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Tailor-made but not good enough

Bajaj Allianz?s critical illness plan for women falls short on two counts ? cost and coverage

Masoom Gupte  |  Mumbai 

After and card products, comes a specially designed product for women from the sector — by General This product aims at covering women-specific critical illnesses like breast cancer, uterine / cervical cancer and ovarian cancer among others, giving them a one-time lump sum payment on detection of any of the illnesses covered for treatment.

According to Renuka Kanvinde, senior manager (health administration team), General Insurance, “Under a regular critical illness plan, maximum utilisation is for cardiac-related ailments. The level of incidence of such ailments is very low in women aged below 50. Comparatively, the chances of breast/cervical cancer are much higher in women.”

The plan also covers multiple traumas (multiple fractures in major bones due to which a woman may be bed ridden for long duration) and burns. There is also coverage available for specific congenital birth defects in children (for two children born up to the age of 40, half the sum insured may be claimed per child).

Reasons to say no to a women-only plan
  Women Critical Illness 
Regular critical illness 
Coverage for women-
specific cancer types, 
multiple trauma 
and burns
All types of cancer 
are already covered, 
in addition to 
cardiac ailments, 
paralysis, etc.
Rs 50,000-Rs 1 lakh Offers a much higher 
coverage of up to
Rs 50 lakh
Premium Rs 250-Rs 5,500 Charges lower 
premium for the
same or higher cover 
Source: General Insurance

Kanvinde claims is the first general company to cover congenital diseases. Besides, no medical tests are required for those up to 40 years of age, she added.

This plan is available for women in the age group of 25-45 years, providing a sum insured of Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. Depending on the merit of the case, there may be a bonus to cover child education and loss of job, Rs 25,000 each, in addition to the sum insured. The insurer’s regular critical illness plan comparatively covers a much larger age group (6-59 years) and provides a larger sum insured (Rs 1-50 lakh).

A low sum insured is no reason for worry, though, feels Kanvinde, who says, “This is a benefit policy. Women seeking a higher cover than Rs 2 lakh would be considered on a case to case basis.”

This may pinch your pocket though, especially, if you fall in highest age bracket (51-55 years) and want maximum cover of Rs 2 lakh. The premium here will be Rs 5,500.

Otherwise, it starts at Rs 250, varying as per age and coverage sought. At the highest premium bracket, the plan offers less, compared to Bajaj’s regular critical illness plan, which charges Rs 5,250 for an individual in the age bracket of 51-55 years, for a cover of Rs 3 lakh.

Most importantly, the kinds of cancer covered by this plan for women are specified. So any occurrence outside of this will be an exclusion, such as throat cancer. This is unlike the regular critical illness plan that would cover cancer in general. Hence, any kind, including the ones covered by the women’s plan, will be covered by it.

This is the main reason why Malhar Majumder, a certified financial planner, says he would refrain from recommending this plan to his clients.

“Under this plan, the company has tried to categorise the ailments for women. But in doing so, they have reduced the scope of the coverage by including fewer ailments. In fact, they have even missed out women-specific problems like osteoporosis,” says Majumder.

In short, the for-women-plan offers less for more. Even as an add-on, the plan doesn’t score. As Majumder says, if higher cover is needed against critical illnesses and resulting financial problems, it might make sense to simply go for a higher coverage from a regular critical illness plan.

First Published: Thu, February 16 2012. 00:21 IST