Cast a cursory glance around and the chances are some of your friends or acquaintances are battling serious illnesses. There has been a dramatic surge in the incidences of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), like heart ailments and Cancer, over the last few years. Not many of us are aware that NCDs cause more than 50% of the deaths in India.
The unfortunate fact about NCDs is that it can strike anyone, irrespective of our family history and lifestyle. The long-term and expensive treatment of a critical illness can potentially disrupt your journey towards your life goals. The financial stress of dealing with a prolonged illness only adds to the emotional and medical distress of illness.
Prepare yourself financially
Detection of critical illness in the family is not just an emotional trauma; it also brings along massive financial stress. For instance, a procedure like chemotherapy can cost you anything between ` 15,000 to ` 1 lakh per session, depending on the hospital, the doctor and similar factors. The average cost of treatment of cancer is ` 20 lakh (depending on location, hospital and other factors). Further, there are many other ancillary costs including traveling, post-surgery care, medicines and so on. A critical illness may even force you to change your lifestyle All these expenses can wreck your savings. Your financial preparedness is then crucial in dealing with the emotional trauma as well.
Here are some ways to avoid any financial distress due to the detection of cancer or any other critical illness in the family:
Buy a mediclaim policy:
Essentially, a mediclaim policy takes care of the hospitalisation expenses. It also takes care of some of pre- and post-hospitalisation expenditure. The first step towards protecting yourself from any financial distress due to medical costs is to buy health insurance plan or a mediclaim policy. It even allows cashless treatment in specific hospitals empanelled by the insurer.
A family floater policy which covers you, your spouse and the kids can take care of some of the financial burdens in case of any medical exigencies like detection of cancer.
Critical Illness Cover:
Critical illnesses are generally long-term in nature and hospitalisation is just one small part of the total expenditure. Typically, you may need to spend on expensive medicines, explore alternate therapies or post-surgery care and so on. There might even be a loss of family income in case the earning member of the family is unable to work because of illness. Your mediclaim policy is insufficient to help you meet these expenses.
A critical illness cover can come to the rescue in such a situation. A critical illness cover provides you with a lump sum amount on detection of critical illness in the life insured. This amount can be used in any which way you require.
Life insurance companies offer critical illness covers either as a rider with a life insurance policy or separately. The sum assured could be as high as the base life insurance policy. Even a separate critical illness policy can offer as high as ` 50 lakh in cover. There are policies which allow you to include your family members in the policy just like a family floater mediclaim policy.
Creating a medical corpus:
You can also simultaneously build a health corpus by regularly saving for it. Critical illnesses can be financially crushing, and none of us would want to spend our savings on meeting medical expenses. It is wise to go for a combination of health insurance plan and critical illness cover, so you have complete protection from economic distress due to a critical illness. While mediclaim will take care of the hospitalization expenses, the critical illness cover will address the other ancillary costs, thus ensuring that medical expenses do not stop you from achieving your life aspirations.