Which cancer cover is better? Cancer care plan or critical illness insurance

Cancer has become a dangerous disease in recent times as more and more people are falling victim to one form or another of the disease. According to a report by the National Cancer Registry Program conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the estimated incidence of cancer in India by the year 2020 was 94.1 per 1 lakh male lives and 103.6 per 1 lakh female lives. (Source: Ascopubs.org). The number is increasing rapidly and when cancer strikes, medical expenses are very expensive. In such cases, having a dedicated insurance cover for cancer seems like the most ideal solution.

Many individuals have realized the importance of coverage against cancer and are choosing specialized cancer care plans for themselves and their families. Even health insurance companies are offering several solutions for coverage against cancer. In addition to comprehensive health insurance plans, critical illness and cancer care plans are offered for special coverage against cancer. But which plan is better – critical illness or cancer care?

Let us do a comparative analysis of these two options to find out –

What is a critical illness plan?

A critical illness plan is a health insurance plan that includes a list of critical illnesses, including cancer. If you are suffering from any covered illness, the sum assured is paid in a lump sum and the plan terminates.

What is a cancer cover plan?

The Cancer Cover Scheme is a disease-specific health insurance plan that covers only cancer. Under this scheme, all stages of cancer are covered and the payment of benefits depends on the severity of the cancer you are suffering from. Typically, in a mild stage cancer, 25% to 50% of the sum assured is paid and future premiums are waived for a few years. If the cancer progresses, the remaining sum insured is paid and coverage ceases.

Difference between the two

Both critical illness and cancer cover schemes differ from each other in the following cases –

Critical illness insurance Cancer insurance
Covers many serious diseases besides cancer Only covers cancer
Coverage may not be available for minor stage cancer Prevents cancer in all stages
The sum assured is paid in lump sum upon diagnosis of cancer The sum assured is partially paid for the diagnosis of minor stage cancer. However, for major stage cancers, the sum assured is paid in lump sum.
The plan ends after the claim ends The plan continues after payment of a claim for minor stage cancer. However, if an advanced stage cancer is claimed, the plan will end

Pros and Cons of Critical Illness and Cancer Care Plans

The advantages and disadvantages of both these types of schemes are given here so that you can know which scheme is on the other side and from which aspect –

Critical illness insurance

The pros

  • Other diseases are also included in this scheme. It broadens its scope and also gives you coverage against other dangerous diseases.
  • The sum assured is paid in a lump sum which helps you to take care of your financial obligations in case of any serious illness.


  • The plan provides a general coverage against cancers of a specific severity. Therefore, it has a restricted coverage range
  • Coverage for early stage cancer may not be allowed under the policy
  • Once the claim is paid, coverage ceases. If there is a cure for cancer or if the cancer progresses to a greater level after the claim is paid, you will not be covered.

Cancer Care Insurance

The pros

  • Provides a wide scope of coverage against all types and severity of cancer
  • In early stage cancer, you get insurance help because the sum assured is paid. The benefit of premium waiver helps you enjoy coverage without the stress of paying premiums after suffering from cancer.
  • If your cancer grows, the plan pays off the balance to help meet the financial costs of the disease.
  • Some plans also allow coverage against recurrence of cancer.


  • The plan is limited to covering cancer only. If you are suffering from any other disease, the plan will not give you any coverage benefits.
  • Since the claim payment depends on the severity of the cancer, the claim may be limited in early stage cancer when you need money to receive medical treatment.

So, both critical illness cover and cancer care insurance have their respective sides and cons. Assess these aspects and then make your choice. If you want a wider scope against different types of diseases, a critical illness plan would be better. However, if you only need cancer specific coverage, opt for cancer care plans for inclusive coverage. Any of these plans will be a good addition to your existing health insurance plan and will provide protection against cancer. Therefore, understand your coverage needs and then make your choice.

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