly income equal to 1% of sum insured for 5 years should the policyholder be diagnosed of a major cancer.
The options are plenty, but before you go ahead with a cancer insurance plan, it is essential to go through all of its features, benefits and terms & conditions, so that you end up making an informed buying decision.
Here are the points to note while investing in a cancer insurance policy:
- Stages of Severity
Generally, the payout from such a policy is categorized into different stages of severity. The sum you stand to receive will come down to the severity of ailment, starting from early stage to severe stage. Make sure to look into the kind of benefits paid out by a cancer insurance policy at different stages and accordingly choose which plan to go ahead with. Usually, such plans pay out a percentage of the sum insured when cancer is detected at an early stage and 100% of the sum insured in case of the major stage. Besides this, some covers also require the insured to survive a certain number of days (usually 7) from the date of diagnosis of cancer before any payout can be made.
- Waiting Period Clause
Sometimes people tend to overlook the waiting period clause and just focus on the benefits they are getting. It is always advisable to go for those policies where the waiting period is less. There is the initial waiting period, which can go up to 180 days from the time of policy purchase. A claim cannot be filed during this period. In addition to this, some insurance companies have a survival period clause wherein an insured individual has to survive a certain number of days (usually 7) from the date of diagnosis of cancer to receive any payout. HDFC Life Cancer Care Insurance and LIC’s cancer cover are some of the policies where you can find a 7-day survival period clause.
- Policy Term
The policy term is another important factor to be considered while choosing a cancer insurance cover. A good cancer plan is one that covers all stages of cancer and has a long policy term. With a wider policy term, you will be covered for a long period of time and you can benefit from paying the same rate for the entire duration of the cover.
- Adequate Reimbursements
You need to ensure that the policy that you choose provides adequate reimbursement for medical expenses and the bills that you bear for treatments. It is always better to be over-insured rather than under as this would reduce the burden should you ever get diagnosed with cancer. Before availing a cover, make sure to get an estimate on the ideal coverage amount. The plan that you opt for needs to include the spectrum of health care taken at home, all of the expenses incurred on medication and loss of remuneration in case you are not able to go to work.
Finally, whether or not you get a cancer insurance plan is your decision entirely. Take into consideration your lifestyle, environment and overall health condition. If cancer runs in your family or you feel as if there might be a chance you could get diagnosed with it in the future (in case of smoking, alcohol consumption, etc.), it is definitely recommended that you get a cancer insurance cover. Although you may feel as if this cover isn't something you need right now, it is useful to have it in place and should the doctor detect it at any point, you'll be better prepared. A cancer insurance policy can protect you from a financial breakdown if ever you get diagnosed with this ailment. Consider buying the plan early to benefit from lower premiums.
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