Amongst the best health insurance plan(s), a “Critical Illness Insurance”, creates the provision for a considerably large sum of benefit, which can be used by the Insurance policyholder, to pay for the costs of treatment and care of any particular chronic disease or illness. The policy pays out a lump sum in the event of diagnosis for your treatments. You can use it by itself or apply it as a rider for your existing health insurance policy. In most cases, the lump sum benefit amount is transferred to the policyholder, after a 30-day survival period, post contraction of the disease/illness.
Critical Illness Policy vs Pre-Existing Disease Insurance
The number of critical illnesses that the top health insurance plans cover is roughly between 30 and 40. Some of these diseases that are covered may include Cancer, Kidney failure, Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery or Aorta Surgery, a Heart Valve Replacement, Stroke, paralysis, Major Organ Transplant, etc.
However, don’t confuse this with a pre-existing disease cover. Critical illness insurance is bought pre-diagnosis of a condition while pre-existing policies are bought post-diagnosis for a critical Illness Policyxisting condition. For example, a cardiac care health insurance, if you have any cardiac issues or a Diabetes Cover Health Insurance if you are severely diabetic, etc. In most cases, the coverage amounts are in well excess of 1 Lakh Indian Rupees. Another thing to remember would be that the premiums for pre-existing illness insurance are quite high as the risk associated with the policyholder is higher as well.
Why Should You Buy Critical Illness Insurance?
In the unfortunate circumstance that you contract an illness, you will need to spend your time and money to treat it and get better. Now, the amount of these two aforementioned factors that you have to spend, will increase with how critical your illness is. In case you are the earning member of your family and you get diagnosed with a major disease, you will have to take leave from your workplace. So not only are you not earning money at the time, but you are also spending your savings and are even at the risk of losing your job.
Two Basic Problems Arise from This :
- Complete loss of Monthly Earnings
- A heavy increase in Monthly Expenses owing to the frequent hospital visits, compounded medical costs(medical tests, medicines, etc.) in order for you to make a total recovery
However, if you have Critical Illness Insurance in place, you will be able to cover most of these high medical bills. In the absence of such a cover, it is quite easy to burn through your savings in a very short time, with the high medical costs of the present day. And a regular health insurance plan may not be enough to cut it either.
You also get a few added benefits like:
- You get to enjoy a high financial coverage for medical emergencies at relatively affordable rates, thus ensuring that you and your family remain financially stable.
- In case of an untimely death(due to any accident) of the policy holder, the nominee will receive more than the stipulated amount, maybe even double.
- If diagnosed with a terminal illness you get the entire stipulated amount.
- In case you acquire a permanent disability, you no longer need to pay any premiums.
- These Health Cover(s) also allow you to enjoy considerable tax benefits.
Problems that You Must Account For :
- A critical illness plan is completely a “Defined-Benefit” plan, it cannot be used more than once. If you have filed a claim once, you cannot renew the policy annually like a regular health insurance policy. However, what you can do is buy more than one critical illness insurance policies.
- Even the top health insurance plans, that come with Critical Illness Insurance, can have extremely stringent terms of contract. So you must make you clearly understand all the contract terms before you sign it, so as to know what you are getting into.
- You have to remember that the contract of your critical illness insurance will specifically outline the terms and conditions regarding the diagnosis of the disease/illness. Like, it may exactly stipulate which physician the illness must be diagnosed by or it may also specify a particular test by which the disease must be confirmed. It is only when the policyholder adheres to all of these rules, that the claim of the policy holder will be settled.
- You will have to wait for at least 30 days after being diagnosed before you can file a claim for your critical illness insurance
Is Critical Illness Insurance a Part of Regular Health Insurance Policies?
In general, a regular Health Policy will only cover all the hospitalization expenses of the policyholder. But a Critical Illness Policy is a designated Benefit Plan, that will provide a huge sum of money (as defined in the plan) if the individual gets diagnosed with any one of the critical illnesses, as specified in the coverage of the Health Insurance Policy. This lump sum payout can be spent as the policyholder wishes – for everything from investigative and OPD expenses to hospitalizations.
It can be said that these covers have been designed specifically keeping in mind the major issue of massive cost overruns, associated with the treatment of critical illnesses. These diseases always lead to extremely high treatment costs and generally, the ill individual has a very limited Indemnity Cover. Moreover, you always have to take into account the drastic changes in lifestyle that take place owing to the contraction of such a critical illness, thus leading to a “low-income” capability.
The Critical Illness Insurance that general insurers offer has one thing in common with the best Health Insurance plan(s) – both of these can be acquired in the form of riders and standalone policies to the base or general Health Insurance Covers.
Critical Illness Policy ensures that despite contracting the major illness, you still have the means of fighting the disease and the magnanimous medical bills, without spending all of your hard-earned money. However, you must go through all of the terms and conditions properly, before you sign the contract of any policy. Preferably, consult your family physician regarding the Language, Waiting Period, Exclusions, Coverage, etc. to make sure that you are getting a fair deal. Critical Ailments, essentially mean a long affected period and slow progression in the process of getting better. So keeping yourself protected is always a smart move and since now you can even buy health insurance online, this has become fairly easy.