A regular health insurance policy is a blanket cover for most illnesses. However there are certain illnesses for which the hospitalization expenses can run very high and recovery time may as well be long. In such circumstances, regular health insurance cover may seem insufficient. Critical illness health insurance has been designed for these specific illnesses. They do not cover regular illnesses but rather are specifically for certain illnesses. Typically, on diagnosis of critical illness, a lump sum amount is paid to the insured regardless of actual hospitalization expenses.

These plans cover critical illnesses such as:

  • Cancer
  • Major Organ Transplant
  • Stroke
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Coronary Artery
  • Heart Attack
  • Kidney Failure
  • Paralysis

Different plans have different coverage so choose accordingly. Many plans have wider coverage in terms of covering more critical illnesses. 

Benefits of Opting for Critical illness cover:

  • Critical illness policy will pay a lump sum amount on diagnosis of critical illness. This amount is made available for use of insured in any way desired. So it can be used not only for treatment costs but for daily expenses since there can be income loss due to long recovery nature of these illnesses
  • Wide cover can be taken and premium amount is comparatively low.
  • No medical tests are required till age of 45 years
  • Tax benefits can also be availed under Section 80D. 

Survival Period Clause:

Many of critical illness covers have a survival period condition. This condition stipulates that insured has to survive a certain period (30 days-90 days) after diagnosis of critical illness only after which claim amount will become available. So be careful about this condition. However a few health insurance plans now have waived off this clause.

How they differ from regular health insurance plans?

Critical illness cover is for particular illnesses whereas health insurance is an umbrella cover. Regular health insurance plan will also cover hospitalization expenses as a result of critical illnesses too.  These days, health insurance policies have no age limits as most of them can be renewed lifelong. On the other hand, critical illness covers have age limits. Most critical cover have upper limit age cap of 50-60 years.  Critical illness policies have higher Sum Assured available at low premium since their coverage is limited to critical illnesses only.