The occurrence of illnesses has grown tremendously in India. Health insurance also known as mediclaim has become an integral part of an individual’s insurance plan. Most of us have a mediclaim policy which provides us a specific amount as sum assured. These mediclaim policies cover many illnesses ranging from minor to major. Now, it’s important to understand that mediclaim covers only hospitalisation costs and not any other cost incurred by you or your family but what if you need a lump sum amount for your immediate expenses or for an advanced treatment? That’s when you’ll need a critical illness insurance plan. Critical illness insurance plans cover certain predefined critical illnesses. Now when you have a mediclaim why should you opt for a Critical illness plan? Assume Raj suffered from Malaria so his entire treatment came up to Rs 75,000. Ten years later Raj was detected with cancer the expense for the treatment was around 15 lakhs altogether. Hospital charges for the surgery were only Rs 5,00,000 which was paid by his mediclaim policy.
It is important to understand that the treatment for a critical illness is more expensive, when one is diagnosed with a critical illness the income earning capacity is hampered, there could be a need to travel abroad for advance treatment, etc. and hence all this may require a lump sum amount which is provided by critical illness insurance plan.
The most prevalent illnesses in India are Coronary Artery Disease, Stroke, Cancer, Respiratory disease, Kidney failure. Heart disease stands as the number one killer followed by cancer. There are plans which only cover you against one disease like cancer, now cancer is prevalent but since you have thought of being protected against critical illnesses why protect yourself only against one why not against the most prevalent ones. Also Chronic Kidney Failure may need kidney transplant or dialysis of which one is expensive and the other requires continuous prolonged treatment. Pick a plan which covers illnesses that are most common and prevalent. Also there are few term plans in the market which provide critical illness cover as a rider. Some provide you with a rider along with their term plan that is as expensive as buying a separate plan itself. Now these riders cover you against 34 illnesses out of which few are Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s which are not very prevalent in India.
Now if you buy a term plan without the rider the premium is Rs 6,884/- p.a. whereas if you add the rider the premium is Rs 31384/- p.a. ( both calculated assuming it’s a healthy male who is 25 years old with a policy term of 30 years, sum assured Rs 1 Crore). If you notice the rise in premium it is equivalent to buying a new policy and the drawback in this case is that once you claim Rs 1 crore your sum assured for the term plan is exhausted.
In such cases, it’s always better to opt for two different plans – term plan & critical illness plan because the need for both is different. You may be wondering whether there are any insurance plans that cover most severe illnesses. Yes there are such plans, like Edelweiss Tokio Life – CritiCare+ covers 17 critical illnesses. Also there is a multi claim option under which you can claim up to 3 times, which sounds like a blessing. The premium rate is also comparatively lesser which is around Rs 15,773 (assuming it’s a healthy male who is 25 years old with a policy term of 30 years, sum assured Rs 1 Crore). What makes it the best? – Stand-alone critical illness plan so if you want a term plan with it you may have to pay a premium of Rs 4950, the total will be Rs 20723 which is much lower than Rs 31384!