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How does critical illness insurance secure cancer patients financially?

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance  

You can’t make yourself immune to cancer but can provide immunity to your finances

Chances are you might not have heard about critical illness insurance cover or may have confused it with a regular health insurance. And if you have purchased one, we all wish that you don’t have to use it. The stressful lives we lead today, coupled with diet imbalance and unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, or even involuntary compulsions like pollution have made us more susceptible to health disorders and critical illnesses like cancer.

What’s alarming is that the occurrence of critical illnesses is on the rise in India. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s 2020 report reveals that India is likely to have over 17.3 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8.8 lakh cancer-led deaths by the end of the year. Cases of breast, lung and cervix cancers top the list.  

While the spike in the incidence of cancer is worrisome, equally distressing is the money required to battle the disease. The cost of medical care has increased multi-fold in the last few years. Did you know that the survival rate of cancer patients in India is the lowest in the world? This can be attributed to late diagnosis and lack of optimal treatment required to fight the illness. Even with early diagnosis, not everybody can access advanced medical facilities due to a lack of financial resources.

The cost of cancer care in India can go up to Rs. 20 lakh and more, depending on the type of cancer, the hospital and the medical treatment required. Cancer patients could take anywhere between a few months to a few years to recover. Late diagnosis can burn a hole in the pockets of the family as they struggle to provide treatment to the patient. The inflation in the medical costs could potentially wipe out a person’s entire life savings if no provisions are made. Considering the rising medical costs, it is imperative to have sufficient cover against these risks

This is where a critical illness insurance comes in to the picture.

Health insurance versus Critical Illness insurance plan

It is a common assumption that a comprehensive health insurance policy will be sufficient when it comes to covering the cost of cancer treatment. If you have been thinking your health insurance will cover the treatment cost, you might want to revisit your plan. A health insurance policy or Mediclaim will help you offset your medical expenses with regard to hospitalisation. It is a reimbursement plan and will only cover the cost of medical expenses incurred, up to the sum assured, subject to terms and conditions of your medical policy. A critical illness insurance plan does not deal with hospital bills but gives you financial protection.

How is it different from life insurance? Both, life insurance and critical illness insurance plans serve different purposes and vary in their mode of premium and claim procedures. As we know, life insurance pays the sum assured to the nominee of the insured person in case of an unfortunate death. In a critical illness plan, the insurance company will pay a lump sum amount upon diagnosis of a critical illness like cancer, heart ailment, covered under the health plan.

The lump sum received can be used by the policyholder to take care of expenses that might be incurred while they are unable to go to work, which could be months or years. Apart from hospital bills, it can be used to pay your house mortgage, loans, monthly bills, essential investments, and your day-to-day expenses without financial stress.

The gains

Still considering how it could benefit you? Below are the advantages of having a critical illness insurance plan:

          a. Lump sum payment: The insurance company will pay the insured a lump sum amount regardless of hospitalisation costs. If you are the sole breadwinner of the family, you could use this money to pay medical bills, any debts and monthly expenses as you recuperate from the illness.

          b. Hassle-free claim process: With cashless claim settlement at more than 6,500+ network hospitals around India, Bajaj Allianz’s critical illness insurance allows you to focus on recovering as they pay the bills directly to the network hospitals.

          c. Flexibility: The critical illness insurance plan by Bajaj Allianz gives the flexibility to increase the sum insured at the time of the policy’s renewal.

          d. Multiple options: The plans provide multiple sum insured options, ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50 lakh for the entire family from age 6 to 60 years. For those between the ages of 61 and 65 years, the sum insured ranges from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

          e. Tax benefits: Critical illness insurance plans offer tax benefits under 80D of the Income Tax Act.

          f. Easy payout: Policyholder stands to avail the payable benefit after the completion of the survival period of 30 days after being diagnosed with a critical illness.

How critical illness insurance secure cancer patients financially An illness like cancer can also hamper one’s earning capacity, and you could end up with debt. While none of us know what the future holds, it is best to be prepared for the worst. While you can’t make yourself immune to cancer, you can at least get a cover for your finances. There are many options to choose from - standalone policies to riders that can be added to your health insurance. Check out the features of a policy and the requirements of your family before purchasing it. Calculate the cost with a health insurance premium calculator and be relieved of any financial stress. If you are already insured under any other critical illness policy, you can switch to the Bajaj Allianz policy with all accrued benefits (after due allowances for waiting periods).

It is as important to maintain good health as it is to safeguard ourselves against possible health crises, and lead a life without worrying about the future!

Sources:

[1] http://nciindia.aiims.edu/en/cancer-statistics#:~:text=Indian%20Council%20of%20Medical%20Research,lakh%20new%20cases%20in%202020.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 9:22:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/brandhub/how-does-critical-illness-insurance-secure-cancer-patients-financially/article33184049.ece

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