Health insurance, whether it’s an individual plan or a family floater, is not something that you should buy in a hurry. Many salaried people buy insurance at the end of the year to save tax without much thought and realize their mistake later. Buying medical insurance should be a well-thought-out decision as it can have far-reaching implications when the time comes to really encash its benefits.
Even a single major illness in the family can easily wipe away your savings. A 2018 report by Mercer Marsh Benefits forecasted that medical costs in India will rise by 10% annually; double the rate of inflation at 5% per annum. Even if you are able to increase your income according to the rate of inflation, your earnings won’t be enough to cover rising healthcare costs.
Whether you apply for health insurance online or buy from an authorized representative, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. In this article, we identify the five important things you need to look at before buying a plan.
5 Things to Look For Before You Buy Health Insurance
Make sure that your health insurance policy offers lifetime renewability. If your existing policy has a clause that doesn’t allow renewal after a certain age, consider upgrading or buying one from a new insurer. Lifelong renewal is an important feature because most people experience deteriorating health with increasing age. If your health insurance plan has lifetime renewability, you don’t have to worry about buying a policy when you grow old, which can be very costly. Instead, your insurer will send you timely reminders to renew your insurance which you can continue doing your entire life without worrying about paying for medical costs out of your pocket.
If your insurer says that it has the best policy in India and yet you have trouble availing cashless health insurance benefits or there is too much paperwork and delay, opt for one that offers better services. Cashless hospitalization is one of the primary reasons people buy a health plan, and if you are not getting those benefits as expected, there is no point in getting stuck with the same insurer. Settle for one with a higher claims settlement ratio (CSR) and a larger network of hospitals.Allianz Health Insurance, available on Finserv MARKETS, boasts of a CSR of 94% and an extensive list of 6000+ impaneled hospitals across India. You can apply online right away and buy a health plan right from the comfort of your home.
3.Corporate mediclaim coverage is not enough:
Your employer provides you free group mediclaim coverage and that’s a valuable benefit. But is that enough to provide you coverage for major illnesses with an adequate amount of sum insured? Even the best mediclaim policy by employers only provides coverage for you, your spouse and your children up to a limit. What about your parents? What about the insurance coverage when you are between jobs? You should buy a family floater plan for adequate coverage for your family including parents to supplement your group mediclaim policy. To maximize no claim bonus (NCB) for your family floater health insurance policy, you should use your own policy only after exhausting the group mediclaim coverage from your employer.
4.Porting your health policy:
If you had a bad experience with your current policy provider, such as delays or denial of claims, bad customer support, and higher premiums, you can opt for health insurance portability to benefit from lower premiums while keeping your NCB, waiting-period, and sum insured intact. You can opt for better features, benefits, and services with leading providers for speedy claim settlement.
5.Research and compare:
Before you buy a medical policy online, familiarize yourself with terms such as co-payments, sub-limits, deductibles, room rent capping, loading clause, etc. You should go with a policy that imposes the least restrictions. A health insurance policy with cheap premium may not always be a good idea; compare coverage, inclusions, exclusions, and other features and benefits before you apply online.
A little due diligence before you buy a health plan will go a long way in helping you and your family in the hour of need. Don’t go for unnecessary tricks such as hiding or lying about pre-existing diseases. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the fine print to buy a policy in a hurry just to save taxes at the last minute. Research, compare and then make an informed decision.
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