5 critical illness policy myths busted

We debunk 5 popular myths about buying critical illness insurance plans, and the facts you should be aware of.

Lately, the incidence of serious illnesses among the general population has gone up dramatically, with even younger age groups succumbing to a range of deadly diseases. Medical treatment costs are quite high in India, and most people are unable to take treatment either because it is too late to do so, or they don’t have the means for it.

A critical illness policy remedies a potential situation where financial crunch scuppers treatment. But there are several misconceptions about this type of policy – which we debunk below:

#1 Critical illness policy = Health insurance policy.

This is a fundamentally flawed assumption. While a health insurance policy will cover the costs of hospitalisation and post-operative care, a critical illness policy provides a lump sum payment upon diagnosis of a life-threatening illness (as listed under the policy inclusions). The lump sum amount offers a financial cushion so that you can meet the high costs of treatment for serious illnesses, from cancer to heart disorders, to name just two.

#2 Only those with a history of serious disorders need critical illness insurance.

While it makes logical sense that those with a history of heart disease, diabetes-related complications and cancer are at greater genetic risk of contracting the same ailments, it is also true that a critical illness may strike simply anyone. A critical illness policy helps every person, whether male or female, young or old. Since you cannot predict what your health might be like in the future, it is best to be protected by a policy that offers a lump sum pay-out for treatment.

#3 The critical illness plan covers every kind of serious disease.

This is not true, because the list of critical disease coverage differs from insurer to insurer. The plan you select from a certain insurance provider will have a list of serious illnesses that it offers coverage for. For instance, only specific types of cancer may be covered. Or pulmonary heart disease may be covered, but not other types of heart disorders. The best plans in this category also offer the option of increasing life coverage, with up to 36 illnesses covered and a recalibration of the life and critical illness cover every year.

#4 It doesn’t help because chances of survival of a critical illness are anyway minimal.

Not all critical illnesses result in death, though the chances of mortality are significantly higher with most of them. But timely treatment from the right doctors can help stave off mortality and even get rid of the disease in question. At such a juncture, having critical illness insurance helps to start the treatment and who knows, it could be the vital difference between life and death!

#5 You get paid immediately after buying the critical illness plan.

This is not true at all. Every critical illness policy mandates a ‘survival period’. What this means is, that when you are diagnosed with an illness, you must survive it for a period of 30 days to 3 months (depending on the insurance policy you choose) after buying the policy. Once this period of time is over, you are paid the lump sum amount as ingrained in the policy, post-submission of the diagnosis papers to the insurer.

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