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Five common myths about health insurance debunked

Many misconceptions about health insurance arise due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of insurance and its conditions

December 29, 2021 / 10:37 AM IST

Health insurance is indispensable for all age groups in today’s era of unhealthy lifestyles, polluted environments, rising infectious diseases, stressful work life, and increasing medical costs. The high probability of having health issues has reinforced the need to have the adequate financial security to survive unexpected circumstances. Additionally, COVID-19 and its aftermath have brought back the spotlight on the importance of a comprehensive insurance cover in meeting uncertain medical emergencies.

Medical insurance is a commonly misunderstood financial product, leading to chaos, confusion, and disappointment during untoward medical exigencies. Many misconceptions about health insurance arise due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of insurance and its conditions. Users need to separate myths from facts to make an informed decision while buying a health insurance plan.

Here are five common health insurance myths and the reality behind them.

Myth 1: Insurance is not required for the young and healthy

Fact: It is beneficial to have a health insurance plan from a young age. A policy purchased early in life offers coverage at an affordable premium, as the risk of getting hospitalised is minimal.

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Also, not all diseases are covered under the insurance plan from day one. Health insurance plans have waiting periods ranging from 2-4 years for covering some specific diseases depending on the policy conditions.

In case the person has some pre-existing health conditions, the coverage for these conditions will begin only after completing a specified waiting period as per health insurance regulations. Typically, this waiting period ranges from 36-48 months from the date of buying the policy.

Therefore, purchasing a health insurance plan early offers a financial shield and helps us stay prepared for any unpredictable medical emergencies.

Myth 2: A minimum of 24-hour hospitalisation is mandatory to claim health insurance

Fact: With medical advancements, some medical surgeries and procedures requiring prolonged hospitalisation are completed within 24 hours. Also, many health insurance companies have started providing coverage for day-care procedures such as chemotherapy, dialysis, eye surgery, radiotherapy, and lithotripsy. Some insurers have also started providing coverage for outpatient procedures such as dental treatment with certain restrictions.

Myth 3: Employer contributed health insurance will suffice

Fact: Several organisations cover their employees and close family members under the corporate health insurance plan. A corporate insurance plan is beneficial but does not provide complete coverage for elderly parents and dependent family members, and the amount of cover offered might not be sufficient to cover major hospitalisations.

Also, these plans are valid only till the time the employee is working with the same employer. Hence, it is advisable to have an insurance cover over and above corporate plans for the safety and wellbeing of oneself and loved ones.

Buying an individual health insurance cover in the later stage of life would be expensive and might not be available for individuals with severe health conditions. Furthermore, people who hop jobs should be aware of the risk of interim medical exigencies when no cover would be available.

Myth 4: Buying health insurance online is unsafe.

Fact: Digitisation has streamlined the process of buying health insurance online. Purchasing health insurance online is cheaper as there is no involvement of intermediaries, and most insurance companies offer online discount to their customers.

All the details related to health insurance policies are available online and can be accessed immediately at the click of a button. It also becomes very convenient for customers to compare multiple insurance plans on the basis of features and premiums and select the option which is best-suited to their individual needs.

Secured payment gateways ensure end-to-end privacy and confidentiality of personal data. Moreover, the turnaround time to access insurance is shortened as individuals can address queries instantly, and insurers can verify furnished information in real-time.

Myth 5: Cheap policy is equivalent to the best policy.

Fact: A lot of people consider only the cost aspect and often choose policies with lower premiums. Although cost is an essential factor, it is crucial to compare the wide range of policies on all key aspects such as features, waiting periods and co-payments. You must choose the plan that offers maximum benefits and extensive coverage. Insurance plans with lower premiums may have restricted covers or reduced features, and so it is important to understand all the details of the plan before deciding on the policy to purchase

Healthcare is expensive, and it is vital to choose an appropriate health insurance plan to secure your family’s health and financial wellbeing. Policy buyers must be wary of the misinformation and do away with the myths to make the right decision.
Parag Ved is President & Head - Consumer Lines, Tata AIG General Insurance
first published: Dec 29, 2021 10:37 am
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