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The very mention of the word cancer can instil fear in the toughest of individuals. But getting scared is not the answer and one has to prepare -- physically, mentally and financially -- to fight the dreadful disease.

Any chronic medical illness can threaten the finance and general happiness of any family. Cancers has become top most amongst the deadliest diseases that not only drains you mentally but also financially. Cancer disease is at all time high throughout the world owing to its increasing cases, which is why several Health Insurance companies introduced Specialised Cancer Insurance Plans to lessen the burdens of their clients.

Cancer Care Insurance offers lump sum benefit on diagnosis of Cancer that helps to protect your income and savings from expenses that aren't covered by your major medical coverage, like Out of pocket medical expenses, Out of Network specialist, Experimental Cancer Treatment, Travel & Lodging etc. when treatment is far and so on.

Why you need this plan ?

• Cancer can affect anyone, anytime

• There is an alarming increase in cancer cases in India and around the world

• Cancer cases are only expected to rise

• If diagnosed cancer treatment can be expensive

• Staying financially prepared is half the battle won

How to choose a cancer insurance plan

before buying cancer care plan, let's look at the different stages of the disease and how the plans work.

Different stages

Typically, there are four stages of cancer -- Carcinoma In Situ (CIS), early stage, major stage and critical stage. As far as payouts are concerned, insurers normally treat the first two stages in the same way and the last two similarly.

Carcinoma In Situ (CIS): In the first time ever histologically-proven stage, the cancer cells have not yet penetrated the basement membrane or invaded the surrounding tissues.

Early stage: In this stage, there is a presence of any of the specified malignant conditions that can invade and destroy nearby tissue.

Major stage: This stage is characterised by the first ever malignant tumour with uncontrolled growth and spread of malignant cells with invasion and destruction of normal tissues.

Critical stage: Any cancer that meets the definition of "major stage" and the insured individual's oncologist has determined that the cancer has progressed to Stage IV is the critical stage.

How the cancer plans differ and what to consider while choosing one

There are a few important things one must keep in mind while choosing a cancer plan. If it, for instance, offers benefits, including payouts, at all stages.

Second, see what kind of benefit applies in each stage and the total benefit under the plan.

Third, does the plan offer a fixed sum insured throughout the term or does the sum insured increase at say 10 per cent every year up to a certain fixed limit? (The increased sum insured is called the indexed sum insured as the annual increase is indexed to the initial sum insured.) Though the premium could be higher for such a plan, it does ensure taking care of the escalating medical costs.

Fourth, is there a waiver for all future premiums upon diagnosis? Check at what stage the plan offers it.

Fifth, upon diagnosis, will there be a regular income benefit as a fixed percentage of the sum insured?

What's common to all plans

The lump sum payout at any stage will be reduced to the extent of any payouts at an earlier stage. For example, if 100 per cent of the sum insured is payable in the major stage, then the 25 per cent paid in the early stage will be deducted before this major state payout is made, i.e., only 75% of the sum insured would get paid at this stage. Also, there is no death benefit but if a patient dies within the waiting period, 100 per cent of the prem ..

There is an initial waiting period of 180 days from the date of commencement of the policy or from the date of reinstatement of the policy for the diagnosis and valid claim to be admissible under this policy. There can also be a 7-day survival period, i.e., a cancer patient has to survive for 7 days from the date of diagnosis, in some of these plans.

Policy term matters - An important feature to consider while choosing a plan is what is its maximum term? Most cancer plans have the maturity age fixed at 75. But the maximum term can bring about a big difference in the buying decision

Why mediclaim or critical illness plans may not be sufficient

Health insurance policies are indemnity covers that pay only for inpatient hospitalisation. As against this, the lump sum payouts in cancer plans depend on the stage of diagnosis. Critical illness plans may not always be useful mainly because of some cancer-specific exclusions like pre-malignant tumour, non-invasive cancer (cancer in situ), prostate cancer stage 1 (T1a, 1b, 1c), etc. Cancer insurance plans appear to be more inclusive than other alternatives.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided is collected from insurers online sources and other publicly available resources & which we believe to be reliable. Compare4cover doesn't warrant the accuracy, reliability & absoluteness of information provided on the website. Participation by site visitors or registered customers is on a voluntary basis. The policies are offered by various life Insurance & non-life insurance offering companies and does not seek to, either directly or indirectly, advise, offer, solicit or recommend that any person who is or proposes to become its member should purchase the Policy.