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. 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.
There is a huge rise in the number of students wishing to study medicine abroad.
CI insurance can help meet the high medical expenses usually associated with the treatment, and can even help support nonmedical 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, EMI payment and 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 CI insurance carefully.
Kinds of critical illnesses covered & the coverage amount: Many life and health insurance products offer CI as an optional cover. 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 CI 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.
Survival Period: 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.
Waiting 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.
Duration: The maximum duration of a CI plan is three 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 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 CI insurance a 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. However, the financial burden can be made much lighter with addition of CI 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. Sooner, the better. And also, cheaper.