Steps to Find the best Health Insurance Plans for Cancer Patients

Nearly 14 lakh people are diagnosed with cancer and about 10 lakh die of the disease every year. Ankita was 16 when her aunt was diagnosed with colon cancer. Coming from a modest background, her family could not afford the expensive treatment, and not long after, she succumbed to the disease.

Ankita was heartbroken like never before. She was even more appalled when she learnt that an insurance plan would have provided her aunt the requisite care she needed and given her a fighting chance. She resolved to never let a tragedy like that befall her family again.

Her first priority was to educate herself on cancer and explore the various insurance options available to cancer patients in India. 

Here is a list of key topics she concluded had to be covered:

  • What is cancer?
  • Different types of cancers
  • Cancer insurance plans
  • Steps or tips to find a health insurance plan for cancer patients
  • Benefits of having a cancer insurance plan
  • Concluding thoughts

What is cancer?

A human body is built of cells. Our cells grow and are divided in a particular pattern as per the body’s requirement. These cells, later on, tend to get old and damaged and so, the body starts developing new cells thereby, replacing the previous ones. It is considered the basic function of our body. 

While completing this function, some genetic changes might interfere thereby, causing the formation of abnormal cells in the body. The abnormal cells in the body begin dividing uncontrollably, and result in the formation of a tumour. Simply put, the uncontrollable division of the abnormal (extra) cells is called a tumour.

In some cases, the formation of this tumour may lead to cancer. These cells are capable of attacking the organs, tissues, immune system, severely impairing the overall functioning of the body, with a high probability of eventual death.

Different types of cancers

Some of the most prevalent types of cancers in India include:

  • Skin cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Brain cancer

Cancer is no petty disease. Given the growing rate of cancer worldwide and skyrocketing treatment costs, staying up-to-date about your health by doing regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is necessary.

To ensure people receive adequate financial support for getting diseases treated, we have health insurance. In fact, there are specialised plans that are designed to provide coverage for cancer-related health concerns. These are called Cancer Insurance Plans.

Cancer Insurance Plans

Simply put, cancer insurance plans provide coverage against massive expenses that one may incur during treatment of the dreadful disease. Ankita found that insurance companies are willing to pay the insured the entire sum assured on being diagnosed with the disease. 

They also help the insured to find the best quality treatment. In some cases, instead of paying out the entire sum insured, they return a predetermined amount to the policyholder. The remaining sum may be paid up as and when required or on exhaustion of the previous amount.

As Ankita delved deeper into the subject, she was shocked to see how greatly the insurance market has developed. The number of cancer insurance plans available today are staggering! One could choose as per their financial status and requirements, and still avail comprehensive coverage.

Steps or tips to find a health insurance plan for cancer patients

Before jumping to choosing companies and plans, you should be aware of your medical requirements. 

  1. Risk assessment: Assess risk factors; your genetic history, and lifestyle habits to get a clear idea of what you are dealing with. 

For instance, signs of colon cancer are not apparent immediately. By the time Ankita’s aunt was diagnosed with cancer, it was too late and the cancer had become malignant. A timely colonoscopy may have helped detect it earlier and saved her life. 

  1. Budget: Decide your budget based on your affordability and financial capacity and look for policies in the same price range.

Try and choose a plan with a higher sum insured for future security. Ankita bought her policy at an early stage in her life to accumulate a larger sum insured.

  1. Research companies: Start looking for insurance companies and their policies. Choose plans that fulfil your requirements and work in your best interest. 

An insurance provider can be chosen based on its goodwill (name), claim-settlement ratio, easy claim-filing process, word of mouth review, and more. Make a list and keep cancelling out the least desirable plans to conclude. You can arrive the best policy through an iterative process.

  1. Review plans: Conduct in-depth research about the plan:
    • Review its terms and conditions.
    • Check for the waiting period you need to serve before the policy comes into force. Cancer insurance plans generally have an initial waiting period of 90 days.
    • Be aware of exclusions

Benefits of having a cancer insurance plan

Here’s why Ankita thinks cancer insurance plans are a must-have for everyone:

Focused coverage

Cancer insurance plans provide coverage for a particular disease that is cancer. The policy is disease-specific and has a focused coverage which works in your best interest.

Affordability 

As the coverage is specific to a particular condition, the premium charged for the disease is also minimal. The best part of cancer insurance plans is that you can enjoy maximum coverage at affordable rates. In the case of lump-sum payments, insurance companies offer the option of discounts.

Family security

If the breadwinner of the family gets diagnosed with such a dangerous condition, it directly affects the sum receivable.

Some insurance companies provide monthly income to such families if they have opted for such a policy.

As the breadwinner undergoes treatment, it may affect the work-life of the patient and may lead to loss of income or job. So, the idea is to provide financial security to the family.

Higher sum insured

Cancer insurance plans are subscribed to before diagnosis of the said disease. So, the number of years the policyholder is not filing a claim, the insurance company may provide a no-claim bonus that gets added up to the entire sum insured thereby, leading to an increase. 

A higher sum insured allows the patient to opt for quality treatment. 

Concluding remarks

Ankita recommends that you take proactive measures and purchase your cancer insurance plan at an early stage to secure yourself and your family from life-threatening illnesses like cancer. In such cases, an early diagnosis can save a life. With a focused cancer insurance plan, you will have access to regular, cancer-specific check-ups which will help detect the disease early and allow the patient to receive crucial treatment. 

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