When Rima joined a new organisation right after college, the company made provisions for her medical health by enrolling her for health insurance. The benefits of having health insurance were familiar to Rima as she had been enrolled as a dependent on her parents’ health insurance policies earlier. However, while talking to the insurance agent, Rima was surprised to learn about different types of insurance, which also included terminal illness cover. Rima was surprised to learn that while basic healthcare policies worked as coverage in terms of covering minor expenses that could be incurred for medication or even basic surgery; it would not prove adequate in case she required terminal illness cover. Critical illnesses such as cardiovascular disorders or cancer require specialised coverage which provide greater benefits.

Terminal illness coverage, which includes insurance plans for cancer or other critical illnesses, often have different specifications as compared to basic health insurance plans. Read on to gather the most relevant information regarding cancer insurance plans.

What is Cancer Insurance?

Cancer insurance policy provides coverage in case an insured contracts cancer. It provides lump sum payments that help cover medical expenditure spanning from diagnosis to treatment. Some insurers even offer cancer insurance policies that provide a fixed income to the insured in their postoperative stage.

What does the cancer insurance policy cover?

A cancer insurance policy will ideally cover expenses incurred by the insured at the time of diagnosis of the cancer, costs of hospitalisation, medication and treatment procedures opted for. Basically, you would be paid in lump sum on the diagnosis, the percentage of payment would depend on you plan and cancer stage, and this amount can then be used for all the required treatments. An ideal cancer insurance policy will cover cancer detected at the minor stage as well as the major stage.

What if cancer is diagnosed at a minor stage and later, a major stage cancer is diagnosed?

At the time of cancer being detected at the minor stage, the insured will receive a portion of the entire Sum Assured and the insurer will waive off the successive premium payments for a certain word of time. If the cancer is again detected at a major stage, the remaining portion of the Sum Assured will be made available to the insured. Several insurers also provide an income benefit, which enables regular payments to the insured post-treatment. This amount will usually be a certain percentage of the Sum Assured and will be available monthly up to a certain period of time.

Can joint cancer insurance policies be purchased for multiple family members together?

While benefits of having health insurance include a joint insurance policy for multiple members of the family, a cancer insurance policy is more dedicated. A dedicated policy will have to be purchased for each individual who wishes to be covered under a terminal illness cover.

Is there an age limit for purchasing cancer insurance?

While different types of insurance allow for different age limits, most insurers will allow persons aged between 18 years to around 65 years to purchase a cancer insurance policy.

Are there differences between cancer insurance for children and adults?

Minors, aged between 1 to 17 years, are eligible to receive a Sum Assured with a limit of Rs. 10 lakh, while adults can avail up to Rs. 40 lakh with cancer insurance policies. Furthermore, while adults can choose policy terms ranging from 10 to 20 years, minors can only buy policies with a maximum policy term of 10 years or 18 minus their age at entry; whichever is higher.

What is the policy term, and how often does premium have to be paid?

For a cancer insurance policy, term can extend between 10 years to 20 years or 80 minus the age at entry for adults; minors can only opt for policies with a term of 10 years or 18 minus their age at entry, whichever is higher. Premiums can either be paid at regular intervals, whether monthly or annually; or as a single premium which is a one-time period. For single premium payments, the policy term is 5 years.

What is the Sum Assured payable to the insured?

If the insured is aged between 18 to 65 years, they are eligible for a Sum Assured ranging from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh; with a cancer insurance plan. However, for minors, the Sum Assured is capped at Rs. 10 lakh.

How are the coverage payouts disbursed?

The insured persons, under the cancer insurance policy, can opt for a lump sum cover or a lumpsum cover with an income benefit which provides them with a monthly income during the post-treatment period, for a fixed tenure.

What are riders available with a cancer insurance policy?

Riders available with different types of insurance policies depend on the insurer in question. Some insurers will offer Accidental Benefit, while others may provide different riders which allow for increased coverage.

Future Generali Cancer Protect Plan is one such plan that offers a Sum Assured up to Rs. 40 lakh as Sum Assured in a lumpsum payout at the time of diagnosis, and offers 2% of it in the form of income benefit for a period of 6 months. The plan also allows for tax benefits on payment of premiums under provisions of Section 80D under the Income Tax Act.