Cancer is one of the biggest demons that the world faces today. This highly fatal disease takes a physical as well as a financial toll on the patient and the family. However, you can save yourself from the financial burden of cancer treatment with the help of cancer insurance. Know what to look for in health insurance for cancer plans.
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Cancer is an expensive disease to treat. Whether a person is diagnosed with early-stage cancer or an advanced stage, the treatment may go on for a long time. Regular doctor visits, diagnostic tests, never-ending medicines and treatments like chemotherapy can slowly deplete your lifelong savings.
The only way to afford the best cancer treatment without letting your savings go dry is by covering yourself under a health insurance plan for cancer. Such plans cover the medical expenses incurred on the treatment of cancer. As a result, you do not have to worry about arranging money for the treatment and can focus completely on getting cured.
Here are a few things that you must look for while buying a health insurance plan for cancer:
Insurance companies in India offer two types of health insurance plans for cancer – benefit plans and indemnity plans. In the case of a cancer benefit plan, the entire sum insured is paid to the policyholder in a lump sum as soon as the disease is diagnosed. On the other hand, a cancer indemnity plan reimburses the medical expenses incurred on the treatment of cancer up to the sum insured limit.
However, the insured must survive the survival period to receive the claim amount under the cancer benefit plan. On the other hand, a claim is honoured under a cancer indemnity plan after the waiting period is over.
Since cancer treatments cost a lot of money right from diagnosis to procedures like chemotherapy and radiation, you must look for a cancer insurance plan that comes with a higher sum insured amount. The sum insured amount decides how much financial support will your insurance company provide you in case of a cancer diagnosis. It is the maximum amount that your insurer will pay during a claim.
So if you choose a lower sum insured, the money may not be sufficient to cover your cancer treatment expenses. As a result, your out-of-pocket expenses will increase, which will ultimately exhaust all your savings.
Unfortunately, most health insurance plans for cancer in India do not provide coverage to existing cancer patients. They allow you to buy a cancer insurance plan only if you have no prior history of cancer. This is because existing cancer patients are more likely to raise a claim as they have a higher chance of a relapse. Thus, your health insurance application may get rejected if you are a cancer survivor.
However, a couple of cancer insurance plans, like Star Health Insurance for Cancer, have started providing coverage to existing cancer patients. Thus, you must look for a plan that covers your cancer treatment expenses even if you are a cancer survivor.
All health insurance for cancer plans come with a waiting period. Only after the waiting period is over, the insurance company will accept your claim for cancer treatment. The waiting period for cancer coverage may vary from as low as 30 days to as high as 30 months.
Thus, while buying a cancer insurance plan, you must check the waiting period for cancer coverage and should opt for a plan with a lower waiting period. You must also look for any other waiting period applicable to the policy.
Apart from the waiting period, you must also check the survival period of health insurance for cancer plans. The survival period is a time period set by the insurance company that the policyholder must survive after a cancer diagnosis to avail the policy benefits. It may range from 7 days to 30 days.
Thus, make sure to opt for a plan that comes with a lower survival period so that you can claim your cancer treatment expenses at the earliest.
Some health insurance plans for cancer may also impose a co-payment clause. With this clause, you will be bound to pay a part of the claim amount during claim settlement while the rest of the amount will be paid by the insurance company.
However, a higher co-payment would mean a bigger amount has to be paid during claim settlement. Hence, you must check for any co-payment clause that may apply to the plan while buying.
While buying a health plan for cancer, you must check for certain benefits that allow you to increase your sum insured after buying the policy. For instance, the restoration benefit for the same disease will reinstate your original sum insured amount if you exhaust the entire amount due to single or multiple cancer claims.
Similarly, the No Claim Bonus will increase your sum insured amount if you do not raise a claim during the previous policy year. Thus, your sum insured amount will increase without an increase in the premium.
A few health insurance plans for cancer may also come with sub-limits on cancer treatment. This would mean that the insurance company will cover the cost of cancer treatment up to a certain limit only. For instance, a plan with a sum insured of Rs 1 crore may come with a sub-limit of Rs 10 lakh.
Since it restricts the coverage offered by the insurance company, you must go for a plan that does not come with any sub-limit.
At the time of buying a cancer insurance plan, you must go through the exclusions carefully. Doing so will help you to be aware of the treatments and situations that are not covered under the policy. Consequently, it will prevent any surprises in the future and prevent your claim from getting rejected.
For example, experimental cancer treatments are not covered under most plans. So, if you have been through your policy exclusions, you can get your cancer cured through a treatment procedure, which is covered under your cancer policy.
Buying a health insurance plan for cancer is necessary for everyone today when cancer is growing at an alarming rate. But unless you buy the right policy, you will not be able to get optimal financial support from your insurance company and will end up exhausting your savings on your cancer treatment. Thus, make sure to check the above-mentioned things while buying a cancer health insurance plan to make an informed decision.
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