5 Critical Illnesses in India You Must Know About
It's unfortunate, but along with prosperity, the modern world also witnesses a higher incidence of critical illnesses, especially of the non-communicable variety, every year. Treatment and management of these diseases drain your savings, and you may even suffer income loss while convalescing. Hence, getting critical illness cover or critical illness insurance supplements your savings plan and lets you meet your financial obligations with minimum tension.
Isn’t Health Insurance Enough?
Critical illnesses can sometimes lead to out-of-control expenses. Health insurance covers pre- and post-hospitalization expenses, and in some cases, day care procedures and OPD consultations. You can avail of them by claiming on indemnity basis.
Critical illnesses tend to last a lot longer, and apart from the above expenses, there can also be income loss, travel expenses and the cost of boarding and recuperative care. Critical illness cover provides a lump sum amount at one go for the eligible illnesses, that can be spent as you see fit.
5 Critical Illnesses You Should Get Insured For
We will list out some of the common health problems in India that get categorized as critical illnesses. They are serious, long-term, or chronic conditions that require great care and often need lifelong management. Critical illness insurance policies generally specify the exact illnesses that are eligible for coverage.
Contrary to popular belief, cancer is not just one disease but an umbrella term for a group of conditions. Most of them involve vastly different genes but a few common triggers include DNA damage, carcinogen exposure, etc. Cancer is an incredibly expensive illness. Treatment works well only when diagnosed at the early stages. There are several kinds of expenses related to getting scans, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, diet and so on, with each round costing anywhere between ₹ 50,000 and ₹ 2 Lakh. Cancer insurance can help in dealing with these, but you should also get savings insurance to protect against loss of income.
Kidney failure is also called End-Stage Renal Disease. When the loss threshold drops below 15%, the kidneys are said to be failing and the patient will need dialysis and/or transplant. Kidney failure is commonly a complication arising from diabetes, other infections and sometimes chemotherapy.
The cost of dialysis can range from ₹ 12,000 and ₹ 20,000 per month, apart from OPD charges and income loss, as it is a very debilitating illness. A kidney transplant costs over Rs 5 Lakh and requires lifelong caution as the patient will need immunosuppressants and can be vulnerable to other diseases. Travel expenses can also become a significant financial burden.
Critical illness cover or a life insurance monthly income plan with a critical illness rider* can be useful.
Heart Problems and Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG)
When there are blockages due to clots or narrowing of arteries due to accumulation of plaque, the blood flow to the heart gets restricted. The response to this blockage can get progressively more severe, from angina (chest pain), shortness of breath to heart attack where the heart muscles start dying because of oxygen deprivation.
While it may help to be on a healthy diet designed to minimize chances of experiencing this problem, sometimes even fit and disciplined people end up suffering heart attacks. The usual treatment option in very severe cases is coronary artery bypass surgery. The surgery involves grafting a healthy artery or vein to bypass the blocked one. It's a major surgery with a long and arduous recovery journey during which stress and overwork are a strict no-no.
The cost of CABG can vary from ₹ 1.5 Lakh to over ₹ 6 Lakh. Then there are post-operative care, travel expenses, costs of having a healthy diet and physiotherapy to recover well.
Stroke and Paralysis
As we age, the chances of having strokes increase. A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blood clot, causing oxygen deprivation. These blood clots may migrate from a different part of the body, it’s called thrombosis. Symptoms of a stroke include face drooping, arm weakness and slurred speech and require immediate medical attention.
There is another kind of stroke called the hemorrhagic stroke where there is bleeding in the brain. People may also have transient ischemic attack (TIA), a kind of mini stroke which is typically a warning sign of a future stroke. The TIA stroke resolves on its own and the symptoms go away but it should not be overlooked.
People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking habits and heart rhythm disturbances have a higher risk of getting strokes. Treatment for strokes involves administering blood thinners or thrombolytics that can restore the blood flow. Depending on the severity of the damage, speech therapy, physiotherapy and other therapies may be needed. The average treatment cost for 6 months can be over ₹ 80,000.
Strokes can also lead to income loss. Therefore, income insurance is necessary.
Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the most unfortunate progressive brain degeneration conditions that is on the rise across the world. The brain cells atrophy and the brain matter shrinks. The disease begins with forgetfulness and ends with multiple organ failure as important life functions can no longer be performed.
This condition cannot be cured. The risk factors are suspected but not well documented and caring for dementia patients is mentally and physically very taxing. While critical illness insurance can help with the funds, getting life insurance with a monthly income plan is very important to pay for the caregiving and therapeutic interventions.
The critical illnesses mentioned above are the ones everyone should be prepared to deal with. You can stay equipped by availing of a non-linked, non-participating individual life insurance savings plan from Tata AIA Life Insurance.