Topic 1: Stand-alone Cancer Cover Vs Critical Illness Cover – Which is better for you?

According to industry reports, after heart disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in India. It is mostly because of the fast-paced and unhealthy lifestyles that most people nowadays lead, and hence, the incidence of this disease is set to increase.

Thankfully, this dreaded disease is treatable if diagnosed early. Even though there is no absolute prevention against cancer, industry experts say, following a healthy lifestyle may help. Having said that, with the increase in its incidence, the expenses for the treatment of this disease are also skyrocketing. In case the disease strikes, experts suggest, a proper cancer policy can soften the financial blow.

There are various types of cancer policies available in the market. For instance, standalone covers and critical-illness policies.

Standalone Cancer Covers
Standalone cancer covers include LIC Cancer Cover Plan. This cancer cover plan covers early as well as late stages of cancer. Experts say unlike normal health insurance plans, these standalone covers come with higher sum insured amount which is one of the main reason for opting for these plans.

Standalone cancer covers offer payouts at various stages of cancer. For instance, if the policyholder is diagnosed with cancer at a minor or early stage, the payout will be around 20-25 per cent of the sum assured, depending on the insurer. If the disease reaches a critical stage, the balance amount is then paid. Additionally, on diagnosed some of the insurers also waive off future premium payments under these policies. Standalone cancer covers also offer income benefit option. Under that, on the diagnosis of cancer at a major stage the insurer pays a monthly income equivalent to 1 per cent of the chosen sum assured for a period of 3 to 5 years. This benefit is also paid over and above the chosen sum assured by some insurers.

Critical Illness Covers
One can also opt for Critical Illness plans as an alternative for cancer covers. Unlike a standalone policy, these plans cover around 10-35 major ailments. The ailments, however, vary from insurer to insurer.

With critical illness cover, the insurance company pays the policyholder the amount for which they are insured, on a diagnosis of any disease on the policy list. Under this policy, stage-based payouts are not made, unlike cancer policies. Experts say with such lump sum amount, the patient can use it to take care of various expenses such as hospitalization, loss of income and expensive medicines, supplemental care/ nursing, which start from the first day of diagnosis and not at a later stage.

The premium of disease-specific standalone policies is lower than that of critical-illness covers, even with a similar sum assured. It is so because the disease-specific policies provide cover for only 1 disease. Industry experts say people depending on their employer’s group health policy should note that their policy comes with a lot of limitations. Group policies also tend to have a low sum insured as they are planned for a large group of individuals. Hence, having a supplement with an employer’s cover with a personal health cover or/and a critical illness policy or a disease-specific policy gives a comprehensive cover.
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