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Protection Quotient

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Protection Quotient
Nirmala Konjengbam - 02 November 2020

For Lucknow-based Priyanka Singh, June brought along a bundle of joy in her life. She became a proud mother. One look at the baby’s face was enough for her to let go of all the suffering of her painful labour.

With the pandemic, extra care was taken by the family, which meant additional costs. Priyanka was covered under a group health insurance policy from her work that failed to pay her maternity expenses. Thankfully, her husband’s policy did.

Priyanka is not a one-off case. Most women covered under such group health schemes fail to read the fine print and miss the obvious.

If one size does not fit all, go for tailor-made policies. These policies can take care of pregnancy and maternity as well as complications like uterine fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, breast cancer, and ovarian and cervical cancer.

When a woman wears a homemaker and breadwinner’s hats, her stress and anxiety levels are very high.  Therefore, apart from wellness, the right healthcare policy is a must.

Women-specific insurance plans, like life insurance, including Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP), health or critical insurance policies, are formulated, keeping gender-specific health issues and requirements in mind.

Apart from health insurance and critical illness benefits, one must not forget the potential of these policies in securing one’s financial future. Investing in ULIP for the long term would enable one to make big savings that could be used to deal with any sort of future financial expenses.

Premium payments for these policies also help save taxes.

“In addition to providing financial security and risk cover, women-specific plans focus on safeguarding specific anomalies related to women like complication in childbirth, detection of organ-specific cancers (breast or ovary), death of spouse,” says Srinivasan Parthasarathy, Chief Actuary and Appointed Actuary at HDFC Life.

There are also options like premium waiver and payouts on emergencies like death and permanent disability  that could ease financial trouble, thus providing protection.

Some good women-specific insurance plans available in the market are Bajaj Allianz Women Specific Critical Illness, HDFC Life Smart Woman Plan, Tata AIG Wellsurance Woman Policy and Care JOY Maternity Health Policy. These policies are available for both working and non-working women.

Bajaj Allianz Women Specific Critical Illness policy covers eight different critical illnesses that women may suffer. These include ovarian cancer, breast cancer, fallopian tube cancer, uterine/ cervical cancer. It is a benefit-only-plan and a lump sum is paid on detection of a critical illness.

“Once a critical illness is diagnosed, it not just affects a woman’s health, but might also prevent her from carrying on with her employment. To take care of this, our plan covers loss of job, where a lump sum benefit is paid to the insured. Women are also eligible for children’s education bonus if diagnosed with any of listed critical illnesses,” says Rashmi Nandargi, Head of Retail Health Underwriting, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

It also provides congenital disability benefit, which means 50 per cent of the sum assured is paid if a child is born with such disabilities. The policyholder is also given job loss cover and support for the child’s education.

“In case she happens to lose her job within three months of being diagnosed with a listed ailment, this plan covers loss of job. One of the worries after being detected with a critical illness is also taking care of children’s education if they have any. Hence, we also pay for the future education of up to two children under this plan. Thus, ensuring that they can stay free from worries and focus on their recovery,” adds Nandargi.

HDFC Life Smart Woman Plan is a ULIP instrument that provides protection along with investment. Premiums paid for the plan are invested in equity and debt funds, which claim to offer good long-term returns. On maturity, the accumulated value of funds is paid to the policyholder or the nominee. Additional periodic payouts are also made to help the policyholder manage financial expenses.

Women between 18 and 45 years can opt for this plan and also get covered under COVID-19 related death claims.

The policy offers financial protection to women in the form of premium waiver during unforeseen circumstances like:

  • Complications during childbirth
  • Diagnosis of covered cancer aliments
  • Death of spouse

“This plan is designed to support women at different stages of their lives. It ensures continued savings even during adversities, thereby enabling our women customers to sustain their lifestyle, and continue living life with pride,” says Parthasarathy.

Tata AIG Wellsurance Woman Policy is for critical illness that also covers the cost of hospitalisation. A lump sum amount is paid to the policyholder on detection of any of the critical illnesses listed under the policy. They also provide hospitalisation expenses with daily benefit to patients admitted for accident, sickness or those in ICU. A lump sum amount is also paid for recovery at home after the patient is discharged from hospital.

Care JOY Maternity Health Policy enables a would-be mother to manage her financial expenses easily. It provides comprehensive maternity cover with expenses supporting in-patient care, daycare treatment, pre and post hospitalisation care. It also pays a newborn’s medical bills up to 90 days after birth.

nirmala@outlookindia.com

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