Source: India Today
As the insurance regulator IRDAI only mandates the purchase of health insurance up to 65 years of age, Senior Citizen Health Insurance plans are specially curated insurance products for senior citizens. Such an insurance plan covers individuals between the ages of 60-80 and is designed to provide adequate cover for all their healthcare expenses, greatly easing any financial burden.
Why Do You Need Senior Citizen Health Insurance?
Health insurance is a necessity for most individuals as it enables you to pay for medical emergencies as well as planned treatments. So, let’s understand why one must opt for health insurance for senior citizens:
Healthcare costs have been rising with a sharp increase in medical inflation for many years now. Thus, to prioritise your health without worrying about the financial aspect, a health insurance policy for senior citizens is a must. You can rest assured as the plan enables you to gain access to the best medical facility and provides cashless treatments.
Most senior citizen health insurance schemes offer free annual health checkups to the insured. Due to this, you can opt for regular screenings and ensure your health is well. But it is recommended to understand the terms to avail the free annual health checkups under your plan.
Health insurance plans come with lucrative add-ons such as critical illness cover. As a senior citizen, you can benefit from this add-on as the possibility of getting diagnosed with major ailments tends to rise with old age. However, you must purchase this cover separately from your base cover.
Features of Senior Citizen Health Insurance
Some of the salient features of medical insurance for senior citizens are as follows:
Pre-Existing Illnesses Cover
Most senior citizen health insurance plans in India offer coverage for pre-existing illnesses, usually after a waiting period of one year. The insurers also provide critical condition riders to provide additional coverage in times of need.
Pre and Post-Hospitalisation Expenses
Several senior citizen health insurance plans will cover the pre and post hospitalisation costs that include medical consultation from specialists, diagnostic tests, ambulance charges, etc. However, get in touch with the insurer as this may differ from one insurer to another.
Alternative Treatment Coverage
Depending on your insurance provider, the senior citizen health plan will provide cover for alternative treatments like Ayurveda and Homeopathy.
The policy usually offers continuity incentives such as a No Claim Bonus (NCB) for every claim-free year.
Most senior citizen health insurance premiums in India come with defined rates. That means the policyholder pays the same value for the chosen coverage, even when renewing the health plan.
Benefits of Senior Citizen Health Insurance
Here are some of the benefits that you can avail under the best health insurance for senior citizens in India:
Most insurers do not request the applicants of medical insurance for senior citizens to undergo a medical test before buying the policy.
Outpatient Department (OPD) Cover
The policy offers OPD coverage so that it becomes easy to manage the financial needs when treating certain illnesses.
A few health insurance providers also offer family rewards and discounts on senior citizen health insurance schemes, mainly when the policy covers the spouse as well.
The policy also provides free health checkups and diagnostic services at dedicated centres after the completion of the specified waiting period.
The premiums paid towards senior citizen health insurance can be claimed for tax deductions under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
Exclusions Under Senior Citizen Health Insurance
Whilst health insurance for senior citizens provides ample coverage to its policyholders; it does come with some restrictions. These restrictions are likely to vary from one insurance provider to another.
The policy does not cover any cosmetic treatments such as plastic surgeries.
The plan excludes coverage for sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/ AIDS.
Senior citizen health insurance plans do not cover medical expenses arising out of self-inflicted damage.
The policy does not cover illnesses contracted within 30 days of the purchase of the health plan.
The insurer will reject the health insurance claims arising from alcohol and drug abuse.
Certain treatments such as joint replacement surgeries would be covered after a stipulated waiting period which is usually two years.
Injury due to war is exempt from coverage under these policies.
Tax Benefits of Senior Citizen Health Insurance
A senior citizen health insurance policy not only safeguards you against healthcare costs but also enables you to save on taxes! The dual benefit of such an insurance plan allows you to claim the premium amount under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. As a policyholder of over 60 years, you can claim ₹50,000 per financial year towards your health policy. An additional deduction of ₹5,000 can be claimed per financial year towards preventive health check-ups that enable you to detect ailments early on.
However, if you are a senior citizen who is covering the insurance premiums of your children, you can claim an extra deduction of ₹25,000. Under Section 80DDB, you can claim the treatment expenses related to specified medical conditions. The actual healthcare costs incurred or a sum of ₹1 lakh, whichever is less, is allowed.
Eligibility Criteria for Senior Citizen Health Insurance
The eligibility criteria applicable to health insurance for senior citizens are:
The applicant should be between 60 and 80 years of age
The applicant should be aware of their pre-existing health conditions. Also, they need a relevant proof regarding the same. Hence, a medical checkup before purchasing the policy is highly recommended
Documents Required to Apply for Senior Citizen Health Insurance
You need to submit the following documents while buying the best health insurance policy for senior citizens online:
Duly filled application form
Supporting documents for pre-existing health conditions
Proof of age
Medical examination test results (if requested by the insurer)
How to File Claims Under Senior Citizen Health Insurance?
In the case of medical contingencies, you must initiate the claim settlement process within 24 hours of hospitalisation. On the other hand, for planned hospitalisation, inform the insurer 48 hours before the hospitalisation.
In either case, here’s how you can file a claim on your senior citizen health insurance plan:
1. Cashless Claim Settlement
Inform the insurance provider regarding the claim at the earliest.
Submit the claim request form at the hospital insurance desk.
The insurer will send an acknowledgement once they receive your intimation.
If necessary, the insurer may raise a query.
Upon resolving the query and further verifications, the insurer will settle the claim directly with the hospital.
2. Reimbursement Claim Settlement
Notify the insurer regarding the claim as soon as possible.
Seek treatment at a preferred hospital and pay for the hospitalisation expenses incurred.
Submit the reimbursement claim form along with the necessary documents to the insurer.
The insurer will raise a query if they need any additional documents.
Make sure that you submit the medical certificate issued by the doctor.
Also, submit the discharge form issued by the hospital.
Upon verification and approval of the claim application, the insurer will credit the settlement amount to your bank account.
Points to Remember While Buying Senior Citizen Health Insurance
Let’s look at a few points that you must keep in mind to avail the best health insurance for senior citizens online:
Check with your insurer for any sub-limits applicable to your plan and go through the policy terms and conditions during the free-look period.
In the case of health insurance for senior citizens, ideally, it is preferred to select an insurer with a wide range of network hospitals under it. That way, you can seek cashless treatment at the nearest hospital without having to worry about any medical expenses.
Consider the waiting period for certain health conditions, especially the ones you are suffering from. This will help you understand how long you have to wait until your health insurance for senior citizens plan starts covering them.
The daycare treatment in health insurance covers numerous procedures and treatments that can be completed within 24 hours. So, make sure you go through the treatments covered under medical insurance for senior citizens to avail extensive coverage.
It is always recommended to choose senior citizen health insurance schemes offering lifetime renewability so that you don’t have to buy another plan after you reach the maximum age limit.
Health insurance offers several features such as domiciliary hospitalisation, daily cash allowance, organ donor cover, etc. So, you must ensure your insurance needs are met by understanding the benefits available under your plan and choosing the best health insurance policy for senior citizens.
Though senior citizen health insurance is an option that is readily available in the market, it is always best to ensure you have adequate coverage from a younger age. Individual or family health insurance is an excellent choice as it enables you to customise your plan based on your insurance needs.
It is best to be prepared for unforeseen medical contingencies and beat the rising healthcare costs with the right backup. You can buy health insurance on Bajaj Markets and benefit from features such as an easy online application process, cashless claim settlement, reinstatement benefits, tax benefits, etc. Most importantly, you can estimate the premium you need to pay with our easy-to-use health insurance calculator! Apply for health insurance today!