How to choose between Disease-Specific and Critical Illness insurance plans

Published: February 21, 2019 3:34:33 PM

Considering the given scenario, Disease-Specific (DS) and Critical Illness (CI) insurance plans seem to be some of the best available options.

health insurance, health insurance plans, Disease Specific insurance plan, Critical Illness insurance plan, critical illness insurance policy, apollo munich critical illness, max bupa critical illnessA disease-specific plan provides cover for the cost of entire treatment of a specific disease at all stages including diagnosis stage to advanced treatment.

It’s never easy to pick the right health insurance plan especially with insurance companies offering a plethora of options to choose from, making the task all the more daunting. Adding to this are regular reports that highlight the fact that many diseases that were often encountered usually post 50 years of age have now begun to strike as early as in one’s 40s – just because of the stressful and unhealthy lifestyle that most follow.

Even GOQii – a popular fitness technology platform – in its past reports has stated that in India, three people out of 10 above the age of 30 suffer from a lifestyle disease that eventually escalates to critical health issues. The data submitted by World Life Expectancy suggests that there are over 30 million heart patients in India alone, while stroke, cancer, lung diseases and heart ailments continue to remain the key causes of deaths.

No doubt, innovative advancements in medical sciences have increased the chances of survival; it becomes equally important for one to be financially prepared to avail the offered facilities. No wonder, it’s imperative to prepare oneself for an exigency and the best option available is to buy an adequate insurance cover in place. Considering the given scenario, Disease-Specific (DS) and Critical Illness (CI) insurance plans seem to be some of the best available options.

Here is everything that you must know about each of these insurance plans that may help you to choose the right one for you and your family.

Disease-Specific Plan

As the name itself suggests, a disease-specific plan provides cover for the cost of entire treatment of a specific disease at all stages including diagnosis stage to advanced treatment. The key highlight of a disease-specific plan is that unlike a critical illness plan, it waives future premium of the insured under certain circumstances. Also, disease-specific plans are comparatively cheaper than critical illness covers as they are precisely designed for individuals looking for a low-cost insurance to cover a specific disease they may feel they are most prone to. People with a family history of a particular critical disease must buy a disease-specific plan along with a regular health insurance plan.

# What is covered?

A disease-specific plan provides coverage for a specific disease including cancer, diabetes, kidney ailments, cardiac ailments, hypertension, stroke and most recently even dengue at all stages — early or advanced. Such a plan helps in saving significantly on premium and also takes care of the financial burden in case of a life-threatening situation. The insured is paid a lump sum amount or the medical expenses are indemnified.

# How much to be insured?

If you need disease-specific insurance, it is important to know for what disease you wish to get insured. Although generally, a Rs 10-lakh sum assured is sufficient for most diseases, you may still go for a higher amount just to be mentally and financially secure. As with investing, educating yourself is essential to making the right choice.

# The waiting period

The waiting period in case of the disease-specific products is completely waived.

Here is a competitive analysis of the yearly premium for a disease specific cover of Rs 10 lakh for a 30-year-old non-smoker male residing in a metropolitan city.

*Source: www.policybazaar.com

Critical Illness Plan

Critical illness insurance plan is another financial plan specially designed to cover some specific critical illnesses including cancer, stroke, heart attack, organ transplant, severe burns and many more. Under the CI plan, the insurer pays a lump sum amount – equal to the sum insured – to the insured on acquiring any of the serious ailments mentioned above. The entire lump sum benefit can be used for the payment of the cost of care and treatment, recuperation expenses and even pay off any debt if any taken during the treatment.

# What is covered?

The number of critical illnesses covered by the insurers may vary. However, most insurers generally cover 8 to 20 major critical illnesses, including cancer, stroke, heart attack, organ transplant, kidney failure, aorta surgery, heart valve replacement, paralysis, loss of limbs, and loss of speech. The coverage amount is generally anywhere from Rs 1 lakh upwards.

# How much to be insured?

It is quite known that the entire cost of critical ailments typically crosses several lakhs. Industry experts suggest that one must always look at buying the policy depending on a few important factors like family history, type of job, medical inflation and age. In general, it is suggested to take a cover of or above Rs 10 lakh considering the current healthcare costs.

# The waiting period

Generally, the policyholder needs to survive for 30 days after the diagnosis of the critical illness to make a claim. However, some companies even provide policies with zero or 28 days surviving period. Talking about the waiting period, it is mostly the first 90 days after the policy is issued. Claims made within 90 days are not covered under the policy.

Here is a competitive analysis of the yearly premium for a CI cover of Rs 10 lakh for a 30-year-old non-smoker male residing in a metropolitan city.

*Source: www.policybazaar.com

(By Vaidyanathan Ramani, Head-Product and Innovation, Policybazaar.com)

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