Catastrophic Illness Insurance

Dictionary Says

Definition of 'Catastrophic Illness Insurance'


A type of insurance that protects the insured, in the event of specified major health events, during a defined period of time. Catastrophic illness insurance coverage is usually a lump sum, and can be full or partial depending on the condition and the policy. Some conditions covered could include (but not limited to); long-term hospitalization, heart attack, stroke or cancer.

Also known as "critical illness insurance". Catastrophic illness insurance can be used to supplement a beneficiary's existing health and disability coverage. Restrictions are unique to the provider, but typically claims will be rejected due to: pre-existing conditions, not surviving 30 days after diagnosis, and any critical diagnosis within the first 90 days.

Investopedia Says

Investopedia explains 'Catastrophic Illness Insurance'


Catastrophic illness insurance will have lower premiums for a younger/healthier person but basic medial costs, such as annual check-ups are not covered. The average payout in 2007 was under $100,000 with an average age just under 50 years old.

Catastrophic illness insurance may also be called a "major medical plan", and will often include expenses incurred both inside and outside the hospital, such as in-home nurse care and lab tests. This type of insurance was created in large part to prevent bankruptcy due to a lengthy or expensive illness, and is even common in some developing nations.

The U.S., in 1986, under President Ronald Regan, explored the possibility of creating a health insurance program called "catastrophic illness insurance". This program focused on insuring the elderly facing long-term expensive healthcare needs through voluntary participation. Initially it gained support but was voted out in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989.

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