There is a good chance that you know someone who has suffered from cancer. If you compare times from a decade ago, cancer has become way more common. Doctors usually link increased cancer patients to modern lifestyles, tobacco usage, food additives, processed foods, and air pollution.
Also, cancer is a lifestyle disease that is dreaded by the privileged and the underprivileged. This is because the diagnosis may not be directly connected with anything you may have done, followed or not followed. Fitness enthusiasts, sportsmen, celebrities who have spent their entire life taking care of their health have fallen to cancer. Yuvraj Singh was at this pinnacle, rated the man of the series in the historical world cup win in 2011. In the same year, he was also diagnosed with a rare lung cancer.
The NCRP Report by the ICMR states that cancer cases in India are likely to increase to 15.7 Lakhs by 2025 from 13.9 Lakhs in 2020. And, the treatment for cancer is neither easy nor cheap. The report predicts that this trend will not slow anytime soon, so treatment costs will only continue to soar in future as well.
How can you cover such huge expenses? Is there a policy that covers cancer specifically? In such a scenario, should you buy a cancer-specific policy or a critical illness policy?
Let's find answers to all these questions and more.
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What is a Cancer Cover Policy?
A cancer care policy or a cancer protection plan is a policy that covers the risk associated with getting diagnosed with cancer. Cancer will be covered in its early, major, and advanced stages under this plan.
These policies provide you with a lump sum amount based on the diagnosis, that can be used to cover cancer treatment expenses.
Why Do You Need A Cancer Cover Policy?
Cancer Cases Are On The Rise
As discussed, cancer is on the rise Cancer is a multifactorial disease, just like diabetes and heart disease. As discussed before, although the causes are unclear, some of the causes suggested by the medical fraternity include an unhealthy lifestyle, habits - drinking, smoking, pollution, and lack of exercise.
The cases are surging every day, and if projections are accurate, they will continue to rise. We cannot predict the future, but we can adopt a healthy lifestyle and be financially prepared with a cancer cover policy.
A Cancer Treatment Costs A Fortune
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are among the most expensive cancer treatments. Cancer treatment usually involves a combination of surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, or vice versa, depending on the type and the stage of the disease.
Hence, the entire treatment is likely to wipe out your savings at once. You can therefore use your cancer cover policy as a safety net against large hospital bills.
It Can Serve As An Income Replacement
Cancer may require you to quit or curtail your employment to receive treatment. In addition to losing your income, you will have to deal with the exorbitant costs of treating the illness.
A cancer cover policy provides a lump sum that can be used for treatment expenses as well as other financial needs.
It Cover All Stages Of Cancer
A cancer policy is specially designed to cover the huge expenses incurred during treatment, and by choosing a suitable cancer cover policy you can get the right financial support.
Depending on the stage of the disease, the level of treatment will vary and so will the costs. The cancer cover policy will cover your expenses regardless of the stage of the disease.
What Is Covered Under A Cancer Cover Policy?
All Stages Of Cancer
Comprehensive cancer policies cover all stages of cancer and offer coverage for hospitalisation, inpatient care, daycare expenses, ambulance coverage, organ donor coverage, etc.
Chemotherapy And Radiotherapy
The policy covers chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Chemotherapy is the most commonly used treatment for cancer and the most expensive one. Expenses incurred on chemotherapy and radiotherapy will be covered by a cancer care policy.
Second Medical Opinion
When it comes to life-threatening diseases like cancer, you should learn as much as possible about the diagnosis, treatment, side effects of the medicine, etc. These treatments can have life-changing effects. Therefore, it is advisable to seek a second medical opinion before committing to a treatment course. A second medical opinion is an additional opinion from a doctor besides the one treating your diagnosed illness or injury.
Insurers like Star Health also cover second medical opinions under their cancer cover policies.
What Is Not Covered Under A Cancer Cover Policy?
Cancer Resulting From Sexually Transmitted Disease
The policy doesn’t cover cancer caused by sexually transmitted diseases. For example, if cancer is caused by HIV, it will not be covered under the policy.
Cancer Caused By Intoxication
The insurance won't cover cancer caused by intoxicating substances such as alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.
For example, Raj is diagnosed with third-stage lung cancer and the cause is traced back to his long-term smoking habit. He requires aggressive chemotherapy to treat the disease. In this case, his policy will not cover the treatment costs as his disease is a result of chronic smoking.
Cancer Resulting From Congenital Conditions
Congenital conditions are medical conditions present from birth. For example, congenital heart disease, down syndrome etc. Cancer because of these congenital conditions will not be covered.
Note: Apart from the exclusions mentioned above, insurers may have varying additional exclusions.
What Is A Critical Illness Cover?
A critical illness is any serious illness, sickness, or disease that attacks a vital organ and is potentially life-threatening or irreversible such as cancer, stroke etc.
Anyone can succumb to a critical illness (especially if you have a family history of critical illnesses) and it requires extensive and expensive treatment. The importance of being financially prepared for such unforeseen circumstances cannot be overstated. A Critical Illness Cover is that preparation. It protects you financially if you are diagnosed with one of the listed serious diseases, including cancer.
This cover provides you with a lump sum amount that can be used to cover medical expenses, such as long-term medical treatments, medical equipment for assistance, etc.
Why Do You Need A Critical Illness Cover?
A critical illness might require you to quit your job as the treatment might require you to take time off work. Besides losing your earnings, you may have to handle the high cost of the medical treatment. With the lump sum provided by the critical illness cover, you can cover the staggering costs of the treatments
This lump sum can also be used -
As an income replacement to cover your family needs.
To cover the costs associated with lifestyle changes, home modifications like renovating your home to incorporate a wheelchair or installing oxygen tanks.
It also provides coverage for medical expenses that are not covered by health insurance.
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What Does A Critical Illness Plan Cover?
A critical illness will provide coverage for all the listed life-threatening diseases. The plan will provide a lump sum payout on the diagnosis of any health conditions listed in the policy as critical illness.
Critical illnesses covered by the plan include cancer of specified severity, angioplasty, heart attack, kidney failure, etc.
Note: A detailed list of diseases covered under the plan can be found in the policy documents. Ensure you go through the policy wordings thoroughly.
Please check our article on Critical Illness Rider or Standalone Critical Illness Policy to learn more.
Having learned the differences between a Cancer Cover policy and a Critical Illness policy, we are confident you can go ahead and choose whichever is the right one for you. Ensure you read your policy wordings carefully to learn the scope of coverage and the benefits.