Lifestyle diseases are on the rise in India!
Increased screen time, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of fitness, unhealthy food habits, high-stress levels, and increased levels of pollution have increased the risk of lifestyle-related diseases. We must make conscious changes to our habits to prevent the occurrence of health-related problems arising due to our lifestyle. At the same time, we should be financially prepared to deal with medical expenses that come with the diagnosis of any of these lifestyle diseases.
Cancer and Heart ailments are two such deadly lifestyle diseases that can affect young and old, and rich and poor, alike. It thus becomes imperative to be adequately insured to deal with the expenses incurred.
Here, I present a review of ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect, a specific plan that covers both, heart diseases and cancer, starting from early stage cancer and heart conditions to severe stages.
Given the fact that most health insurance policies available in the market today cover almost every major illness, including cancer, the questions that arise are:
- Why would you then need ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan over a regular Health Plan?
- How does this plan compare with a Critical Illness Plan that covers a wider range of diseases?
Let’s see how ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan is, as compared with other similar plans.
Benefits of ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan
1. Affordable Plan with high cover
The ideal cover should consider future cost of treatments. Many regular health insurance policies offer coverage of up to Rs. 5 Lakhs, which is often insufficient to cover the entire cost of treatments (usually amounting to over Rs 20 Lakhs for cancer and heart ailments), and substitute for the loss of income for a salaried person.
With ICICI Heart/Cancer Protect, one can opt for high covers at relatively low premiums. It offers the choice to opt for either Heart or Cancer cover or get coverage for both.
As mentioned on the ICICI Prudential Life website, a 35-year old male can get a Rs. 10 lakh cover for both, Heart and Cancer, for a monthly premium of about Rs. 216 for 10 years term.
2. No limit in the choice of hospital
The insured can be treated at a hospital of their choice, which reduces the hassle of finding a network hospital for treatment to file for claims.
3. Payout on Diagnosis
A significant advantage of the ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect plan is that it pays out the insurance amount on the first diagnosis of heart ailments or cancer, irrespective of the actual amount spent on the treatment. It does not require the policyholder to get bills to process the claim.
If the disease is diagnosed at a minor stage, the policy pays out 25% of the cover amount and continues the remaining cover till the policy term. If unfortunately, the disease returns in a major way, it pays out the remaining 75% to the policyholder, and the plan terminates.
If the first diagnosis indicates an advanced stage (major condition), the policy pays out 100% of the cover amount as a lump sum upon diagnosis.
4. Waiver of premium on diagnosis
Future premiums are waived off after the first payout for a minor condition of the heart ailment, or cancer is made. However, the plan continues to cover the insured for any future Major expenses on recurrence of the disease with a higher severity.
This is a marked benefit over critical illness policies that offer a one-time lump sum payment, which when once used, cannot be renewed and DO NOT waive future premiums payable by the insured.
5. Discount for Spouse
The plan offers a 5% discount on the first-year premium when you buy health cover for yourself and your spouse. Unlike a family floater, the covers of both people remain independent of each other, with the option to choose different cover amounts for both of them.
6. Benefit of increasing Cover
The plan increases the Sum Assured by 10% every year, thus increasing the total cover to a maximum of 200% for significant conditions if there are no claims. The increase in sum assured stops after the first claim is made under the cover.
Most health insurance policies cap their no claim bonus at 50 percent. (Source: Business Standard article)
7. Income benefit
The policyholder can even avail an added advantage of 1% of Sum Assured every month for five years, should they need to take a break from work if they have been diagnosed with either of these diseases. This monthly payment is over and above lump sum payment on diagnosis of the illness and is paid even after the death of the policyholder to the nominee.
8. Tax benefits under Section 80D
The premiums paid are eligible for tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act.
- The policy does not have a death benefit or maturity benefit. No absolute amount is paid upon the passing of the policyholder.
- The policyholder must survive for seven days from the date of diagnosis of the heart disease to be eligible to receive the cover amount. There is no survival period for Cancer.
- Under Cancer cover, multiple Minor condition claims from the same organ are not admissible.
- Patients with pre-existing cancer or heart conditions are not covered under the policy. The waiting period for the policy is six months. During this time, no policy claims are admissible.
- The plan does not allow for parents to be covered by the same policy.
Critical Illness plans provide coverage for a wider range of diseases, so they may be more suitable for those who can afford the premium. However, for those who believe that they may be at the risk of developing cancer or heart ailments, and find features such as pay-out and waiver of premium on diagnosis attractive, ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect may be more suitable.
Choosing the right insurance partner is just as important as choosing the right plan. With a strong brand reputation and a claim settlement ratio of 96.87%, which is one of the best in the industry, ICICI Prudential Life has excellent credentials as a top insurer in India.
Last but not the least
As an investor, you need to do due diligence and adequate research before selecting a product to suit your needs.
Reference : ICICI Prudential Life website
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