The need for Health Insurance
When it comes to financial planning goals, securing your life and assets is the most prudent action you can take now. Especially given what we are going through currently with the pandemic, adequate health insurance and life cover that provide for you and your family in an unexpected crisis are ideal.
As per The Hindu (data from July 2021), health inflation increased to 8.4% and 7.7% in May and June 2021, respectively, from 3.8% in December 2019. When closely examined, there has been a consistent increase in medicine costs (8.6% y-o-y increase in June), medical tests (6.2%), hospital charges (5.9%), and consultation fees (4.5%). Therefore, it’s more important now to have a health Insurance plan that covers hospitalization expenses not only for you but for your family too. And preferably one that covers COVID-19 hospitalization expenses also.
Lifestyle diseases are on the rise, with stress and other sedentary habits being part and parcel of modern times. Even if your employer provides a Mediclaim policy, it may not provide enough cover. Besides, a health insurance plan premium is tax-deductible as per Sec 80D of the Income Tax Act.
The Benefits of buying Medical Insurance Policy
A medical insurance plan covers not only hospitalization expenses but also includes day care procedures, pre and post hospitalization charges, domiciliary and ambulance charges, etc. You can be worry-free and only focus on recuperation and resting well.
In addition to coverage for medical expenses and protection against health cost inflation as described above, a health Insurance plan covers critical illnesses either as part of the plan or as a rider – for example, Heart and Cancer plans, Kidney failure, Paralysis, Stroke, Multiple sclerosis etc.
In addition, you can avail of cashless hospitalization by getting admitted to any one of the insurer’s network hospitals, so no need for out-of-pocket expenses.
What factors must be kept in mind while choosing a suitable Health Insurance Policy
While selecting a health insurance plan, keep in mind the claim process. Look out for hassle-free claims processes as well. In case of health Insurance, look for cashless hospitalization. Make sure that your spouse/family understands the intimation and claim process so that they are self-reliant and can manage this part independently.
Considering different types of health Insurance plans in India, single health plans and base plans with top-up are most common. A single health plan, as the name suggests, has a single large cover and you may get superior packages that cover more benefits and can cost higher premiums.
Insurance policy with a base plan gives you the flexibility to top up your plan once you have exhausted the claim amount or want to increase the benefits from it. A top-up plan provides an increase in the insurance coverage over and above your existing base policy cover at lower costs as compared to increasing the sum assured of the base policy. Keep these factors in mind while buying health insurance.
Some tips to get affordable health insurance plans or lessen your premium burden
- Get Health Insurance at an early age
It’s always wiser to go for a health insurance plan at an early age, considering that you are in the best of health with less chance of comorbidities. Insurance providers keep in mind these factors while checking your eligibility for a health insurance cover.
- Go for co-pay and deductibles
Co-payment refers to when you opt in to pay a fixed sum towards your treatment or
hospitalization. A deductible is a fixed payment you will have to make towards the same before your insurance policy starts contributing. Compare several policies offering these cost-sharing options. If you fail to select the right amount of co-pay, deductible, etc., you may finally pay more towards your overall hospitalization cost than premium savings.
- Affordable family health insurance plans
When it comes to family, the best idea is to go for family floater health insurance policies as they are cheaper than taking an individual policy for each family member. Look at the fine print and coverage details, other terms, and conditions thoroughly before buying such a health plan. Purchase a policy for your parents before they turn 60 years of age, as the premium increases considerably and it may be difficult to get them health coverage after this age.
- Compare the affordability of different health insurance plans online, especially top-up plans
Today we are spoilt for choice, thanks to different health insurance providers online. Compare the features and coverage vis-à-vis the premiums for these plans. Also, it may be a better idea to go for a top-up plan with any provider to get higher coverage at lower premiums.
In conclusion, before you go ahead and buy health insurance, do make sure that you compare the features and benefits, coverage, and other fine print, like inclusions and exclusions. Eliminate plans that are, overall, not better than other plans. Ensure that the health insurance plan you choose covers all the medical needs and gives you easy access to quality healthcare at a cost-effective rate. Higher premium need not always be detrimental- if you are getting the necessary benefits and can save you a lot more in the long run!