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Things to keep in mind when insuring parents

19 February, 2013

Availing a health insurance plan for your parents requires you to do a lot of research. As they grow older there are many health disorders that can challenge a healthy living. No doubt with the advancement of medical science almost any illness can be cured but with growing inflation, the cost of these treatments is very high. This is why the plan you choose for them needs to be comprehensive enough to handle hospitalization due to any reason. Most of the plans in India cease to offer cover to individuals after the certain age limit , however there are a few plans that continue to give cover life long.  Few Insurers offer exclusive product for senior citizens . Hence care is required to  select  best fitting plan.
Here are few things that you should keep in mind when purchasing a health insurance plan for your parents -
Entry Age : Most Insurers offer medical insurance upto a maximum age of 65 years. This means that you need to plan for your parents’ health insurance well in advance so that you don’t miss the opportunity.  However there are some Insurers who offer  cover for persons above 65 years also, but with some limitation as to coverage they offer.
Renewal Age : This is the age till which you can renew the policy. This is also called exit age . It differs from Insurer to Insurer. However health insurance policies marketed very recently by Insurers offers life long  renewal. So selecting a plan which offers life long renewal shall give you peace of mind.
Co-pay : Co pay is cost sharing by you with Insurers in admissible claim. Co pay ensures that you are bearing a pre determined percentage of  hospital expenses  and  hence it means an extra outgo from you apart from premium.  While some Insurers impose co pay from 60 years of age , some impose from 65 years of age. There are still many Insurers who offer to pay 100% of admissible claim. Hence  it is ideal to choose an insurance plan which would require you to pay only premium and not a share on hospital bill.
Waiting period for pre-existing diseases : One of the most important aspects to check is whether the health insurance policy offers to cover pre-existing diseases or not. Mostly, policies extend to cover pre-existing diseases only after specified time limit.   Choose the plan which suits your requirement as parents would be having certain pre existing diseases which need a quicker health care.
Premium : Another important factor to look at is the premium payable. Typically, the premium amount for aged persons is comparatively higher than  the one for younger life.   This is due to fact that as one ages the health automatically deteriorates and lead to inpatient hospitalization. While you are comparing premium you should also consider whether you are going to copay with the Insurer or not.
Sum assured : The sum assured limit that you can avail under a health insurance plan for a senior citizen varies from  Insurer to Insurer. While some  Insurers offer sum insured of Rs.1 lakh or Rs.2 lakhs some others  are ready to provide a cover as much as Rs.20 lakhs.