The days of men being the only earning member of a family are long gone. Today, not only do women contribute to household income, in some cases they are also the sole earning member.
Even if a woman is a homemaker, her falling ill can really upset the family’s finances. Thus, it is important for every woman to have her own health insurance plan.
Every woman should ask 5 key questions before buying health insurance for herself.
How much cover do I need?
The most important question is regarding how much insurance you need. This decision should be based on your age, the number of dependents you may be supporting, as well as the cost of medical care in the city you live in. With soaring medical costs, it is advisable to pick a cover that adequately supports these requirements. Furthermore, it is advisable to increase the sum insured by 10-15 per cent every year to match the medical inflation.
What should the policy cover be?
While health insurance will usually cover your hospitalisation expenses, you should look into a plan which also covers certain illnesses specific to you. Several insurers today offer covers which include women-specific illnesses such as cancers of the reproductive system, pregnancy-related complications and so on.
Covers for maternity and new born babies are also becoming common. As maternity benefits are often not covered by employers, it is a good idea to opt for such a plan.
It will also help in case you decide to quit or change jobs in course of time. It may be necessary to hold both a health cover and a critical illness cover. To illustrate, a health insurance plan from Bajaj Allianz for a 30-year-old woman would cost Rs 3,283 a year for a sum insured of Rs 2 lakh, and a woman-specific critical illness plan would come up to Rs 1,719 for the same sum insured.
Does it have any women-specific benefits?
In addition to covering specific ailments, some products also offer additional customised benefits for women. These include a loss of job bonus, as well as children’s education bonus. Some insurers offer up to Rs 25,000 for the education of one or more children. This amount can act as relief for their education in the future, especially in times of break or loss in income of a working woman.
In case the insured losses her job within a few months of being diagnosed with a critical illness, she would also be eligible for a certain amount towards this loss of employment.
However, any voluntary resignation from a job is usually not covered under an insurance policy of this type.
Do I get any tax benefits?
As a working woman, tax saving helps pep up your disposable income. According to current tax laws, the premium paid towards health insurance is eligible for tax deductions (See: Health Insurance Saves Tax Too!) under the section 80D of the Income Tax Act.
How do I select my insurer?
While choosing your insurer, there are a few key aspects that you may want to consider.
Network of hospitals: Consider the network of hospitals of the insurer as this would enable you to get the best treatment in your city, and perhaps close to your residence. Facility of cashless claims offered at network hospitals is an advantage that can lead to savings in many forms.
Claim settlement services and financial standing: Opting for an insurer with an in-house claim settlement team may help secure the benefits more easily. Lastly, you may also want to consider the financial standing of the insurer and their ability to honour claims.
Although the insurance industry is yet to come up with differential premiums and product features for women, it may soon become the norm.
Women are considered to be less susceptible to heart and other ailments which may work in their favour, especially in terms of a health insurance plan.