Health Insurance Plans for Critical Illness

Maybe you have already secured your health with a general health insurance policy that covers hospitalization costs in case the need arises. It makes common sense to do so. But have you ever given it a thought that such a basic health insurance plan may still leave you in a cash crisis in case a critical illness is diagnosed?

Going beyond the hospital expenses, there are several incidental expenses that accompany critical illnesses. Specialized care, consultation with doctors, and so on – would require you to go beyond the scope and limitation of a general health insurance plan.  Further, how about the post-diagnosis and treatment scenario, where you are unable to continue your home run with the high salary package? It would not be advisable to let go of your savings or deplete your investments instead.

Consider the case of Kartik who was diagnosed with cancer at a time when he was looking at a career move that would elevate his position in the office. His health insurance policy that was supposed to take care of the related treatment expenses was something he counted on to cover him in such a scenario.

But, to his disappointment, it only covered his hospitalization expense and left him clueless on the financing of his treatment and related high costs in this case of a serious disease like cancer showing up unexpected. In effect, being covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan will not necessarily solve your problems in the unfortunate case of your being diagnosed with a critical illness like Kartik.

What is Critical Illness?

It is a condition so severe that it incapacitates an individual to lead a normal lifestyle and the treatment of this disease may necessitate out of the ordinary investment in money. The inability to work of the patient may result in loss of income as well.

Such critical diseases as tumors and strokes that may not necessarily show up without prior warning in all health cases are financially, physically as well as emotionally trying. Forego the stress on your savings and peace of mind, and go for a critical illness cover.

Many health insurance providers offer health insurance plans for critical illness:

  1. Religare Health Insurance
  2. Bharti AXA
  4. Max Bupa Health Insurance Plan
  6. ICICI Lombard Health Insurance

Let us compare the premium costs when someone goes for both health insurance and critical illness cover separately. There is hardly any noticeable difference in the amount. While a regular health insurance policy premium lands at almost 7000 per year for a thirty-plus woman covered for around six lakh rupees, the premium for her critical illness policy is around 1800. Hence, going for a cover of both health insurance and critical illness of six lakhs and of around twelve to fifteen lakh rupees would not make the premium go up sharply as opposed to the benefits of having both the covers.

Take a look at some of the factors to be considered when you choose a critical illness insurance policy.

So how much cover do I need for Critical Illnesses?

What do you think is the ideal coverage – twenty to thirty lakhs or one crore rupees? This is one question you must ask yourself – How much cover? Take a look around you. Have any of your family members suffered from a critical illness? What was the total amount of money spent on the treatment? What other kinds of expenses could tag along with the diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment care of a patient in the case of a critical illness? It is time to find out and make an informed choice when selecting a critical illness plan.

Number of Illnesses Covered?

Why limit your choice to a factor such as the cost of premiums? One must bear in mind that the critical illness plan will only provide coverage in case the particular serious disease or condition is listed in the policy. Ensure that you are covered for the diseases that you consider important by checking if they are there in the list. It is also imperative to know the number of diseases covered.

Continued Cover Availability?

Some Critical Illnesses Policies, once you make a claim, the cover ceases, whereas, in some policies, the cover continues even after the claim, but in a reduced fashion, that excludes the illness for which the claim has been made.

Critical illness – a Rider to Life or Health Insurance or as a Standalone Policy?

Critical illness benefits may be availed of as a rider in the case of some life insurance plans and health insurance policies as well. Here, you must take into account the number of diseases covered and choose one according to your needs. Selected as a rider, the critical illness benefit comes with a waiting period of 90 days in most general health insurance policies, as against a standalone policy with a waiting period of usually 180 days. You may encounter variations in the premium also.

In case of policies such as PNB MetLife Endowment Savings Plan and the like, the life insurance cover offers a waiver of premium in case of 33 critical illnesses.

The intention of buying both health insurance and Critical illness insurance plans is to gain from the unique purpose of both types of plans that in effect supplement each other. Going in for a second layer of financial safeguard is a wise decision in this age of unpredictable health exigencies. Going for a health insurance plan for Critical Illnesses is your buffer against the unforeseen strikes by serious diseases on your health and the resultant financial stress.

We suggest that you look at health insurance and critical illness cover as your insurance against the unforeseen. But, you must try to go beyond. It is common sense to adopt healthy living practices and a change of lifestyles towards a better and longer health-filled, stress-free life. One must become proactive in taking care of your health as well. A diet with fresh fruit and vegetables, along with a daily fitness regime, and elimination of stress-causing elements can go a long way towards maintaining wellness, suggest doctors.

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