Personal Finance

A cancer plan with a difference

Rajalakshmi Nirmal | Updated on December 16, 2018 Published on December 16, 2018

Apollo Munich’s iCan reimburses the hospitalisation cost up to sum insured

Given the increasing instances of cancer today, even among the young, it becomes essential to have an insurance policy as the treatment costs could run into lakhs of rupees.

iCan from Apollo Munich is a cancer policy with a difference. Unlike ones in the market from players such as HDFC Life and ICICI Prudential, and critical illness plans from general/health insurance companies, which offer fixed benefit, this is an indemnity plan. Indemnity plans reimburse the actual cost of hospitalisation, while ‘fixed benefit’ plans pay a fixed sum on occurrence of the pre-defined illnesses.

A review of the iCan plan.

Features

The policy covers medical expenses towards cancer treatment up to the sum insured, irrespective of whether it is taken as an inpatient/outpatient or as a day-care procedure in a hospital.

It has two options — standard and advanced. Under the standard plan, expenses on chemotherapy, radiotherapy, organ transplantation (due to cancer) and surgeries for excision of cancerous tissue are covered.

The advanced plan covers expenses on immunotherapy, personalised/ targeted therapy, hormonal therapy or endocrine manipulation and stem cell and bone marrow transplantation.

Expenses on pre-/post-hospitalisation and on medical examination (twice a year) after cancer treatment will also be covered.

The waiting period is 120 days from the date of commencement of the policy.

Exclusions include pre-existing condition for cancer, non-allopathic treatment, treatment availed outside India or at a healthcare facility which is not a hospital.

Other exclusions are routine ones such as congenital external diseases, defects or anomalies and preventive care.

The policy offers SI of ₹5/10/15/20/25/50 lakh.

Our take

Cancer is not a one-time occurrence; the chances of recurrence is high. Defined benefit plans such as ICICI Pru Cancer Protect or Max Life’s Cancer Insurance Plan or HDFC Life’s Cancer Care pay the benefit at the first instance of cancer, and the policy terminates. The individual is not protected if the cancer recurs. But iCan is an indemnity plan that will work like a normal health insurance policy (but for cancer). It will cover you even after a claim is made. Also, unlike the benefit plans for cancer which terminate when the individual turns 70/75 years, iCan is renewable lifelong.

Do also note that iCan covers expenses from the diagnosis stage.

Benefit policies pay only after the individual has been diagnosed with cancer. Further, they restrict the pay-out based on the stage of cancer. Pay-out is generally 25 per cent if it’s stage – I cancer.

If you however, want iCan to double-up as a benefit policy, you can take the rider ‘Enhance’. This offers 60 per cent of the SI as lump-sum payment over and above the base SI. If it’s stage IV cancer, it pays 100 per cent of SI (again, in addition to the base SI). But this rider is expensive.

In iCan, the cost of a ₹20-lakh basic cover (iCan Essential) for a female of 35 years is ₹3,775. If you opt for Enhance, the premium will shoot to ₹5,082.

iCan’s basic plan is affordable and is the right choice for those looking to cover cancer treatment expenses.

It is way cheaper than defined benefit plans such as ICICI Prudential Cancer Protect.

For the same individual above, the premium on the cancer policy from ICICI Pru will work out to ₹13,772 (for a 40-year term).

One reason why premium is so expensive in case of benefit plans from life insurance companies is that there is an assurance to keep the premium fixed for at least for three years. In the case of iCan, as it is an indemnity plan and from a health insurer, the premium will change every year based on the individual’s age.

Religare Health’s Cancer Mediclaim policy, which was launched recently, is a plan similar to iCan and can be considered, as its premium is even cheaper. A ₹25-lakh plan for a 35-year female works out to ₹2,191.

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