• Top health insurance policies for cancer in India

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    Cancer is one of the most dreadful diseases one can encounter in their lifetime. It is a worrying fact that the prevalence and incidence of cancer is on the rise. A statistic released by the National Cancer Registry Programme showed that India recorded over 3.9 million cases in the year 2016. The significant rise in cancer cases is an indication that everyone must have adequate coverage to protect themselves from Cancer. Health insurance companies provide coverage for cancer through this critical illness covers and cancer-specific insurance covers.

    Top critical illness covers for cancer patients

    One of the advantages of critical illness covers is that they cover a host of other illnesses along with cancer. The range of coverage offered under a critical illness plan may vary from one insurer to another. Some companies in the market cover for more than 30 critical illnesses including cancer, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, etc. If you have a family history of cancer, you must consider opting for a critical illness cover along with a regular medical insurance plan.

    Plan name No of illnesses covered Sum insured Minimum and maximum entry age Survival period
    Apollo Optima Vital 37 Rs.1 lakh to Rs.50 lakh 18 years and 65 years 30 days
    Religare Assure 20 Rs.5 lakh to Rs.1 crore 18 years and 65 years Zero days
    Max Bupa Criticare 20 Rs.3 lakh to Rs.2 crore 18 years and 65 years 30 days
    SBI Critical Illness 13 Rs.2 lakh to Rs.50 lakh 18 years and 65 years 28 days
    Star Criticare Plus 9 Rs.2 lakh to Rs.10 lakh 18 years and 65 years Zero days

    The policies listed here are some of the top critical illness plans available in the market. All these plans provide coverage for cancer. If there is a risk of cancer in your family, you can sign up for one of these policies and ensure that you are financial secured against the threat of cancer.

    Top cancer-specific health insurance covers

    While critical illness plans provide coverage for a range of diseases, cancer-specific covers provide protection only against cancer. One of the benefits of these plans is that they are significantly cheaper than critical illness covers. The main reason behind this is that the coverage offered here is limited and specific only to cancer. If you feel that cancer is the only major threat to you or your family, you can sign up for one of these covers and ensure financial protection. Some of the top plans available in the market can be given as follows:

    Plan name Policy term Sum insured Minimum and maximum entry age Survival period
    ICICI Prudential Cancer Protect 10 years Rs.5 lakh to Rs.25 lakh 20 years and 60 years; renewable up to 70 years 30 days
    HDFC Life Cancer Care 10 to 20 years Rs.10 lakh to Rs.40 lakh 18 years and 65 years 7 days
    National Insurance with CPAA Cancer Insurance Policy 1 year Rs.30,000 to Rs.5 lakh Based on the discretion of the company 30 days
    National Insurance with ICS Cancer Insurance Policy 1 year Rs.50,000 to Rs.2 lakh Up to 70 years 30 days
    Aegon Life iCancer Insurance Minimum 5 years; Maximum 70 years minus entry age Rs.10 lakh to Rs.50 lakh 18 years and 65 years zero
    Future Generali Cancer Protect 10 to 20 year (major lives) 10 years (minor lives) Rs.10 lakh to Rs.40 lakh (major lives) Rs.10 lakh (minor lives) 18 years and 65 years (major lives) 1 year and 17 years (minor lives) zero

    Cancer protection after diagnosis of cancer

    In a first of its kind, Star Health and Allied Insurance introduced a cancer insurance policy that can be taken even after the diagnosis of cancer. This cover was introduced by the company in October 2017. This cover is named ‘Star Cancer Care Gold’, and it is available in flexible terms based on the requirements of customers. Some of the key highlights of this cancer insurance policy can be listed as follows:

    • It is available in two different sum insured options - Rs.3 lakh and Rs.5 lakh.
    • People between the age of 5 months and 65 years who were diagnosed with Stage 1 or Stage 2 cancer can avail this policy cover.
    • There is no pre-examination medical checkup required for this policy.
    • Customers must submit their existing medical records including treatment procedures while signing up for this policy.
    • This policy is mainly used to cover instances of second cancer, recurrence, and the spread of cancer (metastasis).
    • Half of the sum insured amount will be paid as lump sum upon the first diagnosis of any of the above mentioned eventualities. The remaining half will be used to cover other medical expenses similar to a regular health insurance.
    • The premium amount for this policy cover varies based on the age and sum insured amount chosen.

    Benefits of cancer coverage

    Considering the rising prevalence of cancer in our country, it is always better to have a health insurance plan that provides adequate coverage for cancer. There is still no specific cure for cancer. Most of the treatment plans for cancer include surgical removal of cancer cells or the use of procedures like chemotherapy. However, there is no guarantee that recurrence will not happen in the future.

    The financial burden faced by cancer patients is extremely high. The procedures used for treatment of cancer are extremely expensive. Even if you are financially stable, cancer treatment can wipe out all your savings. In order to avoid this, it is better to have coverage for cancer especially when there is a history of this illness in your family.


    Medical advances have made it possible for cancer patients to effectively manage their disease and prolong their life. Despite these advances, cancer is still a dreadful diseases that imposes physical and financial strain on patients. Cancer covers offered in India have done their part in minimizing the financial burden suffered by patients. Most health insurers do not provide coverage for people who already have cancer. The first of its kind policy by Star Health is a welcome move for cancer patients in our country. Let’s hope more insurers follow suit and offer better plans for cancer patients in our country.

    FAQs on cancer insurance plans in India

    1. Can I get the benefit amount in instalments?
    2. Yes, a few insurance companies offer the income benefit under cancer insurance plans. A certain percentage of the sum insured amount is provided to the insured person to help him manage his/her expenses while he/she is undergoing the treatment for cancer.

    3. Are there any exclusions under cancer insurance plans?
    4. Yes, cancer insurance policies have certain exclusions such as skin cancer, cancer caused by STDs, radiation, radioactive substances, HIV/AIDS, congenitals diseases, etc. The exclusions differ from insurer to insurer. The policyholder should read the policy document carefully to take note of such exclusions.

    5. What types of cancer are covered under the policy?
    6. The coverage offered by cancer insurance plans depend on the plan one purchases and the insurance company that offers the plan. However, insurance companies mostly offer coverage for breast cancer, bone cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, among others.

    7. Is there a waiting period under cancer plans?
    8. Yes, cancer insurance plans usually have a waiting period like most insurance plans. The policyholder can register a claim under the policy only after completion of the waiting period.

    9. When is the premium waiver benefit offered?
    10. Insurance companies understand that treating cancer can turn out to be expensive and hence, not only provide lump-sum benefits but also waive all future premiums so that the insured person need not worry about paying the premiums.

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