Health insurance policy covers the expenses of the insured person’s medical and surgical treatment. Future is uncertain; you never know when an illness or accident can happen. An insurance policy covers the expenses of these uncertain happenings.
Am I telling you a new thing? NO!! You already know but still people don’t buy health insurances.
In a country like India, most people are not conscious of a health insurance policy and its benefits. Mostly, the employee section takes an insurance policy because the employer provides extra benefits. Then comes the richer section, and professional section people who buy a health insurance policy.
But the majority of middle class considers insurance as a burden on their pocket and feel that it will be difficult for them to pay a fixed premium at regular intervals. Even sometimes the psychology is that they are immune to major diseases, and any uncertainty would not happen to them.
Uncertainty can happen in anyone’s life, anytime. When it happens, the person who doesn’t have an insurance policy has to face the real trouble. For arranging the expenses of doctors, medicine, hospitals or surgery they have to break their FD’s, take the loan at higher rates or sometimes have to mortgage their property also.
If a person is insured under health insurance policy, he doesn’t have to suffer much because these expenses will be borne by the insurance company. Additional benefit is that the insured person can also claim the deduction under Sec-80D of income tax act that in turn helps in saving income tax.
First, consider following points before taking a health insurance policy
At present, there are many companies that provide health insurance policy. Every company has their terms and conditions. Some provide genuine service, and some are solely building profit. For a layman, it becomes difficult to differentiate between these and to decide which company will provide the genuine coverage to his health risks becomes confusing. There are some points that must be considered before taking a health insurance company’s service.
Compare polices as per the requirements..
First make a list of your requirements like the term of policy, premium, base plan, and your expected top up cover. Then compare these with the features of your selected policy. Find out how much of your requirements are fulfilled by the policies available. If you are satisfied with the terms of policies and they tune with your requirements, then take the policy otherwise find out another one according to your requirement.
Coverage is more important than premiums
Most people look for a policy having lesser premium but ignore the fact that it will cover you for corresponding lesser time. They are buying a policy having a lesser premium that covers their health up to the age of 40-45 and ignore that real health issues start after the age of 45-50. So make sure your health insurance policy cover is for a longer period. At present, some companies start providing coverage up to the age of 70, the premium of these policies is greater than the other, but they do not prove to be much beneficial.
Joint policy or an individual policy
Many times a person is confused whether he has to buy a joint policy for the whole family or an individual policy for each member. On that confusion, it is advised that if all the members are young and below the age of 50 then buy a joint health insurance policy. If any person of your family is above the age of 50, then buy an individual policy for that person and buy a joint policy for the rest members because person at old age are more prone to health needs and thus expenses.
Cashless medical claims
There are different insurance companies with varied ways of settlement of medical claims. Some of them provide reimbursement of the treatment after paid by you at the hospital counter and some provide cashless claim which means they directly make payment to the hospital. The cashless claim policy is better because here you don’t have to bother about paying the hospital bills and then run for the reimbursement.
Disease at the time of buying the policy
Sometimes the person already suffers from some disease at the time of buying a health insurance policy. In that case you will find two type of insurances – First, those don’t cover pre-existing disease at all and second type of insurance don’t cover the disease from the first day of the policy but accept after a waiting period of 3-4 years. They don’t accept any claim during the waiting period, corresponding to the pre-existing disease. So if you are suffering from any disease then buy a policy with lesser waiting period.
Insurance company’s network with hospitals
Before buying an insurance policy, you must check the hospital network covered by the policy especially in the case of cashless medical claim policy. You must compare the network in your preferred area, which is nearest to your convenience. If hospital network is not as per your criteria, then you should look for another company’s policy.
Settlement of claims
Sometimes the claims are not settled down by the company itself rather a third party settles the claims. The process of settlement in the case of a third party becomes lengthy and is not safe as in the case of settlement made by the insurance company itself. So you should avoid such kind of policies.
Choose advisor carefully
There are always some hidden terms that a company itself never reveals. So at the time of finding an advisor or policy broker make sure the person is fair enough that he would reveal all the hidden facts about the policy. With all that, it is always better if you read all the documents by yourself.
Before finalizing a policy, determine the sum assured on the city basis, for how much duration you buy the policy and the city you live in. The health care cost in big cities is more than the smaller cities. So make sure sum assured is as per your city expenses.
If you want to buy a policy for 20 years, then sum assured should be according to the expenses after 20 years from now because the expenses will inflate many times as compared to today.
Flexibility of the policy
Flexibility arises with a question that, do companies change their terms at the time of emergency?
To answer this take an example, a person has a health insurance policy that offers cashless claim settlement. That person suddenly gets heart attack and in this emergency, due to some reason he had to get admitted to a hospital that do not have a network with the insurance company. In that case, the insurance company may, either provide reimbursement of the bills or can pay directly to the hospital. Sometimes insurance company do not pay any claim because their terms don’t allow such approval. So make clear all such facts at the time of buying the policy.
Buy a health insurance policy as earlier as possible
It is often seen that people are seeking their dream policy with a mindset that it should cover everything they want like less premium, high cover, less settlement time of claim, no further processing.
It is also observed that people often delay in search of a better/ideal policy. You may cross the age limit, or you might have suffered from some disease that will never be covered. So it’s better to buy health insurance policy at the early stage.
These are some points that you should keep in your mind while buying a health insurance policy and make sure you will buy the best suited, from the available options.