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Buying a health insurance plan? Use these 5 tips

The earlier and younger you buy a health insurance, the lower premium you pay for it.

November 04, 2018 / 09:28 AM IST

Health insurance is a necessity in today’s times as the cost of treatment and medication is skyrocketing and people are also now more prone to lifestyle illnesses than before. However, there is nothing as an ideal sum insured as this depends on various factors such as age, income, family size, the city of residence, preferred hospitals, etc.

Ashish Mehrotra, MD &CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance said that Metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi etc. have high treatments costs hence anything less than Rs 15 lakhs for a family of 2 adults and 2 young kids would be insufficient in today’s day and age. Also, it is advised to opt for a complete protection plan which includes various value-added benefits like OPD, free health checkups, wellness benefits, health coaching, international treatment for critical illnesses, loyalty rewards irrespective of claims, etc. One should also top up their health insurance portfolio with a critical illness plan since it offers a lumpsum payout, and acts as a second financial buffer,” he said.

Buy health insurance as early as possible

It is a great decision to buy a personal health cover early in life as consumers can serve their waiting periods when they are still in the best of health and utilise the policy when it’s needed. Jyoti Punja, Chief Customer Officer, Cigna TTK Health Insurance Co. Ltd said that a majority of Indian population believes that health insurance is required only when you feel vulnerable to illnesses. This notion exists due to under-penetration and lack of awareness about the benefits of health insurance. It’s often seen many people leave the decision of purchasing a health insurance plan to a later age. They assume that they will stay healthy in the early years, and no medical emergency will strike them. However, nothing in life seems certain, and it is better to be insured under all circumstance. It is wiser to secure yourself throughout your life through all the different stages. “The earlier and younger you buy a health insurance, the lower you pay for it. As buying a plan at a young age has many advantages like low premium, tax benefit, lower chances of rejection, wider options, adequate financial planning etc.,” she said.

Check the room rent capping


Vaidyanathan Ramani, Head Product and Innovations, said that the most important factor while buying a health insurance plan is to look for room rent capping. The room rent limit should be as high as claim reimbursement would be as per room rent limit. For example: if your room rent limit is Rs 5000 a day and you take a room on rent worth Rs 6000 per day for two days.  Here, the increase in room charges is 20%. Suppose your total hospitalisation bill is approximately Rs 100,000, the deductible of 20% will be applicable and you will have to pay Rs 20,000 out of your own pocket. “Therefore, it is always advisable to have no limit on room rent in the plan you decide to buy,” she said.

The waiting period for Pre- Existing Diseases

You must look twice at the waiting period for pre-existing diseases. This is very important. Generally, insurance companies exclude pre-existing conditions for a certain period. The period may depend from insurance company to insurance company; typically it is between 2-4 years. One should buy a policy which has reduced waiting period.

Restoration benefit

Restoration benefit basically restores or recharge original sum insured. “It is important to buy a policy which has inbuilt restore option and automatically recharge your sum insured in case, more than one hospitalization in the same year. However, this is only applicable for unrelated illnesses. It is an important feature especially in the case of a family floater plan,” said Ramani.

Timely increase your cover

It is equally important to keep increasing the cover on a regular basis so that it is in line with the rising medical expenses. “Medical inflation is estimated at 12-14% and health insurance coverage also needs to keep pace with this. To address this growing concern, health insurance companies now-a-days provide guarantees 10% increase in sum insured (without any maximum cap) at the time of renewal, irrespective of claims made in the policy year,” said Mehrotra.
Navneet Dubey
first published: Jul 20, 2018 10:43 am
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