Which Cancer Cover is better? Cancer Care plans or Critical Illness Insurance

health insurance

Cancer has become a dreaded illness in recent times as more and more individuals are falling prey to one or the other form of the illness. According to a report from the National Cancer Registry Programme conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the projected incidence of cancer in India for the year 2020 was 94.1 per 1 lakh male lives and 103.6 per 1 lakh female lives. (Source: Ascopubs.org). The numbers are rapidly increasing and when cancer strikes, the medical expenses are too expensive to bear. In such cases, having a dedicated insurance cover for cancer seems to be like the most ideal solution.

Many individuals have realized the importance of coverage against cancer and are opting for specialized cancer care plans for themselves and their families. Even health insurance companies are offering multiple solutions to individuals for coverage against cancer. Besides a comprehensive health insurance plan, critical illness and cancer care plans are offered for specialized coverage against cancer. But which plan is better – critical illness or cancer care?

Let’s have a comparative analysis of both these options to find out –

What is a critical illness plan?

A critical illness plan is a health insurance plan which covers a list of critical illnesses, cancer included. If you suffer from any of the covered illness, the sum insured is paid in lump sum and the plan terminates.

What is a cancer cover plan?

A cancer cover plan is an illness-specific health insurance plan which covers only cancer. Under this plan, all stages of cancer are covered and the benefit pay-out depends on the severity of cancer that you suffer from. Usually, in a minor stage cancer, 25% to 50% of the sum insured is paid and future premiums are waived for some years. If the cancer advances, the remaining sum insured is paid and the coverage is terminated.

Difference between the two

Both critical illness and cancer cover plans differ from one another in the following respects –

Critical illness insurance

Cancer insurance

Covers a range of critical illnesses besides cancer

Covers only cancer

Coverage for minor stage cancer might not be available

Covers cancer at all stages

The sum insured is paid in lump sum on diagnosis of cancer

The sum insured is paid partly on diagnosis of minor stage cancer. However, for major stage cancer, the sum insured is paid in lump sum

The plan terminates once a claim is paid

The plan continues after payment of claim for minor stage cancer. However, if claim for an advanced stage cancer is paid, the plan would terminate

Pros and cons of critical illness and cancer care plans

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both these types of plans so that you know which plan scores over the other and in what aspect –

Critical illness insurance 

Pros 

  • The plan covers other illnesses as well. This makes its scope wide and allows you coverage against other dreaded illnesses too
  • The sum insured is paid in lump sum which helps you take care of your financial obligations if you face any critical illness

Cons

  • The plan provides a generic coverage against cancer of a specified severity. It, therefore, has a restricted scope of coverage
  • Coverage for early stage cancer might not be allowed under the policy
  • Once the claim is paid, the coverage is terminated. If there is a relapse of cancer or if the cancer advances to a major stage after the payment of claim, you would not be covered

Cancer care insurance

Pros

  • Provides a comprehensive scope of coverage against all types and severity of cancer
  • In an early stage cancer, you get financial assistance as a part of the sum insured is paid. The premium waiver benefit helps you enjoy coverage without the strain of paying the premium after suffering from cancer.
  • If your cancer advances, the plan pays the remaining sum insured to help you meet the financial costs of the illness
  • Some plans also allow coverage against recurrence of cancer

Cons

  • This plan is limited to cover only cancer. If you suffer from any other illness, the plan would not give you any coverage benefits
  • Since the claim payment depends on the severity of cancer, the claim might be limited at an early stage cancer when you need funds to avail advanced medical treatments

So, both critical illness cover and cancer care insurance have their respective pros and cons. Assess these aspects and then make your choice. If you want a comprehensive scope of cover against different types of illnesses, a critical illness plan would be better. However, if you need only a cancer specific coverage, opt for cancer care plans for an inclusive coverage. Either of these plans would be a good addition to your existing health insurance plan and would provide enhanced protection against cancer. So, understand your coverage needs and then make your choice.

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