Are You Insured Enough To Fight Cancer?   Feb 14, 2017


Here are some shocking statistics from The National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR):

  • 1 woman dies of cervical cancer every 8 minutes in India
  • For every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in India
  • 25 lakh individuals are estimated to be infected by Cancer in India
  • Every year, India records over 7 lakh new registered cases
  • 71% of all cancer related deaths happen in the age group between 30 to 69 years
  • Cancers of oral cavity and lungs in males and cervix and breast in females account for over 50% of all cancer deaths in India

Aren't the statistics heart crunching and mind numbing?

The irony is it can happen to anyone, anytime. From children to healthy old individuals can be diagnosed Cancer. Moreover, the severity of the disease brings burden on the hard earned financial corpus.

The cost of Cancer treatment varies with each location and hospital even within the same geographical region. In India, the cost in metro cities is higher due to extra taxes levied on the machines, implants, and equipment etc.

According to MedGurus (a healthcare portal in India offering free counselling and guidance to patients), Bengaluru and Chennai are deemed to be on the higher side of the cost while cities like Kolkata and Ahmedabad come up as low cost destinations.

The approximate estimate of some common procedures is as follows:

Name of the Treatment Amount
Cost of Chemotherapy (cost would vary depending upon drugs and doses based on Cancer patient's medical condition) (per session) Rs 30,000 to Rs 1 lakh
Targeted therapy (cost of 5 to 6 sessions) (approx.) Rs 20 lakh
Radiation therapy (per cycle) Rs 1.5 lakh
A head and neck Cancer surgery Over Rs 2 lakh
Total mastectomy (approx.) Rs 4.5 lakh
Breast Cancer lumpectomy (approx.) Rs 2 lakh
A PET-CT scan (approx.) Rs 24,000
(Note: The table is for illustration purpose only)
(Source: MedGurus)

As it can be evident from above, Cancer treatment is expensive and most of us are not in a position to take on the financial challenge, especially without an insurance cover.

Luckily, there are quite a few public and private insurance companies offering Cancer specific plans. The premiums for a 35 year old non-smoking male for Rs 20 lakh Cancer insurance cover for 20 years are as follows:

Name of the Company and the Plan Premium (Rs)
Future Generali—Cancer Protect—Lump sum cover 1,831
HDFC Life—Cancer Care—Silver 1,878
Max Life—Cancer Insurance 4,324
Aegon Life—iCancer 4,784
(Note: The table is for illustration purpose only)
(Source: policybazaar)

Recently, PNB MetLife has launched Mera Heart and Cancer Care plan. It is tailor-made to provide you with a comprehensive cover against all stages of Cancer and heart diseases.

Some of the benefits offered under the plan are as follows:

  • Lump sum pay-outs at mild, moderate and severe stages: 25% of sum insured at mild stage (subject to a maximum of Rs 6 lakh), 50% at moderate stage (subject to a maximum of Rs 12 lakh) and 100% at severe stage of illness. The benefits payable at each stage will be less any claims paid in the earlier stages.
     
  • Premium waiver benefit: Get waiver of future premiums for next 5 policy years on first diagnosis of mild or moderate conditions covered under the policy.
     
  • Death benefit: Death benefit is payable on earlier occurrence of either death or diagnosis of terminal illness. Death benefit will be sum insured on death less any critical illness claims paid.
     
  • Monthly income benefit (only for platinum plan): After a severe stage claim, an additional monthly income benefit of 1.5% of sum insured is paid, for five years, from the date of claim.
     
  • Maturity benefit: If you choose the ‘Return of Balance Premium’ option, you will receive the sum of all premiums, less critical illness claims already paid, at the end of chosen policy term. No maturity benefit will be paid under ‘without return of balance premium’ option.
     
  • Premium calculation: Going along with the above example; the premium under a Gold Plan is Rs 10,971 while the premium under a Platinum Plan is Rs 13,593.

The Key features of the plan are as follows:

Sectoral Pie of Religare Invesco Tax Plan
(Source: Policy brochure of PNB MetLife's Mera Heart and Cancer Care plan)

Finally…

We recognise that with multiple options, the task of selecting the right insurance policy can be rather daunting. Read the policy document carefully to understand what the policy covers and what it doesn’t. There won’t be a “one size fits all” plan. And so, avoid buying an insurance plan which your next door neighbour has bought without understanding it in full.

You may engage the services of a financial planner, who after taking into account a host of factors, could recommend an appropriate health insurance policy with an optimum cover. Purchase the plan at an early stage of your life - don't try to be penny wise and pound foolish - which can jeopardise your long-term financial wellbeing.



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