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Can I Buy A Term Insurance For A Cancer Patient?

According to National Health Profile 2019 data, cases of common forms of cancer including cervical, oral, and breast cancer, diagnosed at clinic for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) run by the state in India had risen by close to 324% between 2017 and 2018. Such is the severity of this disease. Though commonly believed to be preventable, this lifestyle disease has proved to be a catastrophe for most working-class families. Apart from causing physical pain to the patient, it also brings mental and financial stress to them and their loved ones. Therefore, given the rise in incidences of cancer, opting for a life insurance policy at an early stage in life has become crucial.

Buying an insurance policy for cancer patients:

While it is almost not possible to procure an insurance policy that can cover an individual who has already been diagnosed with cancer, it is possible to acquire a critical illness cover with your already existing term plan. A critical illness cover can work to provide financial assistance when the policy holder is diagnosed with a terminal disease like cancer, but in most cases it works only if you are diagnosed with the disease during the term of the policy.

What is term insurance and how can it help?

A term plan is a pure life cover that provides protection for a specific term. If the policyholder passes away within the term, the nominee receives the sum assured. Certain insurance providers have also begun offering maturity benefits (i.e. the return of premiums) to policyholders. Term plans usually come with a higher sum assured at a lower premium as compared to other kinds of insurance plans. iSelect Smart360 Term Plan by Canara HSBC Life Insurance is a great option. Although it is a term plan, you would be surprised to know how comprehensive its scope is. It features three different plan options to choose from, all of which offer a sum assured payout upon diagnosis of a terminal illness or death, whichever occurs earlier. In addition, it has a variety of options like spouse cover, increasing and decreasing coverage, and even a return of premium option, all in the same policy.

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How to choose a term insurance policy for cancer patients?

If one were to contract cancer, it would be a great help if they already possessed a comprehensive term insurance plan with a critical illness cover. In case of a family history of cancer, it would be prudent to have a term insurance with such cover. However, with certain policies, one may be subjected to a waiting period of a certain amount of time, before they can be covered. If the policyholder dies before completion of the waiting period, the nominee would generally only receive the amount of premiums that have been paid so far.

  • One should opt for a policy that covers most forms of cancer at varying stages, be it the early stages or advanced stages.
  • Expenses related to radiation therapy, hospitalization, chemotherapy, medical treatment, etc. via cash payment should be covered.
  • Coverage for the most common cancers such as lung cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer etc. should be available.
  • Given the rise in medical inflation, one should opt for a plan with a sizable sum assured. The plan in question should offer a high amount of coverage, ranging from Rs.15 lakhs to Rs.50 lakhs.
  • Choose a policy that can be renewed after you reach the age of 65 or covers you beyond that age.
  • Some plans also offer waiver benefits. Look out for these plans as they waive off future premiums in certain cases while the policy remains intact.
  • Some plans also offer free cancer screening.
  • You can generally avail tax benefits under Section 80D for such policies, subject to changing tax laws.
Other things to remember when buying a term plan:
  • Read the fine print carefully. Some policies offer only 20-25% of the sum assured upon early diagnosis and the rest at a later stage.
  • Check if the policy excludes certain forms of cancer. Some policies would not cover, say, skin cancer, for example.
  • Cancer caused by sexually transmitted diseases is often not covered, so is cancer caused by congenital activity and radioactivity.
  • Insurance for cancer patients will usually not cover other critical illnesses. Critical illness covers of general policies will usually not cover early stage cancer.

As they say, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. While cancer patients can opt for cancer-specific term insurance policies, others (particularly those with a history of cancer in their family) can plan ahead by opting for a term insurance plan with terminal illness coverage.

This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised to exercise their caution and not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature. Readers should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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