Insurers are now looking at launching standalone products for cancer and related treatments.
Though most insurance companies already offer critical illness cover of as high as Rs 50 lakh and above, the rising number of cancer cases in India are leading companies, including HDFC Life, Max Life and Universal Sompo General Insurance, to launch specific products. The country reports around 10 lakh cases every year, and the number of claims towards cancer cases is more among women than men.
While HDFC Life already has a product to cover cancer, Max Life launched a similar product a few weeks ago. Universal Sompo General Insurance is in the process of launching a similar product.
“Cancer and its related treatment is expensive.. One must have a specialised plan for cancer, more so as this disease has a tendency of repeating itself,” Aalok Bhan, director, product solutions and customer marketing, Max Life Insurance, told HT. The product launched by Max would not only cover the cost of treatment, but also allied expenses related to travel for the patient and family members, and even psychological counselling.
According to Bhan, the medical expense in case of cancer could be anywhere between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 30 lakh. However, in certain cases, the treatment cost could even exceed Rs 30 lakh. This is an increase of more than 50% compared to what it was five years ago.
India is likely to have close to 13 lakh cases of cancer by 2020, an increase of 14%, compared to 2015, according to the National Cancer Registry Programme. About six to seven lakh patients die of cancer every year.
The critical illness insurance cover currently provided by companies take care of the expenses of the treatment alone.
“Since cancer is one of the fastest-growing critical illnesses in India and single disease covers are comprehensive and affordable, there is a deep-felt need for standalone health insurance plans for cancer in the market.,” said Antony Jacob said, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance.