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How to Choose a Health Insurance Policy


It is rightly said: Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.

With health care costs hitting double digit inflation year on year, planning for your health care needs is essential. It is about bringing the future into the present and taking actions now. This is why you need to look for the best health insurance policy in India.

Several important things to consider while you decide on your health insurance cover

Need: It is extremely important to make sure that you select the best health plan as per your needs. One must not end up with the wrong choice as it may not be of much help at the time of requirement. It is important to keep a watch on the payable premium so as to invest wisely as per your budget.

Purchasing Power: If you have the funds, securing your health adequately should be your priority. While keeping an eye on the premium, one must also read through the features of the plan, the discounts available, deductibles and co-payments, standard deductions, illness sub-limits and other restrictions. It is important to keep all these points in mind so as to ensure the right selection of plan and wise use of funds.

Age: Every policy adheres to time-bound exclusions called ‘waiting period,’ pertaining to certain illnesses. It is only after the completion of that period that the policy gets fully active. Age plays a vital role in deciding your health insurance cover; buying health insurance at a younger age will come at a lower premium rate.  You can use this to your benefit to cover the time-bound waiting period and enjoy seamless full coverage with continuity when you might need it the most as you advance in age.

Family History: Our experience is evident of the fact, if an individual has a family history of lifestyle diseases, the probability of it being passed on to the next generations is higher. Any individual who is genetically in a high-risk category should buy wider health insurance coverage when he is young and healthy. This would save you the trouble of undergoing medical tests which are advised in case of existence of some medical history or after a certain age limit, before insuring a risk.

City You Live In: The city you live in, your lifestyle/working style can affect your health, putting you at a higher risk of getting into the trap of sedentary lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

The treatment expenses for such diseases would be different for metro and non-metro cities. Do verify if the plans are priced as per geographic benefit limitations and what would be the impact of this differential pricing on out-of-pocket expenses at the time of claim.

For example – A tertiary care hospital in a tier-1 city will charge more for the same treatment as compared to a secondary care hospital in a tier-2 or tier-3 city.

Benefits: Understanding your health coverage, getting familiar with the services covered and how much you will have to pay in case of an unfortunate eventuality is important. If you opt for a health insurance cover that is not adequate or is restrictive it might not solve the very purpose it’s bought for.

Service: It is also important to check on the service history of the company you invest in. The last thing you would want to do while dealing with illness is spend precious time in coordinating with your insurer to settle a legitimate claim. Also check on the distinguishing features such as value added services and wellness offerings, which help minimize the expenses incurred by the customers in paying what the traditional insurance plans do not cover.

What decides your adequate health cover?

Minimum 2% of your yearly income is what we advise you to invest in securing your health.

For example – If you are earning Rs.6 lakh a year, you should make it a point to pay at least an amount that is 2% of the yearly income i.e.  Rs.12000-, towards your annual insurance premium. This will give you a decent cover by today’s standard.

Importance of having a health insurance plan

  • It definitely gives you financial certainty for life’s uncertain moments.
  • If you already have a corporate health insurance plan and you think that you need not buy a retail health plan then we must say that you should think twice. According to surveys, 60% of people have their health insurance cover be less than 50% of their annual take home. Therefore the question is not whether you have a health cover, but the extent of the health cover you have.
  • Planning wisely can give you the peace of mind that if anything happens to you or your family, you can go to the hospital and the doctor that you want, without getting worried about how much it’s going to cost you.

Every option is worth considering while making a choice to ensure that it’s made right. Leave your burdens behind, by insuring you and your family and enjoy the gift of life, for, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Protect yourself from unforeseen medical emergencies today – click here to find the right health cover for you and your family!

This article was authored by Mr. Suresh Sugathan, Head – Health Administration Team, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd.

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Published on:30 Jun, 2014

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