The cancer burden in India is on the rise, with as many as 7.84 lakh deaths due to the disease recorded in 2018
Once considered a rare disease, cancer has become rather common today. The monstrous illness can physically affect the patient and take a toll on their mental well-being too. When one is diagnosed with cancer, there is no telling whether surgery will suffice or whether the treatment will be prolonged. Moreover, cancer treatment is generally expensive in India. As such, it has become incredibly essential to invest in the right health insurance policies. Your general health policy may not be sufficient, and you may end up paying a considerable amount of money from your own pockets. Thus, it is better to invest in a separate cancer care health policy. Here's everything you should know about cancer care health insurance.
What is a cancer care policy?
As the name suggests, a cancer care health insurance policy is a specialised policy that one can encash when one is diagnosed with cancer. You do not have to use your general health policy and can encash the cancer policy to seek treatment. Such a plan typically comes with incredibly high sums assured, thereby enabling you to seek the best treatment, from the best oncologists. Since cancer is the kind of disease in which a patient may need more than just surgery – for instance, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the policy helps pay for those additional treatment costs as well.
Who should invest in a cancer care policy?
As mentioned above, cancer is no longer a rare disease. All of us know at least a few people who have battled cancer – some who've emerged victorious and others who've lost the battle to the horrible disease. A study by the American Cancer Society stated that cancer could likely be a genetic disease – much like diabetes. People whose parents and/or immediate family members have suffered from the disease are more likely to contract it in future. The research further states that age also plays a role here. It explains that the off-springs of people who've had cancer under the age of 60 are more likely to inherit the cancer gene than those whose parents have battled age-related cancer (i.e. after the age of 60 years). That said; if you have a family member who has battled the disease, it is recommended that you invest in a cancer care policy.
What kind of coverage is offered under cancer care policies?
In India, cancer care policies typically start with sums assured of ₹1,000,000. Most insurance providers offer maximum coverage of ₹5,000,000 for these policies. These high sums assured, enable the patient to undergo the entire course of treatment, without worrying about draining their personal savings. So, if one needs chemotherapy and radiation treatment, post-surgery, the treatment for the same can be availed by utilising the cancer care policy.
How do insurers determine the premium payable?
Typically, insurance providers do not charge high premiums for cancer care policies, especially if you purchase them when you are younger. You could end up paying anywhere between ₹6,000 and ₹10,000 per annum if you buy the policy in your 30s. Like with general insurance, the premiums can increase if you purchase these policies in your 40s and 50s. Also, insurance providers ask for your detailed information, and if you have had an immediate family member battle the disease (non-age related cancer), then your premium could increase. Note that since women are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, the insurers charge women policyholders a higher premium, than they do men.
Which types of cancers and stages are covered?
The pay-out you receive for cancer treatment is determined based on the stage of cancer you're battling. Typically, cancer is diagnosed in three stages – the pre-stage, the early stage and the critical stage. As a policyholder, it is essential that you analyse the pay-out at each stage and also whether it will be sufficient while buying cancer insurance. You must also check the types of cancers that are covered under your insurance plan and choose one which includes all the major types. Most cancer policies cover you against stomach cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, hypo larynx cancer, etc.
What is the waiting period? When can one encash the policy?
Whenever you buy any health insurance policy, you must factor in the waiting period. The same is true of cancer care policies as well. The waiting period for cancer insurance plans is generally quite short, i.e. 3 to 6 months. However, while buying the insurance plan, you must compare the sum assured, the premium payable and the waiting period and then select a policy accordingly.
Do insurers provide waivers on insurance premiums?
Another crucial thing you must check when you purchase a cancer care policy is if the insurer offers waivers on premiums when one is seeking cancer treatment. The waiver provides a financial cushion to the insured and their family since one is not obligated to pay insurance premiums during that stressful time.
Are there any income benefits for cancer patients?
Cancer is the kind of unwelcomed disease that can take months, if not years, to be rid. When one receives a diagnosis of cancer, the condition can affect one's productivity, thereby hindering their income. However, many insurance providers offer policies with monthly pay-outs, which can help patients and their families, receive the necessary financial support to pay for their daily expenses. While buying a cancer care health insurance policy, you must check if the insurer offers the income benefit and if they do, will the amount be sufficient to support your family. Final word:
Cancer is the kind of disease that affects not just the patient, but also their loved ones. There is no telling when one would be totally cured of the disease. Moreover, the condition can rear its ugly head at any time, i.e. it can reoccur. As such, it is essential to always be prepared, and an excellent way to do so is to invest in a cancer care health insurance policy.