Cancer coverage in health insurance for women: 5 key factors to look out for

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Written By Charlotte Miller

According to data published by the cancer registry, approximately 800,000 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in India each year going forward (Source: Cancer Prevention and Control in India). This dreadful disease can affect anyone. According to statistics, one in every eight women is diagnosed with cancer at some point in her life (Source: American Cancer Society). Today, with women shouldering equal rights and responsibilities, it is critical to secure financial support to combat this deadly disease if it occurs.

This is where a cancer care health insurance plan can be of great help. Cancer treatment is a costly affair, so much so that many people surrender to their condition since they cannot afford the cost. For the past few years, ovarian cancer has been on a rise among Indian women. Breast cancer is the most common female cancer followed by cervical cancer in India (Source: NCBI).

This data is a wake-up call for all women to invest in their health and financial security, and buy a robust cancer insurance plan to ensure coverage from the very beginning in case it is needed. 

When buying cancer coverage in health insurance for women, you must consider some important factors to make sure you get adequate coverage at the best cost. However, before we get into the nitty gritty of cancer coverage in health insurance, let us look at what is a women cancer plan. 

Women cancer plan

A women’s cancer plan is essentially a health insurance plan intended to cover cancer-related costs for women. 

In India, a large number of women suffer from different types of cancer such as breast, ovary, and cervix cancer, making it necessary to have an insurance plan to cover the cost of advanced treatment options, hospitalisation stays, loss of income and more. 

After all, a medical contingency does not come knocking on the door.

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Things to keep in mind when buying cancer coverage for women

1.Cancer coverage policy types

Health insurance plans fall into three categories:

  • A base health insurance plan, such as an indemnity-based plan, offers cancer coverage under the terms of the policy. Take note of add-on riders for hospitalisation or treatment related to accidents and other conditions.
  • Critical illness plans or benefit-based insurance policies include cancer as well as standard listed ailments.
  • Cancer-care plans are benefit-based and are specifically created to address the needs of people with cancer.

In addition to basic health insurance plans, cancer insurance plans are a great alternative as they cover more extensive components than just hospitalisation costs. The plan covers any additional costs for cancer screenings, OPD visits, and other non-hospital medical care. Women with a history of cancer in the family are advised to buy cancer-specific plans.

Spend some time learning about the associated risks. These policies are long-term arrangements that provide a lump-sum payment for the costs of healthcare. They also allow you reimbursement for a loss of regular income. 

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2.Types and stages of cancer, exclusions

You should specifically ask about cancers unique to women such as breast, ovarian, cervical, endometrial, and uterine cancer. However, your plan should also cover cancers that are not specific to a particular gender. Your policy should promise you comprehensive coverage and optimal protection. 

Additionally, there might be restrictions on the stages of cancer that are covered by some insurers. Choose a health insurance plan that, ideally, covers both minor as well as major stages so that the cases of early and late diagnosis are taken into account. Before selecting a plan, read and understand policy terms related to the maximum age of admission, the exclusion of certain treatments for associated conditions or their symptoms etc.

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3.Waiting and survival period

Cancer coverage waiting periods can differ from plan to plan and provider to provider. The waiting period is the time frame that must be adhered to in its entirety before being eligible for coverage. A survival period is a time that the patient must endure during serious illnesses such as cancer to get the payout from the insurance provider. In both situations, a shorter time frame is preferable. 

4.The sum insured and types of payouts 

To ensure adequate coverage at all times, choose a higher insured amount, particularly one that includes a restoration benefit relevant to the same disease treatment. It is important because most cancer treatments are likely to be prolonged and continuous. Most cancer health insurance plans include a lump sum payment upon initial diagnosis that can be used to cover treatment expenses or to pay off loans or other debts. Only in certain circumstances do you get reimbursement for the incurred medical costs.

5.Coverage limit

Some health insurance plan providers charge you with co-payment. It means that you must pay a pre-decided part of the treatment expenses out of your pocket. Alternatively, the total amount of treatment costs that the insurance provider will cover may be subject to upper caps or sub-limits. In such a case, you will be responsible for covering the difference. Hence, considering the striking cost of cancer treatment, it is beneficial to search for cancer insurance plans that offer maximum payouts up to the sum insured.


When it comes to cancer insurance in health insurance for women, there are numerous variables and complexities at play. Always read the fine print for more information and to prevent any unexpected claim rejections down the road. 

When in doubt, speak with an experienced insurance provider who has the necessary skills to provide you with an unbiased opinion and the exact information you need to make an educated choice.