Cancer can affect anyone at any time. Not only in India, but there is a general alarming increase in the number of cancer cases across the globe and researches and studies say that the number would keep on increasing and there is less chance of cancer to be curbed given the population increase across worldwide. In India, in the year 2016 the numbers of cancer cases were 14 lakhs and by the year 2020 they say that it is likely to see a tremendous surge and go till 17.6 lakhs. And more than 70-80% is caused due to environmental factors as opposed to the belief that cancer is due to genetical factors. Even if diagnosed the treatment can be pretty expensive and for a layman the expense and the pain that causes is more than enough to bring him down. But if you take up steps to stay financially prepared, then half the struggle is taken care of.

The word itself is scary and fear is something that will not help anyone undergoing this. If they are ready - physically, mentally and financially – then they can fight this deadly disease. A cancer insurance plan to meet this expensive treatment can soften the blow as the treatment expenses vary anywhere between 2.5 lakh rupees to 20 lakhs for a six month treatment depending upon the stages of cancer and the treatment. A point to be noted here is skin cancer is not covered by most of the insurance service provider out there.

Different Stages of Cancer:

There are different insurance policies that cater to the different stages of cancer. The four stages of cancer are mentioned below.

  • Carcinoma In Situ(CIS)
  • Early stage
  • Major stage
  • Critical stage

The main factor the people have to keep in mind while opting for an insurance plan is whether the plan covers pay-outs at all the stages. Taking into account of the benefits that are applicable stage wise is also a good option to compare policies. Cancer insurances are generally meant to cover the medical expense related to the treatment of cancer and often does not offer death benefit.

Certain plans will have higher premium, where the pay-outs will increase by 10% every year till up to a certain fixed pay-out. Certain insurance policies will also offer a waiver on all further premiums upon further diagnosis. Picking out such policies will be economical at a longer run. Getting clarified about the regular income benefit is also necessary. A cancer insurance plan should be taken along with a health insurance plan or opting for a well-covered health policy and adding the special clause of cancer insurance is also an option.

Let us take a look at the five best cancer insurance plan India has:

1. Max Life Cancer Insurance Plan:

This has benefits that spreads over the first three stages – the CIS, the early stage and the major stage. In the first two stages, 20% of the index sum insured is paid as lump sum benefit and all the future payable benefits are written off. Remaining amount is payable if the cancer doesn’t get cured and develops into the critical stage. If the cancer is first deducted at the major stage, the full cover amount will get paid and an additional income of 10% will be given for the next five years. This insurance covers for the cancers in the following organs – breasts, vulva, ovary, rectum, urinary tract. This policy does not cover the pre-existing conditions that may lead to cancer (pre-cancerous or related conditions), cancer contributed by sexually transmitted diseases or cancer caused by alcohol or nuclear contamination. Claims documents from outside India are acceptable by this insurance provider, given that the documents are in English. This policy is eligible for 20 years (Long term) and the age limit covered will go as high as 75 years. This plan actually covers smokers too.

2. Aegon Life iCancer Insurance Plans:

This insurance covers the all the stages of cancer. In the minor and CIS stage, each claim would get the benefit of 25% of the sum assured to a maximum limit which is usually 5 lakh rupees per claim. There won’t be any waiving off of the future claims at this time. In the major stage, after subtracting the amount of the previous claims, 100% of the claims would be paid and all other further payable premiums will be waived off. At the final stage, critical stage, 150% of the claims is paid out after deducting the previous claims pay-outs. Claims for multiple unrelated cancer is possible through this insurance. This gives you the flexible option of paying the premium monthly or yearly. Buying it online is convenient and can be accessed easily anywhere and at any time. This policy waives off the further premiums if the cancer is deducted at the major stage. The pay-out gets accumulated as the cancer advances to severe stages. This policy gives 25% of the assured sum for minor stage detection and 100% of the assured sum if detected at the major stage.

3. HDFC Life Cancer Care Plan:

HDFC offers three variants of cancer insurance plan – Silver, Gold and platinum and the premiums and benefits differ for each. For silver, in the early or the CIS stage of the cancer, the premiums are waived off for the next three years and 25% of the sum insured will be paid out. In the major stage, the complete percentage will be paid out. In the gold plan, along with the silver benefits, the sum insured will face a raise of 10% every year till a claim arises or till it goes up to 200% of the initial sum insured. Platinum plan is an addition to the gold plan where a monthly amount equal to one percent of the sum insured will be paid for the next five years of policy, starting from the major stage of cancer diagnosis.

4. SBI - Sampoorn Cancer Suraksha:

The life insurance wing of State Bank of India has launched this policy, which assures you a cancer cover starting at 50 rupees to 600 rupees per year. The standard option cover the minor and the major stages of cancer; classic covers the minor, major and the advance stage of cancer and the enhanced covers the all the stages and the sum assured will be reset along with that. Buying this policy online, gives you a 5% discount. The minimum and maximum sum assured varies from 10 lakhs to 50 lakhs and the term is from 5 to 10 years. A child with the minimum age of 6 years and maximum of 17 years and an adult with the minimum age of 18 years and the maximum age of 65 years will be eligible to buy this insurance. This claim will be rejected if the cancer is deducted within 180 days of buying or renewing the policy and if the policy holder dies off within 5 days from the date of diagnosis. This policy supplements the health insurance. There is no need of a medical test before buying this policy but also offers a free medical second opinion if cancer is detected after the purchase of the insurance. If the policy holder is not happy with this insurance, they can return it within 15-30 days of the receipt of the policy document with a valid reason.

5. Bharati Axa Cancer Insurance:

This insurance also covers all the stages of cancer and this does not require a medical check-up prior to the policy purchasing. Coverage up to 5 lakhs is possible through this plan while the plans start from a minimum assured sum of 2 lakhs to a maximum assured sum of 30 lakhs. The eligibility age group for this policy is 18-65 years and the policy term can run from 10 years to 40 years. The number of times you can claim during the policy tenure is 3. The whole of basic sum assured is payable in this plan. This plan also covers skin cancer. Severe cancer stages are also covered by this policy. All costs include chemotherapy, radiation costs, hospitalization and surgery costs.   

It may sound a little odd, to get an insurance for a disease that may or may not come and some might even think this as jinxing the nature or bringing this upon ourselves. But with a disease like cancer it won’t hurt us to be prepared. It is not fair challenging the nature while we all know how it works. Nature is unpredictable. And cancer is also such a disease. So it should be mandatory that we, along with our general health insurance policy, should start opting for cancer coverage so that even if our mental strength might take a hit in the case where the cancer sets in, our financial strength would be waiting in the name of an insurance!