The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority in one of its recent directives had asked general insurance companies to keep at least 65 years as the maximum entry age for a health insurance policy.
Health insurance is more important for the elderly than the others, for the simple reason that, as age advances, one’s vulnerability to diseases and physical conditions increases. Thus, a medical emergency could result in severe financial crisis, unless covered under a comprehensive medical insurance policy. Adding to their apathy is the fact that there are many a number of Health insurers in the country who are not happy to provide senior citizens health insurance because of the higher loss ratios.
The scenario now is changing. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority in one of its recent directives had asked general insurance companies to keep at least 65 years as the maximum entry age for a health insurance policy. This has helped increase the number of health insurance products for senior citizens in the Indian market. Many companies have no come up with health insurance policy specifically designed for senior citizens. For example, Star Health Senior Citizen Red Carpet Plan, Bajaj Allianz Silver Health and many more.
Elaborating a little on these plans, Star Health Senior Citizen Red Carpet policy covers people in the age group of 60-69 years. Although there is copayment of 50%, there are no medical tests required at the time of the payment of the policy. Similarly, Similarly, Bajaj Allianz Silver Plan covers people till the age group of 75 years and the policy can be renewed till 80 years. The Sum Insured options start from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5,00,000. Similarly, Oriental insurance’s plan called Hope states no upper age limit for health insurance and covers 11 specified critical illness diseases like Accidental Injury, Knee Replacement, Cardio Vascular Diseases, Chronic Renal Failure, Cancer, Hepato-Biliary Disorders, Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases, etc.
There are a couple of things that senior citizens should keep in mind while purchasing health insurance. Firstly, if you are confident about your health then take a health examination and show proof of your good health to a health insurance agent & company. This proves that you might be getting up there in age but there aren’t any high risks that they would have to take yet. Secondly, it’s imperative that good hospitals near the policy holder’s place of residence are under the network hospitals. At the time of emergency, travelling long distance to reach the network hospital is not suitable at all.
Waiting period for pre-existing conditions is also an important aspect to keep in mind when it comes to purchasing health insurance. Lesser the pre-existing cover, the better. Normally, it ranges between 3-4 years for senior citizens. Copayment options should also be considered as it reduces the premium to be paid by the policy holder. Finally, in case of senior citizen plans, it is very important that all the clauses are read and clearly understood. A seemingly normal looking clause can have certain hidden implications; hence, it is advised to consult the company representative to get a perfect clarity.
As the market is abound with options it gets important to go through all the options and then zero down on one to buy the best health insurance policy for the elderly. Ideally, try to compare senior citizen health insurance quotes online from a number of different providers. It allows you to pick and choose from policies and rates and get in touch with a representative of the insurance company to discuss risk and ways you can lower it. Before you decide on purchasing a certain policy, we would recommend you scan all the possible options and decide on the one that is best healthcare policy suitable for senior citizens.
The author is a CEO and co-founder, www.policybazaar.com