Cancer is one of the most dreadful yet one of the most ignored diseases in India. Staggering stats from the National Cancer Registry Programme of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reveal that India recorded an estimated 3.9 million cancer cases in 2016. In spite of such a drastic rise in cancer cases , we tend to ignore the threat of this disease, and most cancer cases are detected only in the latter stages, making the treatment even more expensive. Did you know? A study done by Chicago-based American Society of Clinical Oncology found that, globally, cancer treatment was least affordable in India.

For example, the average cost of treatment for breast cancer through a private practitioner would be Rs 5-6 lakh, including investigations, surgery and radiotherapy. However, with targeted therapy, six cycles of chemotherapy can cost up to Rs 20 lakh. The cost of  cancer treatment can vary anywhere between 2.5 lakh rupees to 20 lakhs for over a period of six months to few years, depending upon the stage of cancer and the treatment plan.

Here’s all you need to know about the different stages of cancer –

  • Carcinoma In Situ (CIS): In the first time ever histologically-proven stage, the cancer cells have not yet penetrated the basement membrane or invaded the surrounding tissues.
  • Early stage: In this stage, there is a presence of any of the specified malignant conditions that can invade and destroy nearby tissue.
  • Major stage: This stage is characterised by the first ever malignant tumour with uncontrolled growth and spread of malignant cells with invasion and destruction of normal tissues.
  • Critical stage: Any cancer that meets the definition of “major stage” and the insured individual’s oncologist has determined that  cancer has progressed to Stage IV is known as the critical stage.

Before we take a look into things to consider before buying  a cancer care plan, here’s a quick glimpse at why you need one –

Benefits of Buying a Cancer Insurance Policy

  • Cancer Insurance plans offer comprehensive insurance related to cancer.
  • Most cancer plans offer a  waiver of premium benefit for the specific period say for 3 to 5 years or for entire policy duration. Some of the plans even offer a regular income benefit for a fixed period of time up to 5 years to cover daily costs of running a household. This is usually a percentage of the sum assured (say 1 percentage monthly).
  • Most cancer insurance plans offer an increase in sum assured as a plan option.
  • One of the most distinguished benefits of buying a cancer insurance plan is that the insurance cover continues even after the diagnosis of early stage cancer .
  • Cancer insurance plans also offer tax benefits under section 80D of the Income Tax Act.

Now let’s take a look at the most important tips that will help you zero-in on the best cancer insurance policy –

  1. Maximum assured sum
    Different cancers require different treatments. Treatment costs will vary based on the type of cancer, stage detected, and the treatment methods. And it is most likely that you may have to spend a fortune to treat your  cancer completely. So, it is recommended that you opt for a cancer-centric insurance policy with a robust sum assured. By doing this, you will able to get the best cancer care with the latest technology and you won’t have to spend your entire savings on the treatment as well. Some cancer insurance plans also offer indexation benefit where the sum insured increases by a fixed percentage every year subject to a maximum limit. The indexation feature will not only  attract more premium in an insurance policy but will also ensure that you build upon an adequate sum insured in the event of a claim. There are a few such plans that offer increased coverage if no claim is made per year- up to a certain limit.Reasons to have cancer insurance policy
  2. Coverage at various stages
    Timely diagnosis and treatment play a crucial role in curing cancer. You cannot predict at what stage it will be detected. Hence, it is wise you choose a plan that offers coverage for all or most stages of various cancer types. It is also necessary to analyse if the plan you choose covers all types of cancers. But bear in mind that in most policies, the sum assured amount can vary based on the detection of cancer at a specific stage.
  3. Waiting period
    If you didn’t know, a cancer insurance policy  in India may come with waiting period. The best plan is the one with the minimum waiting period. So it is recommended you choose a cancer insurance policy with the minimum waiting period.  The waiting period is usually related to the premium amount you have to pay. There is an initial waiting period, which usually ranges from 180 days to 365 days from the policy inception date. During the initial waiting period, the policyholder cannot claim from his/her cancer insurance policy.
  4. Premium waiver
    What if in spite of getting cured completely, you are not able to resume your normal life? Yes, in a few cases, the consequences are often serious and the patient finds it difficult to lead a normal life, which in turn affects his/her income as well. If you are the only earning member in your family, this can have a large impact on the well-being and security of your loved ones. Hence, you need additional coverage from a cancer insurance plan. In some plans, you will get a waiver of future premium after detection, and a claim is made. However, such plans usually have higher premium amounts.
  5. Maximum permissible term
    This is yet another vital parameter you should think of when comparing the various cancer-centric insurance plans. Some of the plans allows policy to be renewed till the age of 75 years. So, be sure to check the maximum duration and if it complies with your present age before you choose a policy.
  6. Exclusions
    Almost every health insurance plan comes with some  exclusions, and cancer insurance policies in India are not an exception to this. Most of these plans do not cover pre-existing cancer. If the cancer is caused by an STD, it is usually not supported.  You need to crosscheck these facts before choosing your cancer care plan.
  7. A critical illness plan does not offer comprehensive cover
    Critical illness plans cover cancer, but only at an advanced stage. These plans will pay for cancer only if the malignant tumour shows uncontrolled growth, with invasion and destruction of the normal tissues-an advanced stage. In addition, a regular critical illness plan offers only a lump-sum benefit and does not waive future premiums payable by the insured.
  8. Compare
    We often make comparisons while spending on small things. We must also study and compare all the cancer insurance policies before picking one that is most suited to our needs. Research the cancer policies available in India. Make a list of the pros and cons of each , and only then zero-in on the best cancer insurance policy.

A non-linked insurance plan, Shriram Life – Comprehensive Cancer Care Plan is one of the best cancer insurance plans in India. It offers benefits on diagnosis and treatment, in both initial and critical stages. Here’s everything you need to know about Shriram Life – Comprehensive Cancer Care Plan –

Key Features of Shriram Life Cancer Insurance Policy

One of the major advantages of this cancer insurance policy is the maximum coverage age, which is 75.

Going by the affordable premium, lump sum payment and an array of benefitting features such as easy claim settlement and more, make Shriram Life – Comprehensive Cancer Care Plan is an obvious winner when it comes to choosing a cancer insurance policy in India. To know more about the cancer insurance plan and buy it online,