The treatment cost for cancer can be anywhere between 8 and 25 lakh rupees. It is no wonder that over 45% of families with one cancer patient face catastrophic costs, and around 25% are pushed into poverty.

If you have an insurance policy that specifically covers cancer, this financial burden becomes much lighter.Unfortunately, awareness of this problem is not sufficiently widespread and as a result only two mainstream insurance providers have policies targeting cancer: HDFC Life and Aegon Life.

1. HDFC Life Cancer Care

The minimum coverage under this plan is Rs.10 lakhs which is paid out to the insured in two stages, 25% at early stage diagnosis and 75% at major cancer stage. This is called base benefit. If there is no early stage diagnosis, the latter payout becomes 100%. This policy comes with 3 options:

Silver

Gold

Platinum

Base benefit as described above

Base benefit +

Base benefit +

 

Increase benefit: sum insured increases by 10% every year, after the first anniversary of policy purchase till it double OR it is claimed

Increase benefit +

 

 

Income benefit: 1% of sum insured every month, for 5 years after the diagnosis of a major cancer.

 

A premium waiver for 3 years is given after early diagnosis under all three plans. Annual premium for a coverage of Rs.10 lakhs option will cost Rs.1794 under the Gold and Rs.2618 under the Platinum option, for a 35 year-old male. But their maximum coverage is only 20 years. So if you purchase a policy at the age of 35, it will remain active only till the age of 55. Rates of women are higher than men (x 1.2 at the base level), but here the difference is much less. The sum insured may increases by 10% for every claim free year upto 200%.

2.  Aegon Life iCancer Insurance Plan

Minimum coverage is Rs.10 lakhs which can be paid out in 3 stages. A big selling point for Aegon’s offering is that it gives full premium waiver option after a successful claim under the major stage. The division of payment goes like this:

 

Minor stage (A)

Major Stage (B)

Depending on the stage of your diagnosis, payout will either be according to A, B or C divisions. Critical Stage (C)

Minor stage

25% of coverage

 

 

Major Stage

75% of coverage

100% of coverage

 

Critical Stage

50% of coverage

50% of coverage

150% of coverage

 

The premium for a coverage of RS.20 lakhs bought at the age of 40 for 20 years, is Rs.5300. Their maximum policy term is till the age of 70. Again, their rates for women are higher than that for men by approximately the same margin as HDFC’s offering (x1.2).

As you can see, each of these plans come with its own benefits and drawbacks. HDFC Life Cancer Care considers two major events in cancer treatment and offers two substantial cancer-survival benefits under the Platinum plan. Aegon Life iCancer Insurance Plan combines waiver benefits with a longer premium period. 

In the end, HDFC emerges as the best choice overall because it offers limited premium waiver, survival-benefits and good rates for women.As 71% of all cancer-related deaths take place between the ages of 30 and 69, the 20 year coverage period is likely to take care of most of your needs.