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​​​Unlike earlier, nowadays, more and more young individuals are being diagnosed with critical illnesses. While the percent of old population being hit by critical illnesses continues to be on a rise, today even younger generation has become vulnerable to life threatening diseases; thanks to the current change in lifestyle and stress level. Moreover, every year medical inflation increases by nearly 8 to 10%, but still around 80% of Indians bear their own medical expenses. Such heavy medical expenses often lead individuals to a financial crunch like situation. Hence, looking into the rising medical costs and individual medical needs, it becomes extremely important to have a health insurance​​​ policy and/or critical illness policy.
When should one consider buying critical illness?
Even if you have a medical insurance policy which offers hospitalization expenses; you should have an additional coverage - critical illness insurance policy. Reason! The cost of treating all Critical Illnesses is very high and not all medical insurance policies cover expenses related to a critical illness. As a result, many families become victims of the rising medical costs, as at the time of medical emergency; he/she either has to borrow money from someone or sell his/her assets. In either case, one has to face a financial stress.  Thus, before you become a victim of these circumstances, it would be wiser to get insured. Even if you have a health/medical insurance plan, opt for additional critical illness plan to seek complete financial assistance against unforeseen medical contingencies.
Critical illness Insurance policies generally cover 10 critical illnesses such as:

Aorta graft surgery
Kidney failure
Coronary Artery Bypass surgery / Open Heart Replacement
Multiple Sclerosis
Paralysis of four limbs / Quadriplegia
Major Organ / Bone Marrow Transplant
Third Degree Burns
Total Blindness

"Critical illness covers are benefit policies and pay a fixed sum irrespective of your treatment expenses and payouts by other mediclaim policies." A critical illness plan is a supplement to your health insurance plan. In case of a claim towards a critical illness insurance policy, one gets back the full sum insured irrespective of whether he/she is hospitalized or not or what are the treatment expenses. However, features and benefits vary from plan to plan. For instance, most health plans have a survival period clause which says that the insured must survive for at least 30 days after he or she is diagnosed with any critical illness to file the claim.
In other words, the individual gets paid on diagnosis of specified ailment after 90 days from inception of policy and also insured should have survived for 30 days. "Proceeds from critical illness cover help to pay expenses that are not reimbursed by medical insurance policy​ such as organ donor fees, etc. Some critical illness plans are designed for special groups such as women and senior citizens and provide covers keeping in mind their unique needs.
The purpose of a critical illness cover is paying for "Expensive Treatments" of specific critical illnesses mentioned in the policy. In addition, it is much cheaper than an indemnity plan.
Therefore, the premiums of Critical illness plans are not high. For instance, a comprehensive health plan for a 30-year-old with a sum insured of Rs. 5 lakh costs around Rs. 6,000 a year, while a critical illness policy with the same cover costs Rs. 1,500 a year. Apart from this, one also gets income tax benefits.
Thereby, along with Health Insurance policy one should also opt for a critical illness coverage.
Article by Bhavya Shah