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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Health insurance - What You Need to Know

Health insurance has almost come of age in India. More and more people are now becoming aware about it, and opting to buy it at the right age.

Internet has increased the awareness about such products that prepare people for medical emergencies within their families. In India, government does not have a health care system like in the UK. Effectively, government support is available only for financially backward Indians. This makes it imperative that health insurance is bought by more and more people. Over the years health insurance companies have established their presence online. Therefore, any person desirous of purchasing health insurance can peruse the features of health insurance plan online before finalizing the purchase. It is also possible to compare health insurance quotes because there are websites engaged in collecting information about health insurance products in the country. These websites analyze such products, and rank them based on quotes, reliability, extent of cover, etc.

Leading Health Insurance Players in India

There are national and state government owned insurance companies as well as private companies and banks. Some of the private companies and banks have entered into joint ventures with foreign companies for offering better product range and efficient services.

Costs

Obviously the products offered by companies that are collaborating with foreign companies are expensive. However, the range of products that are available from these companies is also much more than those offered by other players. Effectively, Indians can buy health insurance products that meet their requirements rather than spend on products that will not serve the purpose.

About health insurance products

There is wide range of products available to Indians to plan for their health care. Indian business enterprises buy group insurances, which cover their employees and their family members, including spouses, children, and parents. But such products may not cover some of the family specific health problems or the cover provided may not be sufficient. Therefore, purchasing additional cover never harmed people. Moreover, such cover ceases when the employee leaves the organization, or receives a pink slip. Therefore, it is prudent to have a reasonable about of health cover at all times, irrespective of such group health cover. The group health cover also ceases when the employee retires. Buying health insurance at late age proves to be extremely expensive. Health problems at retirement are investigated and policy is "loaded" for such problems.

a. Top ups and super tops

Nowadays, insurance companies are offering top ups and super top ups. Of course, super top up is better because it replenishes the sum assured. Because of such replenishment, the person can claim second or third time in the same year, provided the person pays up the threshold limit. This threshold limit can easily be covered with basic health insurance products.

Effectively, the person desirous of purchasing health insurance should purchase a few policies that can individually or collectively cover the threshold limits of the intended top ups and super top ups, a couple of times, before purchasing the top ups and super top ups.

This is not to discount the value of top ups. The idiom "the devil is in the details" is valid for top ups and super top ups as well. Usually, top ups offer better coverage than super top ups, but there are some super top ups that should form part of the health insurance planning of every family.

b. Watch out for sub limits within the health insurance policy

Health insurance cover is broken down into room charges, operation charges, medicines, etc. Even top ups and super top ups have such limits. The problem is the rate of room rent or other other charges cannot be predicted with certainty. But sub-limits cannot be crossed. Therefore, if a patient has a cover of 3,00,000 INR, of which 1 percent is towards room rent, then even of other expenses collectively are not equal to 3,00,000 INR, but the room rent charges exceed the 1 percent, the patient would have to pay from own pocket such excess amount. Such analysis is done by websites such as easypolicy.com, and rankings are based on merits and demerits such as these.

c. Pre- and post hospitalization expenses

Apart from hospitalization expenses, which are substantial no doubt, patients may also need some more care at their home, before as well as after hospitalization. Such care is also expensive. Therefore, patients can purchase some of the policies that pay for such expenses, without expecting the patient to provide bills.

d. Disease specific policies

Cancer is one of the most expensive ailment to treat. Other health problems that need special and exclusive cover include paralysis, parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, etc.

Conclusion:

Health insurance cover is available only for an year. Beyond that year, it needs to be renewed. It is difficult to decide how much health insurance cover is sufficient for self and family. Buying more cover at the outset may prove to be expensive. Instead, the person can periodically add new health insurance policies or buy additional cover under the same policy. Insurance companies, however, are under no obligation to accept the request for such additional cover. Insurance companies can also increase the premium periodically based on inflation rates. Therefore, any person desirous of purchasing health insurance in the country should study plans and their suitability to the family. Search engines offer comparative analysis of health plans when the user searches for "compare health insurance plan india". All that the user has to do is to select the plan most suited to him or her.



About the Writer

Akanksha Agrawal is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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