Mention of heart attack, cancer and paralysis instil fear among even the fittest and sprightliest human beings. Consider this: The National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020 estimated that cancer cases are likely to increase to 15.7 lakh by 2025. The report was released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Apart from emotional setbacks the critical illnesses can also lead to financial setbacks. Therefore, with the rising number of cases in the country, it is important to better buy an insurance plan to meet the escalating cost of treatment. There are both critical illness plans as well as disease-specific plans such as cancer insurance policies that one can consider for meeting the cost of treatment.
Before opting for such plans it is better to understand how these plans work and benefits being offered by them. For example, critical illness plans generally list 10-20 life-threatening illnesses and on diagnosis, the insurer pays the lump sum amount for treatment. At the time of buying, it is important to ask at what stage of the critical illness the policy reimburses. Similarly, for the disease, specific plans consider payouts for different stages. Secondly, evaluate benefits that are paid at each stage, including total benefits paid under the plan. Moreover, many such policies offer waiver of all future premiums once the condition is diagnosed. It is important to ask at what stage does the plan offers it. Also, if it is a fixed sum insured or the increasing sum insured plan.
Moreover, these plans may pay the lump-sum amount at different stages. For example, if 100 % of the sum insured is paid in the major stage, then the 25 % is paid at the early stage will be deducted from the final payment. Check the waiting period which could be from the date of buying the policy or from the date of diagnosis of the disease. There is also a survival period of 7-15 days in these plans.
Insurance covers the cost of hospitalisation at the time of the life-threatening disease. One can consider buying it for the enhanced protection of the family. However, the first step should always be to buy a basic health insurance policy.
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