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Super top-up or critical illness plan?

There is no "one size fits all" approach. For some people, buying both may make sense

I have a personal health insurance of Rs 4 lakhs. Should I now go for a Super Top-up plan or a Critical Illness plan? What all parameters should I consider?
-Pushkin Gupta

There is no "one size fits all" answer to this. Different people may have different needs and for some, buying both may make sense. Here is a brief description of both:

Critical illness plans pay a lump sum to a policyholder on diagnosis of serious ailments listed in the policy document. Importantly, the sum assured is paid out irrespective of whether you are hospitalised or not. Unlike a regular health insurance plan, a critical illness plan terminates once the payout is made. A critical illness can often mean loss of income, total or partial disability and change in lifestyle. The financial burden could be far more than what an indemnity health plan, which pays hospital bills, would cover. If you have a family history of any chronic illness, then a critical illness cover may not be a bad idea. Read through the fine print of exclusions and what diseases are covered. Some companies cover upto 37 illnesses whereas some cover only 12. You can consider Apollo Munich Optima Vital and ICICI Prudential Crisis Cover. Apollo Munich covers 37 critical illnesses while ICICI Prudential covers 35. You must go through the policy details thoroughly.

Super top-up plans provide additional health insurance cover, over and above your existing health plan. These plans enhance your health coverage for lower premium than what a regular health plan would charge. Unlike critical illness plans, regular health plans work on indemnity principle where the plan compensates to the extent of actual expenses incurred subject to the ceiling of sum insured. A regular health plan covers your hospitalization expenses, pre and post hospitalization expenses and some pre specified day care procedures. It does not terminate after a claim is made. United India Super Top Up policy, Religare Enhance Super top up and Apollo Munich Optima Super are some of the good ones. Be sure to go through the policy document and policy brochure carefully. Also pay attention to the exclusions and waiting period.

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