Why buy cancer insurance if you already have health insurance?

  • Health Insurance



Cancer is a disease that has no bias. It is common in both men and women, and it affects individuals in developed as well as developing countries. Age is also no longer a barrier, because cancer develops in babies, children, middle-aged folks and old people. In fact, in recent years, there has been an increasing number of cancer cases in adolescents and young adults.

A recent report published by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), with data from the Population Based Cancer Registries (PBCR) showed that cancers of the tongue, mouth, thyroid, breast and blood are becoming increasingly common among people aged between 15 years and 39 years.[1]

As for the incidence of cancer in older people, it is naturally higher because of the increased oxidative stress in the body's cells that occurs with age. Given these stats and data, it is a wise move to be financially prepared for the costs that accompany cancer diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the type of cancer, its stage, the treatment needed and any accompanying surgeries that may be required, the costs could easily escalate to several lakhs or rupees.

A health insurance plan may help you tide over some medical emergencies, but it may not always be sufficient in case of an illness like cancer. To secure your finances in a bulletproof manner, it is always a good idea to buy cancer insurance, particularly if you have a family history of certain cancers.

But how does a cancer insurance plan differ from a regular health insurance plan, anyway? To understand this, let's first decode each kind of cover.

What is health insurance?

Health insurance is a kind of generic cover that gives you financial protection in case of an unexpected medical emergency. It covers fundamental costs such as ambulance charges, pre-hospitalisation expenses, hospitalisation costs, surgery charges, consultation fees, post-hospitalisation bills and other such things.

You need to pay a health insurance premium in return for the benefits offered by your insurance provider. And each set of expenses covered typically comes with its own sub-limit.

Who should buy health insurance?

Health insurance is a basic policy that every individual must have. It offers a financial safety net to the insurer person or persons in case of common medical emergencies like an accident, a sudden illness or other such incidents.

Typically, these policies offer short-term coverage ranging from 1 to 3 years, and they need to be renewed periodically. But having a health insurance plan in place can be financially beneficial because in case of a health emergency, you don't have to worry about the bills. Instead, you can focus on getting better (if you are the patient) or on taking care of your loved ones (if somebody else has a medical emergency).

What is cancer insurance?

A cancer insurance plan, on the other hand, is a kind of health insurance plan that offers niche coverage. As its name indicates, it covers the financial burden associated with cancer. The disease can occur at any age, and it comes with a ton of accompanying direct expenses and indirect losses. Here is a closer look at some of the financial effects of a cancer diagnosis.

  • The cost of diagnostic tests and scans
  • The cost of professional medical consultations
  • The cost of radiation or chemotherapy
  • The cost of surgery, if needed
  • Hospitalisation costs
  • The loss of income if you are the earning member in your family

These are only some of the many ways in which a cancer diagnosis can adversely impact your finances. A cancer insurance plan provides a financial cushion in such a scenario. It does not offer generic coverage; its coverage is specific to the costs of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

So, why buy a cancer insurance plan if you already have health insurance?

If you already have a health insurance plan, congratulations! You're one step closer to financial security. That said, is a cancer insurance plan really necessary if you already have a health cover? The short answer is an emphatic yes.

The long answer? We'll break that down for you. Here are the top reasons to buy cancer insurance too.

  • You may exhaust your health insurance coverage

    A regular health insurance plan covers a variety of illnesses and accidents too. So, in case a cancer diagnosis occurs a few weeks or months after you have used your existing cover for another illness or medical emergency, you may not have had the opportunity to renew your coverage. In that case, you could find yourself financially unprepared for the costs of dealing with the big C.

    However, if you have a separate cancer insurance plan, you can seamlessly take care of the financial side of treating the diseases, without worrying about the bills.

  • A cancer cover policy offers long-term coverage

    Health insurance plans need to be renewed every few years. Cancer insurance, however, is typically a long-term cover. For instance, the ABSLI Cancer Shield Plan has a minimum policy term of 5 years, and a maximum term of 50 years!

    This kind of long-term coverage can be very useful for people who may be too busy or have the tendency to be forgetful, since cancer plans need not be renewed regularly like health insurance plans.

  • Cancer insurance covers different stages and kinds of cancer

    A basic health insurance plan may have some exclusions for certain illnesses, or it may only cover certain kinds or stages of cancer. On the other hand, most cancer insurance policies cover different kinds of cancers, whether they be early stage or late stage.

    Take the case of the ABSLI Cancer Shield Plan. This policy covers all stages of cancer. In fact, 30% of the sum assured is paid out in case of an early-stage cancer diagnosis. The remaining 70% of the sum assured can be claimed if there is any further major-stage diagnosis. So, you can get multiple levels of coverage under the same cancer plan.

  • You may also get the benefit of premium waiver

    A cancer diagnosis can interfere a great deal with your everyday routine. Depending on the treatment prescribed, you may even have to take a few weeks or months off work. Not to mention the general additional financial strain that comes with a diagnosis of the big C. In the midst of all these financial stressors, it can be incredibly challenging to keep paying your premiums on time.

    Taking note of this issue, many cancer insurance plans offer the benefit of premium waiver for a specific period of time, like 5 years, in order to reduce the financial burden on the policyholder and their loved ones.


So, the bottom line is that a cancer cover policy can be useful even if you are already protected by a health insurance plan. On the other hand, if you do not already have a basic medical policy yet, it is advisable to first buy that kind of cover before purchasing niche policies like a cancer insurance plan.

Read next: Critical illness insurance

Cancer is just one of the many critical illnesses that people are diagnosed with every year. Want to be financially protected against more than just a cancer diagnosis? In that case, a critical illness insurance plan can be just what you need. What is it, what does it cover, what does it exclude, and whom is it for? Find out the answers to all these questions in our blog.

Read it here


If you already have a cancer insurance plan in place, but need additional coverage for your family, the ABSLI DigiShield Plan may be just what you need. Since it is a term plan, you can get the benefit of a significant life cover at affordable premiums.

Plus, you can choose from among ten different plan options including an increasing cover option, a whole life cover option, Return of Premium (ROP) option, income benefit and more.

What's more, you also get a terminal illness benefit, enhanced life stage protection and tax benefits among other things.

Know More

[1] https://telanganatoday.com/cancer-cases-rising-among-adolescents-and-young-adults-icmr-study
ABSLI DigiShield Plan (UIN 109N108V08) is a non-linked non-participating individual pure risk premium life insurance plan; upon Policyholder's selection of Plan Option 9 (Level Cover with Survival Benefit) and Plan Option 10 (Return of Premium [ROP]) this product shall be a non-linked non-participating individual life savings insurance plan.
ABSLI Cancer Shield Plan (UIN 109N103V03) is a traditional non participating health insurance plan.


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Health Insurance Products

ABSLI Cancer Shield Plan

This plan covers you financially at every stage of cancer!. UIN: 109N103V03

  • 5 years premium waiver on early stage diagnosis
  • Covers all stages of cancer2
  • Option to choose level or increasing cover

ABSLI CritiShield Plan

This plan protects your savings against expenses due to heart and kidney diseases. UIN: 109N104V02

  • 5-year premium waiver on early diagnosis
  • Covers all stages of cardiac and renal conditions2
  • Choose level or increasing cover for cardiac, renal or both

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