The incidence of cancer is on the rise globally and worldwide cancer cases are estimated to increase by 50 per cent from 2012 to 2030.  Research shows that the number of cancer deaths is expected to rise from 680,000 in 2012 to 1.2 million in 2035 in India alone. Cancer brings with it physical, emotional and psychological turmoil. Moreover, the treatment for cancer is monetarily draining and even people with good medical insurance are known to find cancer financially debilitating. In this context, cancer insurance has been designed by insurance companies to provide financial aid should one be diagnosed with this disease. It is the kind of insurance you hope to never need but should consider.

What is cancer insurance?

Cancer insurance is a type of health insurance that helps mitigate the costs of cancer treatment and provides policyholders with additional financial support. It is typically a supplemental insurance policy for cancer patients and can be purchased from an insurance company. It should not be purchased instead of a health insurance. As with other insurance types one needs to pay a premium and other charges as may be applicable. The eligibility criteria for a comprehensive cancer care plan are usually defined by the insurance company. However, people who have already been diagnosed with cancer are not able to avail of such an insurance. 

Benefits of Cancer Insurance

  • Cancer insurance covers non-medical and out of pocket expenses while health insurance typically covers only hospitalisation and medical costs
  • It pays out a lumpsum benefit on the diagnosis of early stage cancer
  • It can supplement income through monthly income plans and pay for loss of income
  • Cancer insurance helps caregivers focus on the patient instead of worrying about finances

Things to consider before opting for a cancer insurance policy

  • Ensure you have a good general health insurance policy. Cancer insurance is supplemental health insurance
  • Understand whether you have a family history of cancer
  • Consider your overall health and lifestyle. For example, a smoker must consider cancer insurance
  • Contemplate any other risk factors for cancer that may be applicable to you. For example, What is your exposure to carcinogens? What are your occupational and environmental hazards?
  • Based on your age, consider a plan for a wider policy term as it will give you protection for longer at the same premium cost.
  • Review the minimum waiting period, premium waiver clauses and monthly income options carefully before selecting your plan.

Finally, whether to buy a cancer insurance is a personal one and depends on lifestyle, environmental and overall health factors. If your vulnerability to developing cancer is high, you need to ensure you are protected. While cancer insurance seems like something you may not need, it is useful to have and will help you be prepared better in the unfortunate event that you are diagnosed with the deadly C.