Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

A critical illness policy generally covers cancer only of specified severity

Standard health insurance policies cover all kinds of cancer treatment. There are no exclusions for specific type of cancers

Is there a specific health insurance plan that covers all types of cancer treatment? If yes, is it wise to take such plans? What kind of health insurance will you suggest? I am 31 years old and do not have any health insurance cover at the moment. I have group insurance provided by the employer.

—Lalit Rekhi

Standard health insurance policies cover all kinds of cancer treatment. There are no exclusions for specific type of cancers. However, most policies exclude illness arising out of abuse of alcohol or drugs. I recommend that you buy a standard health insurance policy. Consider a plan with high no-claim bonus. In case of a medical emergency, you can use the employer provided group health insurance. This will allow you to augment your sum assured over the next few years.

Additionally, you may consider buying a critical illness insurance policy. Such policies typically cover cancer as an illness. In case you are diagnosed with cancer, the policy would pay you a lump sum. This lump sum is over and above the expenditure you would incur for hospitalization. The hospitalization expenses can be reimbursed via the standard health insurance policy. A critical illness policy pays a fixed benefit on diagnosis of the ailment. Generally, such policies cover cancer only of a specified severity.

I have to go to Japan and there are volcano eruption warnings by the government. Do insurance covers available in India cover flight cancellation or any other mishaps that might occur due to this?

—Ravikant Bansal

Yes, travel insurance plans offered in India cover losses due to natural disasters. Losses could include flight delays, flight cancellations and personal injury. In case of an injury, the insurance would pay for actual medical expenses and a lump sum benefit in case of permanent disability. In case of death of the insured, the policy would pay a lump sum to the nominee.

I am 31 years old and live in Mumbai. I am in a live-in relationship and my partner and I want to buy a health insurance for both of us. Are there any combined plans available for us, like family floaters? Please suggest a suitable health cover for the both of us.

—Name withheld on request

Unfortunately, family floater policies only accept either immediate blood relations or married spouses as part of the same policy. Live-in partners are not considered for family floater health insurances. You should buy separate individual health insurance policies. Do refer to the Mint SecureNow Mediclaim Ratings (www.livemint.com/mintmediratings2017) to choose a plan appropriate for your age.

When I buy a health insurance policy, is it possible to choose to get treated in a specific hospital by a doctor of my choice, both in India and abroad? Can I buy an add-on if such a plan is not part of my policy? How expensive will its premium be?

—Deb Taneja

In health insurance policies in India, the choice of hospital and doctor is that of the insured. Most insurers define a network of hospitals. Such a network is used primarily to offer cashless service. The insured can take treatment in non-network hospitals as well. However, such treatment bills will have to be settled by the insured upfront and then claimed as reimbursement from the insurer. Policies generally don’t specify a similar network or panel for doctors.

Most policies in India entertain claims for treatment taken in India only. A few recently introduced plans offer facilities for treatment abroad. Such facilities are restricted to high sum assureds and limited to specific illnesses only. Some of these plans restrict the countries you can visit. The choice of doctor and hospital is generally not specified.

Does it help to renew my motor insurance with the same insurer to conserve my no-claim bonus? Why would another insurer give me benefit of no-claim bonus of my existing insurer?

—Bikram Negi

No-claim bonus rules are defined by regulations. All insurers must follow the same rules. No-claim bonus in motor insurance can be carried forward from one insurer to another. It is not necessary to renew your motor insurance through the same insurer to avail your bonus. In fact, no-claim bonus can be transferred from one vehicle to another vehicle owned by the same insured person.

A good driver will tend to carry the no-claim bonus, and this indicates good driving behaviour to the insurers. So, insurers prefer to underwrite policies with a history of no claims.

Abhishek Bondia is principal officer and managing director, SecureNow.in

Queries and views at mintmoney@livemint.com

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