(iStock)
(iStock)

For cancer-specific policies, you don’t always need to undergo a medical test

  • Cancer-specific plans can be issued even if you suffer from a pre-existing disease unrelated to cancer
  • Refer to the Mint SecureNow Mediclaim rating to select an appropriate plan for yourself

A few of my close family relatives have cancer. Are there any cancer-specific health insurance plans that I can take for myself? What all is covered under such plans? Should I opt for such a plan or a regular health plan? Also, is it compulsory to mention all the relatives who have had cancer in my family to the insurer?

—Ramini Shankaran

There are a number of cancer-specific plans you can choose from. Most cancer plans operate as fixed-benefit plans. In a fixed-benefit plan, when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, including early-stage cancer, a pre-defined amount is paid out. The actual expense incurred by the policyholder has no bearing on the claim amount. Such plans can work as a supplement to the traditional medical insurance.

Cancer-specific plans pay claim for early stage cancer or carcinoma-in-situ. On the other hand, critical illness plans specifically exclude carcinoma-in-situ and cover only cancer of specified severity.

Cancer-specific plans can be issued even if you suffer from a pre-existing disease unrelated to cancer and they generally do not require a medical test before policy issuance.

You must buy a standard medical insurance plan first. These plans will cover cancer and other ailments too. So, it does not make sense to replace the traditional mediclaim with a cancer plan. A cancer plan should be used as a supplementary plan.

A few cancer plans are indemnity based. Hospitalisation expenses linked to cancer are reimbursed to the policyholder. In some cases OPD expenses, for cancer detection and treatment, are also covered. An expense once claimed in an indemnity-based cancer plan, cannot be claimed again in the traditional mediclaim. I prefer the fixed-benefit version of the cancer plan.

At the time of underwriting, insurers mostly ask for medical history of parents and siblings. You should fully disclose this. You need not voluntarily disclose the medical history of other family members unless the question is specifically asked in the proposal form. 

My wife and my parents are covered under the health policy provided by my employer but not my son who is two years old. I am 47 and my wife is 40. I would like to have my son covered under a good health insurance plan. We have a bank account with a leading public sector bank. They provide a health insurance policy for account holders. Does it makes sense to buy a health policy from them? Else, please suggest the best health policy for my son.

—Subir Basu

Banks sometimes offer health insurance on a group platform to account holders. Premiums on group policies are typically lower than individual insurance policies. So, from a cost perspective, it is beneficial. However, such plans suffer from three limitations. First, these plans are not life-long renewable. Second, you do not accrue any no-claim bonus on these. Finally, the cost of these plans can increase substantially in future, if the group has an adverse claim ratio. I would recommend that you buy an individual standalone health cover for your son. This can be bought through the bank, an advisor or directly from the insurer. 

Refer to the Mint SecureNow Mediclaim rating to select an appropriate plan for yourself. The A-rated plans have a balance of low premiums, good benefits and strong claims track record of the insurer.

Abhishek Bondia is principal officer and MD, SecureNow.in

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