Before we answer the question, it is important to understand what these critical illnesses are. With changing times and the complication of new diseases, touching new heights, some of them have become real critical for survival. These include cancer, AIDS, heart transplants, tumours, kidney failure, permanent paralysis and more of these kinds. Not only these ailments take a lot of time to get cured or brought under control and managed, they also put a massive strain on the sufferer’s family’s and financial health!
Having a regular health insurance coverage does cover pre-hospitalisation expenses along with complete hospital bills and to some extent post-hospitalisation expenses too depending on the plan. However, in certain cases like heart transplant or paralysis where the patient needs more time to resume work or is never able to work again, earning a living becomes a nightmare! If the patient is the bread-winner of the family, the trouble just mounts for his dependents to arrange funds not only for his treatment, but also for taking care of him and running the house.
It is in this context that it is advisable to include critical illness benefits in your health insurance policy. Let us help you understand the broad differences between critical illness plan and regular plan so you can make an informed decision.
While health insurance will cover the hospitalisation expenses either under the cashless plan or getting the reimbursement, critical illness benefits can be accessed just on the basis of getting diagnosed. Also the insured will receive the entire coverage amount at one go under critical illness benefits.
Even though critical illness benefits cover only 10-12 serious diseases, they are responsible for some of the most costly treatments. On the other hand, regular health insurance will cover a host of other diseases and ailments, but the amount and other benefits might be lesser.
The coverage under a regular health insurance will start within 30days of buying the policy while critical illness benefits start after 90 days. Also, if the insured dies within 30 days of the diagnosis or any surgery related to critical illnesses, he will not get any benefits under the critical illness plan.
One of the best features of critical illness benefits is that it is bought for a longer duration of say 15-20 years while health insurance plans have to be renewed every year!
While these are two different plans, it makes sense to speak with your insurance provider to combine them both. Here is the real life scenario of how it will work out after you combine both the benefits.
For example a gentleman is diagnosed with cancer and has to undergo a surgery. For this, he will have to pay for hospital expenses, doctor’s consultations, medical tests, the cost of surgery, medication, etc. This will be covered under his regular health insurance plan, but since he will need rest post-surgery to recuperate and get back on his feet, he may not be able to rejoin work immediately. In such a scenario, to take care of his post-hospitalisation expenses, medicines and to cover him for workday losses, he will get the critical illness benefits! This way he can spend enough time to get treatment, recover and join back his employment without having to worry about his financial stability. It also helps to ease out the pressure on his family members who can focus on taking care of him rather than arranging funds!
One has to understand that the cost of treating diseases like cancer or a heart transplant costs several lakhs and the treatment goes on for a long time. During this entire period of treatment, not only you have to arrange funds for treatment, but also to run the house and day to day routine expenses of your family members.
If we do a cost analysis of both these policies separately, we find there is not much of a difference. A regular health insurance policy for, say a 30yr old man for a coverage of Rs. 5 lakhs costs around Rs. 6000 a year. A critical illness policy for the same amount will cost Rs. 1,500 a year! Therefore, if you take a Mediclaim cover of Rs. 5 lakh along with a critical illness cover of around Rs. 10-15 lakhs, your yearly premium will not rise way too much, but the benefits will be enormous!
Given these benefits and the fact that there is a lot of uncertainty in life these days, it is better to stay safe than sorry! Talk to your insurance advisor and take a smart decision, today!