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Review – ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan

Recently one of the readers of this blog posted a query whether he should opt for ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan or not. You are probably aware that I only share reviews of products that are unique and beneficial to readers. More importantly, there should be some purpose behind the plan. Lastly, I evaluate based on whether I will buy the plan or not. After all, at the end of the day, we have to pay a premium for the same :).

Now after reading the query, the first question that came to mind was, “Why do I need this plan when I already have health insurance plan?”. My second thought was should I consider a critical illness plan? Let’s check out

Why do you need a specialized Health Plan?

In the recent past, i’ve come across the following facts that I would like to share with my readers

Heart Disease:

1. The probability of such an event helps in deciding whether to opt for specialized cover or not. I was surprised to know that heart disease is number 1 killer in India. According to a study done by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), one out of four Indians die because of heart disease. Therefore, heart disease is very high probability illness/event that can occur.

2. India accounts for 60% of heart patients in the world. This maybe because we are too stressed out, or our eating habits are unhealthy as compared to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, Whether we accept it or not, the fact is we are very vulnerable to heart disease.

Cancer:

1. In many cases, cancer is detected at later stages, and the mortality rate is very high.

2. There are more than 1 million new cases registered every year in India (various stages) and this count is increasing. Thus the probability of such an unfortunate event increases as well.

The common point between heart diseases and cancer is that treating both diseases can be very expensive. Secondly, they have some of the highest occurrences rates amongst most critical illnesses covered under a critical illness plan.

Did you know that the biggest drawback of a critical illness plan is that it usually does not cover cancer if detected early? A critical illness policy covers cancer of only specified severity. In the case of heart disease, only specific conditions are covered, such as open heart replacement or only the first heart attack of specified severity. Therefore, people who opt for critical illness plans mostly feel cheated because of exclusion clauses.

In the case of regular health insurance, the limitations that most policies are issued under the family floater plan i.e. shared by all the family members. This is fine if the medical expense is low & well within the sum assured. However a family floater plan is not suitable for expensive treatments like cancer or heart diseases. Another issue is that coverage is relatively low in India. As per estimates, the average health insurance policy is of Rs 2 Lakh in India. This amount is not sufficient to treat cancer or heart diseases.

Considering the facts mentioned above , I feel that there is a need for specialized health insurance plans like ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan.

Why should I opt for ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan?

Once I realized I needed specialized cover for heart/cancer, the next question was whether I should opt for ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan or another similar plan. After some research, I found a few compelling reasons Why this was a good plan for me.

1. As I mentioned before, under critical illness plans the coverage depends on the severity of the conditions. On the other hand, under ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan the claim amount is paid on first diagnosis irrespective of the stage/severity and actual medical cost. This means that if a policyholder is diagnosed with heart ailment or cancer, the sum insured is paid to the individual irrespective of seriousness of the condition. This comes as a significant relief for patients as they need not pay money from their own pockets for expensive treatments.

2. A person can opt for higher coverage at a lower premium with this plan. In my opinion, this affordability offered by ICICI prudential Life is an important deciding factor for customers.

3. A policyholder can get a diagnosis or treatment from the hospital of his/her own choice, unlike in the case of regular health insurance where cashless treatment is possible only from specific hospitals mentioned by the insurance provider.

4. There is a premium waiver option in case of permanent disability or even minor diagnosis i.e. future premiums are waived off by ICICI Prudential Life.

5. Increasing insurance cover: For every claim free year the sum assured will increase by 10% (to a maximum of 200%) while premiums will remain the same.

6. Loss of Income: In the case of major ailments or diseases, it is a double whammy for policyholders, i.e. cost of treatment and loss of revenue. ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect Plan offers a benefit of 1% of the sum assured to be paid for 5 years in the case of loss of income. For example, if I opt for a Rs 30 Lakh cover and I lose my income due a serious condition, I will receive 1% of Rs. 30 Lakhs (Rs 30,000) every month for the next five years as compensation. This is a significant financial relief to the policyholder and his/her family.

7. Tax Benefits: Last but not the least; policy holder can get  tax benefits of up to Rs 25,000 u/s 80D for premiums paid under this plan.

Words of Wisdom:

If you are wondering how to select a right plan, regular readers of this blog know the Answer :)

While choosing an insurance plan, the most crucial point to check is the claim settlement ratio. The reason being, I might have meticulously planned my insurance requirement. But, in the need of the hour if the claim is rejected then all my planning goes to waste along with my money. The risk profile of the customers of all insurance providers is usually the same. However some insurers, like ICICI Prudential Life, have one of the best claim settlement ratios. As per IRDAI annual report, ICICI Prudential life’s claim settlement ratio is 96.87%. Moreover, it is a listed company in the stock market. Therefore, you can be assured of the best service to help you exactly when you need it.

 Copyright © Nitin Bhatia. All Rights Reserved.

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