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Oct 31, 2017 10:26 AM IST | Source:

Why it is wise to opt for a cancer insurance policy

The rising incidence of cancer, coupled with high treatment costs, necessitate a cancer insurance policy.

Adhil Shetty

Urban living and health ailments go hand in hand. While diabetes and hypertension are common, another ailment became prevalent is cancer. Cancer cases are on the rise. While females are seeing rising incidence of breast cancer, males are increasingly falling victim to prostate cancer and lung cancer.

Is there a solution to this problem? Actually, there isn’t. Besides maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, you have no power over cancer. The disease might strike anyone at any time. If you want to protect yourself against the financial implications of cancer, a cancer insurance policy is a must. If you want to know why then here are two reasons for you to ponder on.

One – the incidence of cancer is high. I have mentioned this earlier but now let’s back my statement with some numbers. According to the National Cancer Registry Program conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, popularly called ICMR, more than 1300 Indians die every day due to cancer.

In two years, from 2012 to 2014, the cancer mortality rate has increased by 6%. (Source: ) In fact, ICMR believes that there would be more than 17 lakh new cases of cancer incidence in our country by 2020 – a year we’re fast approaching.

The incidence of cancer is increasing. So you need an insurance plan when God forbid, you or someone from your family gets this deadly disease.

Two – the treatment costs are exorbitant. To say that treating cancer is expensive is an understatement. Thanks to medical inflation, treatment costs are at an all-time high. Cancer, being a critical illness, requires intensive treatments which continue even after surgery. Such treatments are financially draining. The costs are so high that the average middle-class family would find it to be a financial nightmare. A cancer insurance plan, however, helps cover the costs of treating cancer. The plan thus saves you the financial crisis.

So rising incidence of cancer coupled with high treatment costs necessitates a cancer insurance policy. There are three ways of buying cancer insurance which are described below.

A Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan

Cancer treatment is covered under a health insurance plan. If you buy the plan, you not only get coverage for the treatments and surgeries associated with cancer, you also get coverage for chemotherapy under Day Care Treatments. Moreover, you get coverage for pre- and post-hospitalization expenses too. Thus, a comprehensive health insurance policy helps you cover the financial implication of cancer.

A Critical Illness Plan

A critical illness plan covers a list of specified illnesses. If you are diagnosed with any of the covered illness during the term of the plan, the critical illness plan pays the sum insured as a lump sum. Cancer is also a critical illness which is covered by almost all critical illness plans. When you are diagnosed with cancer, the plan pays you the sum insured in lump sum irrespective of the actual cost of treatments. This money can be used by you either to avail treatments or for meeting any other financial obligations.

A Cancer-specific Health Plan

There are health insurance plans in the market which are designed specifically for cancer. These plans cover all the stages of cancer and pay the benefits depending on the stage of cancer you have been diagnosed with. These plans are also like critical illness plans since they pay the sum insured as a lump sum. The money can be used any way you like.

How To Choose

The ideal combination would be to buy a health insurance plan, and supplement it with either a critical illness or a cancer insurance plan. While your health plan would give you comprehensive coverage for different treatments associated with cancer, a critical illness/cancer specific plan would pay lump sum money. This money could be used to pay for extra medical costs or for any other financial liabilities.

Points To Note

The sum insured under a cancer insurance plan should be sufficient since treating cancer treatment is cash-intensive.

Buy a plan young to get a lower premium.

Understand the finer details of the coverage to know exclusions and avoid unpleasant surprises.

Cancer has become a menace, and if you were to fight back financially, a cancer insurance plan is a must. So, arm yourself with a plan before the disease strikes.

(The writer is CEO,

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