Critical Illness Cover

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UK Critical Illness insurance

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Critical illness insurance is a specialized product designed to protect an individual financially in the instance that the individual contracts one of the covered ailments. Generally paying a lump sum upon a confirmed diagnosis, the money can be used for a diversified set of needs, not as targeted as those associated with major medical coverage. There are, however, a great number of conditions that are not covered, and anyone considering purchasing such a policy is strongly encouraged to study it carefully to be assured that the desired protection is available. Furthermore, it is critical to read any policy under consideration for the procedures used to qualify potential claims Ė this poses a host of pitfalls that can only be avoided by careful attention. Overall, critical illness insurance is a useful product if it is used appropriately and the right policy is selected.

The Mechanics of Critical Illness Coverage

When an individual purchases a critical illness policy, he or she is contracting to receive a set amount of money in the event that he is diagnosed with one of the covered diseases. These tend to include diseases including heart attack, stroke, or cancer, as well as some of the preventative procedures associated with these diseases, like coronary artery by-pass surgery. Other major diseases and conditions including kidney problems, blindness, and Parkinsonís are also typically covered.

The specific ailments that tend to be included in these types of policies change over time. Illnesses that once qualified as critical have become inconvenient. Other diseases not conceived when this type of coverage was introduced have been identified. The inclusion of specific diseases is most heavily influenced by the publicís view of those diseases and the need felt by the insurance companies to be competitive. Diseases that have low incidence rates are often covered if they have received press attention and the public views coverage as needed. Other more common diseases may remain uncovered if they are not view as sufficient threats to be demanded by the consuming public. The insurer wishes to limit the number of illnesses covered so as to avoid paying-out more frequently. There is a constant push and pull between these forces.

Uses of Money Provided by Coverage

Where major medical insurance may usually only be used to pay medical bills, once a payment is made by a critical illness coverage provider, the funds may be used for nearly anything designed to defray the cost of the illness. This can range from paying medical bills not covered by medical insurance, to retiring debt, to covering lost income. Furthermore, because the payment is typically a lump sum, the insurer requires almost no accounting of how the funds are used.

Potential Pitfalls of Critical Illness Coverage

There are a variety of pitfalls that must be understood to protect oneself from both unfortunate circumstances and capricious insurance companies. In many of these policies, there is a waiting period between diagnosis and payment. The insured must survive for a minimum period in order to receive the benefits that have been contracted for, and for which premiums have been paid. Depending on the specific diagnosis, the period may vary in length, but is typically around thirty days. It is important to understand, however, the diagnosis is likely specifically defined by the policy. Confirmation by a specialist may be required, or confirmation by a specific test may be necessary. A specific diagnostic criterion may be outdated and no longer in common use, but without the results of this test, the waiting period does not begin. While the largest and most reputable carriers try to update these standards, and make corresponding changes to the coverage of policyholders, the standards in practice can change very quickly. Knowing oneís benefits and the specifics needed to receive the protection that has been paid for is the only complete defense, particularly in a carrier wishes to be contentious.

Another serious pitfall to consider is changes that may be made to coverage throughout the life of the policy. As certain illness become less crippling, they often are not included in new policies. Some carriers may reserve the right to remove illnesses from the covered list if notice is given. This should be understood and monitored if one wishes to be fully covered.

Finally, a significant pitfall to this type of coverage is specific exclusions that must be understood. Many diseases have several classifications that are based on minor distinctions. Others have phases that are reached as the disease progresses. In some cases, only certain classifications are covered, even when the distinction is minor and differentiation is difficult. With progressive diseases, if only an advanced stage is covered, the insured is responsible for meeting the diagnostic criteria of the covered phase and providing proper documentation. For those fighting a life-altering disease, this is easy to overlook, particularly when noting the advancing nature of the disease involves the admission that the illness is overtaking the patient.

A cancer patient, for example, may be told that in addition to the recommended course of treatment, a positive attitude is of significant importance. If this individual must also take regular note of when her cancer has progressed from phase 2 to phase 3, she may find staying positive more difficult. The issue, of course, is that without a confirmed phase 3 diagnosis, this same patient may not be entitled to the coverage she has contracted for with the carrier. Even without this concern, when one turns oneís attention to fighting a disease, it is easy to forget to jump through bureaucratic hoops.

Overall, critical illness insurance is appropriate for those who wish of need to protect themselves and their families from the possibly debilitating effects of a horrible illness. Parents, in particular, may find carrying this type of coverage for any breadwinners in the home is both prudent and affords a level of comfort that is appreciated. Before settling on a given policy, it is important to understand the intricacies of the coverage that one will receive to ensure that it meets oneís specific requirements.

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