September was observed as the month of ovarian cancer and childhood cancer awareness. And if that isn’t a good enough reason to attain and spread awareness about cancer, let’s look at some numbers that show the risks we are exposed to.
As per the data from the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research, one out of eight men in India, and one out of nine women have the possibility of being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Moreover, India has the third highest number of cancer incidences among women after the US and China. To add to this, research data shared by the Tata Memorial Hospital reveal that 45,000 cases of childhood cancer are registered each year in India.
While it might not be entirely in our hands to prevent the occurrence of this dreadful disease, we need to be mindful of our lifestyle and prep up financially to get the better of it in case it befalls us.
How to financially prepare for it?
Cancer treatment is expensive and you need a sturdy source of cash to pay for it. Realising the gap, insurance companies have come to our rescue with plans specifically catering to cancer needs. This is different from the regular health insurance plan, which should be the base protection you should buy for all members of your family.
To supplement your base coverage, you need insurance plans such as critical insurance and cancer plan to best prepare against cancer or other critical illnesses. A health insurance plan covers for inpatient hospitalisation and treatment in hospitals. However, the financial needs upon diagnosis of cancer are not limited to hospitalisation expenses. The treatment is long-term and extends beyond hospitalisation such as day-care and associated therapies.
Diseases such as cancer can put you out of action for some time leading to momentary loss of income. Critical insurance and cancer insurance are tailor-made products to cover all the related expenses along with the treatment. Regardless of whether you have a family history of cancer or not, you must not ignore these plans. Simply because given the stats, you cannot rule out the possibility of having to confront with this disease in your lifetime.
A variant of health insurance, critical illness insurance cushions the impact of a critical illnesses, such as cancer, by offering a lump sum payout of the sum assured upon diagnosis of the disease. Any ailment listed in the policy document is covered. There is a one-time payout upon diagnosis of the ailment and the sum assured can be used to cover anything from medical expenses and recuperation aids to supplement income and other regular money requirements as per your needs.
It typically has a waiting period of three months and covers select critical illnesses such as cancer, first heart attack, kidney failure, permanent limb paralysis, motor neuron diseases, muscular dystrophy, etc.
While you can purchase critical insurance as a separate policy or as an add-on cover to your health insurance, bear in mind that with regards to cancer, most critical insurance policies cover only advanced stages of cancer.
This plan is specific to cancer. So if you are someone with a family history of cancer or are living in an environment which puts you at a higher risk of getting cancer, consider buying cancer insurance.
Cancer insurance typically offers funds in instalments to cover diagnosis, hospitalisation, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, etc. basis the stage of cancer you are at.
Unlike critical insurance, cancer insurance pays out at the early stages of cancer as well. In fact, it offers premium waiver in case of early diagnosis. And remember that early diagnosis is key to ensuring successful treatment in cancer. Additionally, in critical cases, this insurance policy offers a monthly payment.
Another crucial feature in cancer insurance is continuation of the policy. It doesn’t cease to exit upon making claims. And this is a significant one, considering cancer can relapse even if it has been cured the first time.
However, you can’t buy this policy if you have already been diagnosed with cancer.
The author is CEO, BankBazaar