Health is of prime importance at every stage of life and more so as we age. The expenses on health care increase with age. But the salary is always more than the pension. So, the healthcare expenses pinch. One should create enough kitty for health care in old age. It is not a good idea to be dependent on children. In India, health insurance is often ignored.
With reduced income in old age and increased visits to doctors, it is important to buy health care coverage. It takes care of unexpected health emergencies and surgeries which might dry up the financial resources faster than you think.
Many health insurance schemes are available for senior citizens. The main features offered are cashless hospitalization, critical illness coverage, specific coverage for stroke or cancer, etc. A good policy offers hassle-free settlement of claims. Always remember that a good health insurance policy is a lifesaver in case of emergency. Regular medical needs can still be planned for, it is the health emergency that brings in unplanned huge expenses. It is here, that one needs good health insurance for access to bigger funds and hassle-free processing in the hospital.
What to look for in a good health insurance plan?
- Do not let the amount of premium be the deciding factor. With age, it increases but it will save from spending a huge six-figure amount in case of emergency. So, take it as a necessary evil.
- Always check the number of hospitals covered in the insurance plan. The larger the number of hospitals, the more suitable the plan is. Going one step further, check also the distance from your residence to the hospital. It is always good that at least some of the listed hospitals are nearby. This will help in getting medical help in the shortest possible time.
- Think about inflation before deciding about the total sum for which you are insuring. It is not always that a large sum increases the premium exponentially. By a rough calculation, healthcare expenses can go up by 15% per annum.
- It is always good to look for lifelong insurance plans. They do cover up already pre-existing illnesses. Always check the details before signing up on the dotted lines. Do not take anything for granted. Always shoot your questions to the agent for every doubt you have regarding the settlement.
Some benefits to look for –
According to IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority), health insurance is to be provided to everyone who applies for till the age of 65 years and for as long as they wish to. Some pointers to check for –
- Predefined critical illnesses can be covered for an extra premium.
- Pre-existing illnesses have some waiting periods before they are covered in the plan. This could be anything between 2 to 4 years.
- Check for the conditions and the number of surgeries.
- There are some options to look for that decrease the premium amount. Always check on these.
- Most of the policies offer free annual checkups in their network hospital and diagnostic labs.
It is a good idea to sign for a health insurance policy as early as possible. Don’t wait for a disease to attack and then go for insurance. It will become very expensive and many times, the insurer may not cover it at all. Always tell the truth about any existing disease. If there is an option of co-pay (insurer and insurance provider decide on splitting the bill on an agreed ratio) and deductibles, opt for it. It will reduce the risk and the premium but will give you coverage for big expenses. Opt for critical illness covers as they are usually paid only one time. If you do not have any illness, you may be eligible for the cover.
These are some general pointers while looking for health insurance.
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