Mumbai, February 4: World Cancer Day is celebrated every year on February 4 and this year’s theme is– ‘I am and I will.’ The main purpose is to create awareness and encourage prevention, detection and treatment at the earliest.
Health insurers understand the need for cancer insurance and offer various products with wider features. Life insurers too add cancer as riders option or include under critical illnesses plan. Few insurers offer cancer insurance under bite-size insurance too.
According to National Health Profile, 2019 data cases of common cancer, including oral, cervical and breast cancer diagnosed at state-run NCD clinics increased by nearly 324 per cent between 2017 and 2018. Top five cancers that affect Indian population are Breast, Oral, Cervical, Gastric and lung cancers.
“Cancer is an illness that creates terror in people’s minds due to the nature of the ailment and the cost involved. The treatment procedures are often exorbitantly priced, which means that footing the bills by dipping into savings funds is out of question,” said Mayank Bathwal, CEO, Aditya Birla Health Insurance.
“Some cancer plans promise to pay 25 per cent of the cover amount and there are a few new insurers who offer lump sum payouts up to 150 per cent of the sum insured. Ascertain whether the plans will cease to be in force once the claim amount is paid out. Since some forms of cancer are known to recur, the longevity of the policy is very important”, Bathwal added.
According to Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, India has seen a surge in cancer cases from the financial year 2016 to 2019.
The report says, there has been a 79 per cent increase in the number of claims due to cancer. While the average claims size is around Rs 75,000 to Rs 80,000 the highest claims pay out for 2019 was more than Rs 25 lakh. Also, on an average 40 per cent claimants are males as against 60 per cent female claimants. The average claiming age group lies between 50-60 years and only 30 per cent of the cancer claimants are individual policyholders as against 70 per cent of people who are covered under group mediclaim coverage policies. It also mentions that breast cancer is contributing 26 per cent of the claims each year.
“Cancer related claims are getting more frequent over the past few years. While the average age group is between 50 and 60 years, it is a disturbing trend to see that similar cases are on rise in children between the age of 0 and 10 years. Also, women are more susceptible to cancer, with an average 60 per cent of the claimants being females and breast cancer amounts to 26 per cent of claims each year,” said Sweetie Salve, Vertical Head Claims Medical Management, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.
Also it is important to get one’s family covered under adequate health insurance as cancer spares no age group. Hence we suggest that your basic health insurance policy should offer you a minimum of Rs 5 lakh coverage, and you can top it up with a Rs 10 lakh super top up policy or opting right riders to meet the medical expenses.
“These critical illness policies are benefit policies where the payment is one time lump sum amount giving you an option to utilise the received funds wisely. A combination of these covers would not only give you adequate coverage, but will also be an economically viable option – an apt financial shield against any cancer-related health exigency,” noted Salve.
The average claim size falls around Rs 80,000. There are cases where the treatment amounts up to Rs 10 to 20 lakh. This calls for a collective check to our lifestyle, which ranges from the food intake to the activities we undertake.
Some general tips to prevent cancer include saying ‘No’ to tobacco, being cautious of what we eat, going green with diet, avoiding processed foods and doing regular exercise.