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Everything You Need To Know About Critical Illness Health Insurance Plans

Dec 12, 2018

Being healthy is crucial to achieving any life goal. While one part of being healthy is exercising and eating healthy, the other element is to financially prepare for any illness or eventuality.

The increasing incidences of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in India further make it essential that one plan for critical illnesses. According to the health journal Lancet, NCDs accounted for 61% of the deaths in 2016 compared to 38% in 1990. NCDs include critical illnesses like heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic kidney diseases, among others.

Detection of a critical illness in you or a family member is not only emotionally debilitating but also financially draining for the entire family and can derail your life goals. With the cost of healthcare expenses increasing almost at the double the pace of inflation, the financial burden that critical illness in the family brings can be as challenging to deal with as the emotional trauma. However, you can always plan ahead for such financial stress.

What is a critical illness?

A critical Illness can be one of the many serious ailments, which require lengthy medical procedures, including surgeries, and other pre- and post-hospitalization care to be fully cured. Some of them can be chronic in nature and may require lifelong medication and treatment. These medical procedures and treatments, many of which are only conducted in large private hospitals, cost a fortune.

Add to this the cost of medication, regular follow-ups with doctors and alternative treatments and one critical illness in a family can cause irreparable damage to your finances, if you have not taken additional protection.

One estimate suggests that 85% of the working population does not have instant cash of Rs 5 lakh for treatment in case of detection of a critical illness. No wonder then that 7% of the families are pushed to below poverty line every year due to unexpected healthcare expenses.

Why should you buy health insurance with critical illness cover?

Typically, people buy mediclaim policies to fend off any financial emergency due to healthcare reasons. Purchasing a mediclaim policy is a good start, but it has its limitations. A mediclaim policy covers only the hospitalization related expenses, which may not be enough especially when a serious disease like cancer or heart disease is detected. Remember hospitalization expenses make for only 35% of the total healthcare expenses. Other expenses like OPD, patient transportation, lab and imaging services, and prescribed medicines account for a big chunk of healthcare expenses.

You, therefore, need a different strategy. Health insurance plans with critical illness cover offers a lump sum amount on detection of a critical illness to take care of both hospitalization and non-hospitalisation related expenses. A critical illness cover ensures that you don't need to dip in your savings for medical reasons. They cover a wide range of diseases, which may vary from insurer to insurer.

Bajaj Allianz has recently launched Health Care Goal, which provides a holistic health insurance with critical illness cover for the entire family. One can opt for a different sum assured for each family member and in case you need to claim sum assured for one family member, it does not bring down the sum assured of the other members. Healthcare Goal covers 36 critical illnesses and one can also opt for Return of Premium in case you would like to get back the premiums paid in case of no claim at the end of the policy.

A critical illness cover takes care of your hospitalization and other medical expense and is the best way to protect your finances from any medical expense, which usually catches you unaware.

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