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Posted by Royal Sundaram on 17 Sep 2013
A health insurance policy is a basic need today to meet unplanned medical emergencies. Read on to learn what to keep in mind before buying a plan.
Things to Keep in Mind While Purchasing a Health Insurance Policy:
A report by the International Federation of Health Plans showed that Indians on an average spend US$236 (Rs 12,036) per day on hospital stay.With hospital expenses rising every year, it has become a tough job for the common man to balance his savings while meeting the inevitable medical expenses. A basic procedure in a private hospital can cost you up to Rs 40,000. A heart surgery may costs you between Rs 2 to 5 lacs at a branded hospital, enough to burn a hole in your pocket. Having a comprehensive health insurance policy in hand could rescue you from facing financial ruin while trying to foot such hospital bills.
The Indian health insurance sector is booming. The number of new healthy insurance policies issued surged from 2,50,00,000 in 2002-2003 to close to 5,00,000 in 2010-2011, according to the IRDA. The hike in the insurance cap to 49% of FDI paved the way for multiple players in the insurance sector to offer a plethora of health insurance plans designed to meet the different needs of the people of our country. In such a scenario, with so many brands mushrooming with their “I am the best” tags, it takes some thinking to find the best plan.
Five Things to Keep in Mind before Buying a Health Insurance Policy
Here are the five most important factors to be kept in mind while choosing your health insurance policy:
- Policy Coverage:
Know your policy coverage. Read the information brochure carefully to understand all its terms and conditions. There are several plans in the market that offer variable coverage on their health plans. Choose the sum assured carefully. This is the maximum amount that the insured person can claim in one policy year. For this, one must consider rising medical costs, while also keeping the amount such that one can afford to pay the premium.
When selecting your coverage, think about what needs could arise in the future. If you have ageing parents or may be planning on having kids soon, you may consider these aspects. Look for a policy that covers wide age groups, such as from children aged 91 days to dependent parents up to 65 years. You can either choose an individual plan or a family floater health plan, as per your need. Most preferred plans offer day care procedures, pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization expenses, accident coverage, and pre-existing disease cover after a certain period of buying the policy.
- Network Hospitals:
Insurance companies have empanelled hospitals, with which they have a tie up. The hospitals in the network have instructions on how to settle claims from a particular insurer. You should check which hospitals are within the network of the insurance company, including their specialty and reputation.
Cashless hospitalization at network hospitals must be a key feature that your health insurance policy offers. It ensures that you and your insured family members get cashless treatment, while you get peace of mind from the exorbitant medical bills.
- Exclusions & Waiting Period:
This is the most important factor to be considered. Read the exclusion clauses in the policy document. What are the diseases which are not paid during specific time period?
Does the policy covers pre-existing diseases. If so from when?? Is Most policies offer a waiting period of 48 months for pre-existing diseases. It is worthwhile to note that you should disclose your pre existing disease while buying the policy to take the advantage of such cover
- Flexibility in the Policy:
Cover in the policy should suit your/family’s requirement. While you would be requiring cover for expenses related to maternity, your parents would be keen in getting a cover for pre existing disease as quicker as possible. Among various offering in the market, one need to first chalk out what cover he wants & then choose the correct plan. Care should be exercised to ensure that later he has right to switch over to any other suitable product offered by the Insurer.
- No-Claim Discount or Cumulative Bonus:
No Claim discount encourages the non claimant by giving a defined reduction in renewal premium while Cumulative Bonus increases the coverage amount in a defined way.
Check the most suitable option to suit your financial capability
Finally, make sure to read all terms and conditions carefully before finalizing a health insurance policy. If not, you might have to face some unpleasant surprises when you seek a claim.
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