(iStock)
(iStock)

Should you have a cancer cover?

  • A critical illness policy covers you for multiple illnesses at once
  • It becomes inconvenient for you to take a separate disease-specific plan for illnesses

Ways of insuring yourself

There are three ways in which you can cover yourself from cancer in the country, your regular health insurance plan, disease specific cancer insurance plans and critical illness policy, which cover cancer along with other critical illnesses. According to policies available on Policybazaar.com, an online insurance aggregator, on an average, for a 30-year old living in Mumbai and a sum insured of 10 lakh, the average annual premium for health insurance plans is 9,762. It says the premium for disease-specific cancer plans is 2,136 while the premium for critical illness covers for cancer is 2,880.

Pros and cons

“A critical illness plan will cover you for multiple illnesses at once. It will become inconvenient for you to take a separate disease-specific plan for illnesses," said Suresh Sadagopan, founder of Ladder7 Financial Advisories. “When you start earning, you should first buy a health insurance policy, a super top-up policy after a couple of years and then at the age of 35 you can take a critical illness cover," said Sadagopan. “However, a critical illness cover has pre-conditions of medical tests and is more expensive than cancer-specific plans," said Kapil Mehta, co-founder of SecureNow.in, a web insurance aggregator.

What should you opt for?

In 2018, around 7.84 lakh people in India died of cancer, of which around 4.13 lakh were men and 3.71 were women, according to National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, a premier institute under Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Heart diseases are also taking a heavy toll. Overall, cardiovascular diseases contributed to 28.1% of the total deaths and 14.1% of the total disability-adjusted life-years (DALY) in India in 2016, compared with 15.2% and 6.9%, respectively, in 1990, according to a study by Thelancet.com, an online medical journal. Hence, a critical illness policy is better than a disease-specific policy.

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