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What is the Difference Between Health Insurance and Critical Illness?

In the context of the current global health crisis, being prepared for medical emergencies has emerged as a greater priority than ever before. Given the unpredictability of various medical conditions and the rising costs of healthcare, it is prudent to be financially prepared with a trusted insurance plan. However, a common dilemma that often emerges regarding the topic of being medically insured is that of health insurance vs critical illness covers.

Both health insurance and critical illness covers are designed to serve as much-needed financial assistance in the event of unforeseen medical requirements. However, while both of these products share this and other similarities, they also differ significantly in other aspects. Therefore, as an insurance seeker, it might be worth taking a better look at the health insurance vs critical illness discussion, and making your choice with the best foot forward.


What Is Health Insurance?

Firstly, let us review what is meant by health insurance. Health insurance refers to a type of insurance that serves the purpose of paying for medical or surgical expenses for the insured individual or individuals. Health insurance comes in a variety of different forms, and depending on the terms of coverage, the insured can either be reimbursed for the medical expenses or the payment can be made directly from the insurer to the healthcare provider.

What Is a Critical Illness Cover?

Next, let us review what a critical illness cover is and how it works. In the context of insurance, the term ‘cover’ is used to refer to an additional feature you can add to your existing insurance plan in order to enhance your coverage. If the event or unfortunate circumstance specified by an insurance cover does take place, your insurance coverage can be extended to help you meet expenses. In the case of Critical Illness cover, your insurance coverage can be enhanced to help you financially cope with the expenses relating to a wide range of debilitating diseases, known as Critical Illnesses.

Differences Between Health Insurance and Critical Illness

Now, that we have a better understanding of the concepts of health insurance and critical illness cover, let us review a point-by-point comparison between the two. To help put the health insurance vs critical illness in perspective, here are the differences between them:


Health Insurance

Critical Illness Cover


Coverage under health insurance plans is provided for expenses related to hospitalizations as well as treatment for medical conditions. Health insurance plans also cover other related expenses such as ambulance charges, consultation fees, and medicine costs.

Critical illnesses cover a large portion of expenses specifically relating to the diagnosis and treatment of a definite list of critical illnesses, including cancer, heart attack, kidney failure and stroke. These expenses also include consultation fees and other medical expenses.


Regular health insurance plans pay out for the expenses related to your medical emergency and subsequently adjust the sum assured accordingly.

A critical illness cover pays out a lump sum amount only in the event that the insured is diagnosed with any of the specified illnesses. The coverage then ceases to exist, unless renewed.


Health insurance provides a more extensive medical coverage, which is why the insured can make multiple claims throughout the tenure of the policy.

During the tenure of the critical illness coverage, you can only make a single claim.

Term of Policy

Most health insurance plans allow the policyholder to avail a term of his or her choice. The policy is then only renewed after that specific period of years.

Critical Illness cover offers a typically annual policy and requires renewal every year.

Other Features

Certain health insurance plans, such as those available on Finserv MARKETS, offer the convenience of cashless facilities at any of their network hospitals.

Most critical illness covers do not offer this convenience of cashless payments.



In these aforementioned ways, health insurance and critical illness cover are considerably different from each other. However, one thing that is essential to remember amidst the health insurance vs critical illness discussion is that both serve their own purpose when it comes to helping the insured deal with the rising costs of healthcare. While critical illness cover offers assistance for specific diseases, health insurance offers a more extensive coverage for a variety of conditions.

If you are on the lookout for a trusted health insurance plan in the market, look no further than Finserv MARKETS and their personalized, affordable health insurance plans. With sum assured of up to Rs 50 lakhs and premiums as low as just Rs. 198 per month, you can avail a health insurance policy with no capping on room rent, swift claim settlements and cashless facilities in more than 6500 hospitals.

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