Critical Illness Insurance should be an integral part of your health insurance coverage
With the advancement in medical science, our ability to detect and treat potentially life-threating ailments is at an all-time high. Critical Illness (CI) Insurance gives you the added financial support needed during times of a serious illness.
Non-communicable Diseases contribute to around 38 million (68%) of all the deaths globally and to about 5.87 million (60%) of all deaths in India. Four ailments account for about 82% of these deaths - cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancers and diabetes. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
With the advancement in medical science, our ability to detect and treat potentially life-threating ailments is at an all-time high. Of course, this comes at a cost. A grave illness not only burns a hole in your finances, but it can also seriously deplete household income during the time of treatment. Moreover, paying for unexpected expenses could also affect reserves for a college or retirement fund. However, life has to continue with all its expenses, school fees, EMIs etc. and this costs money!
Critical Illness (CI) Insurance gives you the added financial support needed during times of a serious illness. CI Insurance can help up meet the high medical expenses usually associated with the treatment, without dipping into your savings and can even help support non-medical expenses during this period.
Specifically, it can help in
Paying for treatment if not insured under health plan.
Expenses incurred for Pre/ post hospitalization
Covering the household’s daily expenses
Paying for at-home care
However, the extent of support you can get from CI Insurance depends on the type and amount of coverage. Therefore, choose your Critical Illness Insurance carefully
Kinds of critical illnesses covered & the coverage amount
Many Life and Health Insurance products offer CI as an optional cover (rider). In fact, some Health Insurance plans such as Edelweiss Health Insurance has CI cover built into the plan. While, these could be cheaper than a standalone Critical Illness Plan, the coverage is typically restricted to the sum assured or sum insured under the base plan.
This is where a Standalone CI Plan scores. It gives you the freedom to choose the amount and the number of illnesses. Today a CI policy can cover up to 50 events.
Keep your medical history, family history and financial situation in mind, while taking a decision.
This is the minimum period, post diagnosis, for the covered patient to survive, for the claim to be paid. Typically, survival period is around 30 days. However, there are now some standalone CI plans with zero survival period.
Most plans have a waiting period of 90 days, for pre-existing conditions it could range from 24 to 48 months. Again, standalone CI plans offer more flexibility.
The maximum duration of a CI plan is 3 years, if bought from a Health or General Insurance Company. Life Insurance companies can cover a longer period. However, in the initial years, a long duration CI plan could be more expensive than short duration policies. The good part is that, no matter what the duration, you can renew the policy almost lifelong, there is usually a limit of around 75 years up to which this benefit is available. However, as per current options, most policies will terminate once a claim is paid.
The products will continue to evolve
We can expect more innovation in the CI Insurance space. We could see development of ‘a la carte’ CI products, where the customer can choose the ailment/coverage they want to opt for. There could also be changes in survival period and waiting period clauses. Allowing customer to get multiple claims under same policy, for similar or different ailments is already under consideration.
Make Critical Illness Insurance an integral part of your coverage
Even with other forms of insurance in place, most people are simply not prepared for all the medical and non-medical expenses that come along with a major illness. The angst that a family goes through cannot be compensated, however the financial burden can be made much lighter with addition of Critical Illness Insurance.
So if you are already thinking about it, buy it!
And for others, think about it and don’t wait too long to take the decision.