Alok is a resident of Gurgaon in his mid-forties. His family includes his homemaker wife and a 15-year-old son. He was diagnosed with liver cancer a couple of months back. He had to undergo a surgery and a host of tests and prolonged treatment. His health insurance policy covered the hospitalization cost and also the pre-and post-hospitalization expenditure. However once Alok was home he needed specialized care for which the family had to hire a nurse, the family also decided to use alternative healing methods to ensure that cancer did not return. All this required money and lots of it! However, Alok’s medical insurance plan was not designed to help them deal with such kind of expenditure. The family had no choice but to dip in their savings.
What if you could offer your clients a policy that is specially designed to deal with situations like that of Alok? What if there was a plan that was suited to cover the financial burden that comes with a critical illness like cancer or a heart ailment? Well, now there is a plan that is just right for the above situation, the Critical Illness Plan and here we tell you why it is important for your clients.
Increasing Instances of Critical Illnesses are a matter of Concern:
We often read about the rise in lifestyle-related diseases and increased instances of cancer, kidney and heart ailments. There are various factors that have contributed to this; stress, poor lifestyle choices, sedentary lifestyle, the toxic and polluted environment are a few that top the list. As per the National Cancer Registry Programme of the ICMR, there were almost 38 lakhs Indian suffering from cancer alone in 2012-14.
The numbers are mind-boggling but are we prepared to deal with it?
While needless to say, prevention is better than cure. However, some factors may be beyond our control, so if you and I can’t prevent it, then at least we can be prepared to deal with it. Critical illness policies are designed to take care of the insured when faced with a critical illness. Normal health insurance policies do not offer the required benefits and financial assistance to deal with a critical illness.
Why is a Critical Plan Required?
The most common question that would be posed by your clients is “I already have a medical insurance plan, so why do I need an additional policy”.
General health plans offer your client cashless hospitalization or in some cases reimbursement of the expenditure made when the insured is hospitalized. In contrast to this, a critical illness plan provides the insured a lump sum amount (equivalent to the amount of the insurance) as soon as the insured is diagnosed with a critical illness like cancer or a heart ailment.
So, to sum it up a critical illness plan provides the following benefits:
- The insured gets a lump sum right after the disease is diagnosed, they do not have to wait for hospitalization.
- Immediate access to funds takes a huge load off the caregivers.
- The caregivers have the flexibility to use the amount for any kind of treatment and care that may be required by the patient.
- No need to track bills, seek approval and so on as the full amount is available to the insured irrespective of the amount spent.
- Specialized care can be provided to the patient, even if required at home.
Critical Illness plans can be described as defined-benefit policies as the amount that is to be received by the insured is defined and fixed, unlike a general health insurance plans which work as an indemnity (insured is reimbursed the expenses). If the insured has more than one CI, then he/she can claim benefits from all the plans. The illnesses covered vary from one insurance company to another, some of the commonly covered ailments covered include cancer, heart and kidney ailments and stroke.
Here is a list of few popular critical illness plans:
- Health Assurance Critical Illness by Max Bupa which covers 20 illnesses
- Major Illness Premium Back Cover by PNG MetLife which covers 37 illnesses.
- Smart Health Critical Illness by Bharti Axa, this also covers 20 critical diseases.
- Religare Assure that covers 20 ailments.
- HDFC Life offers three variants for cancer care; they are Cancer Care Silver, Cancer Care Gold and Cancer Care Platinum.
- Reliance offers two variants by the name of Total Health Plan I and 2, both cover 17 illnesses.
- Apollo Munich also offers two variants, Optima Vital which cover 37 ailments and a Basic Plan that cover 15 ailments.
- The list above lets you have a quick look at a few options available. The polices have to be compared based on various factors and not only the number of ailments that they cover which requires a detailed analysis of the policy details and as well as your clients’ requirements.
Thus, it is important that you let your clients know that while general health insurance plans are important and they do offer financial assistance in times of need but these plans need to be complemented with critical illness plans so that the family has a comprehensive medical cover.