Health Insurance vs Critical Illness vs Cancer Insurance


Everyone should have adequate insurance to cover medical emergencies they may face in the future. However, not many people know the difference between a general health plan, a critical illness plan, and cancer insurance. 

While all these terms are related to health, there are subtle differences in their working and claim settlement conditions that you must be aware of.

Health Insurance 

A comprehensive health insurance plan can provide coverage of medical expenses that arise due to an illness. Hospitalisation, doctor’s consultation fees, and medicines are common medical expenses covered under a health plan. 

Generally, such plans make the payout on actual expenses incurred subject to submitting original bills and receipts. However, many health plans today have a network of partner hospitals that provide cashless hospitalisation where the patient’s treatment starts right away, and the bill is settled later after discharge.

Critical Illness Plans

Critical illness plans provide insurance cover against potentially life-threatening diseases like: 

  • Heart Attack
  • Cerebral haemorrhage
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Organ transplant
  • Cancer
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery

Such illnesses can require prolonged treatment and care. 

Unlike health cover, a critical illness plan does not pay for hospitalisation. Instead, it makes a lump sum payout to the patient depending upon the illness cover chosen.

For instance, if a person has taken a critical illness cover for stroke, he will receive the sum assured if he is diagnosed with stroke. He will not be required to provide medical bills.

Therefore, such covers address the liquidity issue and provide flexibility to the customer to use the fund received as per their wish. For example, a stroke patient can use the fund for medicine, physiotherapy, buying orthopaedic equipment, etc.

A critical illness plan can be taken as an additional rider with health insurance.

Cancer Insurance

Cancer insurance is similar to a critical insurance plan, but it provides insurance cover exclusively for various types of cancer. Anyone can be afflicted by cancer irrespective of health, lifestyle, or family history. 

While the advancement in medical technology has improved the chances of early diagnosis and treatment of cancer, the cost of treatment is significantly high for many people. 

Cancer insurance can help the patient’s family have some financial support during such trying circumstances by paying them a lump sum amount on diagnosis of cancer. 

Which One Should You Choose?

A comprehensive health insurance plan should be a part of everyone’s portfolio as no one can know when and how any medical emergency might strike you. Additionally, you can consider taking a critical illness rider with your health insurance plan. 

You can consider taking cancer insurance separately to make complete health coverage. 

While purchasing all the above health coverage might seem far-fetched, it should not be considered unwise considering the rising healthcare cost and prevalence of diseases. You can start with a basic health insurance plan and add the other ones as your earnings increase.