Modern medical miracles have ensured that average lifespan of human beings are on the rise. Ironically, with an extended lifespan come increased risks of incurring critical illnesses including cancer. Leading research journals have uncovered that men born after 1960 have a 50 percent chance of developing cancer. Women have also become increasingly susceptible to breast cancer and ovarian cancer in recent decades. With increased degradation of the environment and evolving lifestyles incidences of lung cancer are also on the rise. Given this scenario and how hospital bills can spiral out of control, it is a good thing that certain insurance providers are now offering cancer insurance policies.

There are of course important caveats to these policies even if they provide a broad range of benefits. Skin cancer is generally not covered by providers. Also any cancers that stem directly or indirectly from HIV, AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases are not covered. This also applies to cancers that may arise out of pre-existing congenital conditions.

Cancer insurance is therefore best suited for individuals who believe that regular exposure to certain environments directly puts them in danger of developing a certain type of cancer.

Investing in cancer insurance: Benefits derived

Cancer insurance packages vary from one provider to another, even though overlapping features may be found in all. HDFC Life, for instance will offer the following benefits through the cancer care policy:

Sum assured increases by a specific percentage annually in case of no claims

Lumpsum amount is paid out on diagnosis of cancer

Discounts on premiums for sum assured above a certain amount (e.g. Rs 10 lakhs)

Monthly income upto a specific number of years (e.g. five years) under certain conditions like when diagnosed with major cancers

Waiver of premium under certain conditions like early stage cancer

 

Aegon Life iCancer plan for instance, also offers its own roster of specific benefits. The list includes:

Covers all stages of cancer, covers all types of cancer (except skin)

Wide age spectrum for eligibility: from 18 – 65 years last birthday

Benefit payments by stage                                                                                                    

150 % sum assured at critical stages

Premium waived once a claim is filed under the Major Stage Cancer Benefit

Note: Several unrelated cancers may be claimed by policy holders, but this is subject to underwriting decision

 

Additionally not only do cancer insurance plans come with a more reasonable price tag than generic critical illness policies, policy holders also qualify for tax benefits as per section 80D of the Income Tax Act of 1961 which makes the maintenance and payment of premiums easier for policy holders and their families.

Factors to keep in mind while purchasing cancer insurance

Investing in cancer insurance is a crucial preventive measure against unplanned financial burdens during medical emergencies. The benefits that carriers provide through their individual plans, while having many common strains, clearly provide wide ranging benefits for policy holders. It is important to weigh all options and make a careful, informed decision. The following are some of the crucial factors to keep in mind while purchasing cancer insurance:

  • Coverage: It goes without saying that the ideal insurance policy will provide coverage for treatments, medication, radiation therapy and all the specifics that come with planning for cancer insurance. Needless to say cancer treatments are extremely expensive and cancer insurance policies must provide adequate cushion against a financial blow.
  • Adequate Hospital Network:Cancer insurance policies should be acceptable at a broad network of hospitals. In case of an emergency the last thing family members need to worry about is whether they are eligible for care at the best medical facilities. Cancer insurance plans should provide for access to a broad range of hospitals and treatments.
  • Sum Assured:This is the most important part of the policy, the part that ensures policy holders are adequately reimbursed for their medical expenses and treatments. The hard part is choosing the correct financial coverage as being over insured would be a needless financial burden, and being under-insured would be detrimental in an emergency. Thus working out the ideal coverage amount requires a bit of thought.

In conclusion, the most important thing to keep in mind is individual needs and build out a care package that is best suited to the individual policy holder.