How critical illness insurance can protect you from high cancer treatment costs

November 7, 2020 12:14 PM

Critical illness insurance policies provide financial support to the insured if they are diagnosed with cancer.

It is important to opt for a health insurance plan at the earliest and not let any unforeseen hospitalisation claims eat up your hard-earned retirement savings.

As we observe the National Cancer Awareness Day across the country to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment, it is imperative to point out that Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide – only after cardiac diseases. It has stood invincible against the best of medical facilities for long. Lifestyle changes, environmental decline, and a slew of other factors have made us more susceptible to cancer, which causes a whopping 71% of deaths in the age group of 30-70 years, according to the World Health Organization. The worst thing about any cancer is that it is already too late if the symptoms start showing. When staged at this critical period of one’s battle against cancer, the best thing one can do is to lead a healthy lifestyle by refraining from cancer-inducing substances.

People die daily due to tobacco-induced diseases, and one woman every day dies a vulnerable death at the hands of cervical cancer. While there are quite a few forms of cancer recognized in the medical study of the diseased – colorectal, lung, breast, stomach, and prostate cancer are the ones most repeatedly identified in India.

However, with time and rapid scientific developments, cancer has been proven tamable if detected early. But even with all the sophisticated screening and cancer treatment facilities made available, it does not spare the victim and their families from a harrowing experience of emotional and economic havoc that the treatment entails.

What’s worse, with an increase in cancer risk amongst the masses, the treatment expenses have also become exorbitant in recent years. In fact, cancer treatment costs are so prohibitively high that they can deplete someone’s complete life savings. The expenses are higher if a patient needs treatment abroad. This is why it’s more important than ever to have a good critical illness insurance cover that will help make the hospitalization process easier on you financially.

Critical illness insurance policies provide financial support to the insured if they are diagnosed with cancer. Usually, a critical illness policy covers several costs associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment, including hospitalization, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, blood transfusion, nursing care, and the cost of prescribed medicines, among others. A critical illness cover pays the sum assured all at once on being diagnosed with a severe ailment that counts as a critical illness, irrespective of the hospital charges. The policyholders are free to use the amount as they need.

It is especially worth considering opting for a critical illness policy if one has a family history of cancer or if people believe that they are at greater risk of developing cancer due to environmental, lifestyle, or other reasons. If anybody’s regular health insurance policy does not provide coverage for cancer-related treatments, then a critical illness cover is a must. Critical illness policy provides coverage for different cancer stages, and the lump-sum benefit is paid when diagnosed with cancer. Not only this, the premium is waived post-diagnosis, and a fixed monthly income benefit is provided for a fixed number of years.

However, make sure that your insurance provider has a large hospital network coverage, if possible a worldwide one as specific cancer treatments may need you to travel overseas. As a thumb rule, ensure that you take protection of around 10 times your annual income as your Sum Insured for critical illness. Also check for various claim payout options such as lump sum payout upon diagnosis or a staggered payout that will give you monthly installments helping you cover your expenses while you courageously fight the disease.

Nobody wants to think about the likelihood of getting a cancer diagnosis. It instills fear and a sense of vulnerability in the hearts and minds of the affected. But it is essential and always helpful to have a critical illness cover that gives some hope and peace of mind of mind to the insured.

This National Cancer Awareness Day, let us all resolve to stand against this looming threat by adopting healthy habits of exercising regularly, sticking to a nutritious diet and giving up on tobacco and alcohol addictions irretrievably, and investing in a good critical illness policy to protect one’s savings from being drained out in case of a medical emergency.

(By Prasun Sikdar, MD & CEO, ManipalCigna Health Insurance Company Ltd)

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