Money sure cannot buy health, but minuscule amounts of it invested as premium, not only keeps one covered for future risks arising out of unwanted deviations from a healthy and disease free trajectory but also helps save tax.
An average urban working class person in India today clocks extra hours at work, spend less time on rejuvenating, travels in overcrowded trains, metros and other means of public transport, has irregular eating habits with more Junk in the diet. With such habits, the need to keep ourselves and immediate relatives covered for all sorts of health issues have considerably risen. A busy and hectic lifestyle must not come in the way of paying attention to detail(s) while choosing a Health Insurance policy or planning a renewal.
A few uncommon but important aspects of Health Insurance coverage must not be missed while purchasing Health Insurance. Not paying attention to them may lead to a considerable out-of-pocket expenditure.
Below listed are five lesser-known things to keep in mind while buying a Health Insurance:
1. Lifelong Renewals
A lifetime renewability plan ensures you can renew your policy all your life without any restrictions or age bar. For retired individuals, a lifetime renewability options take the pressure off finances in case they are confronted with serious illness. Age also makes one more susceptible to diseases and falls. Considering the health care inflation, it is best to opt for lifetime renewability.
As per the revised guidelines of the IRDAI, all health insurance policies are to feature lifetime renewability, instead of the 65-70 year cap they had until sometime back.
2. No Claim-Based Loading
It is generally believed that if you have made a claim in a policy year, then at the time of renewal of the policy, you will have to pay an additional amount on account of premium loading. Such claims-based loading of the premium on renewals used to exist till about 3-4 years ago but have since been eliminated from the market by the regulator. Today health insurance policies cannot charge any individual customers a differential premium based on their claims experience. Any change in premium has to be for a larger set/sub-set of renewing customers completely unhinged on whether they made a claim or not. So, now you can be sure of not paying any additional cost incorporated within your premium at the time of policy renewal.
3. Room Charges Restrictions
Hospitals charges are different depending on the room type (General, Shared, Private, Deluxe, Super Deluxe etc.) chosen during the inpatient. Insurance service providers therefore not only deduct the additional room charges over and above the eligibility but also proportionately deduct all other hospital charges that are linked to the room that has been chosen.
For example- A policy of sum assured Rs 4 lakhs, where with 1% room rent capping the hospital charges you Rs 8,000 for the room when your limit was of Rs. 4,000 per day, the insurance company will pay you at only Rs 4,000 per day on your medical bill. Worse, the rest of the medical charges are also apportioned in the same ratio as hospitals typically charge based on room categories.
Room Rent limit can, therefore, may significantly inflate the hospital bill. It better to buy a policy without a capping on room rent
4. Consumables are not included
A few expenses that are often excluded from coverage are called consumable expenses, as these are accounted for by toiletries, cosmetics, and personal comfort items. Items such as- Leggings, Crepe Bandage, Face Masks, Oil charges, Cotton etc. usually do not form more than 5 percent of the total and have to be paid off from the pocket.
5. You can port your policy
A policyholder may choose to switch from one insurer to another insurer or from one plan to another plan (family cover included) of the same insurer, provided the previous policy has been maintained without any break. All his credit gains, pre-existing conditions, and time-bound exclusions will be applicable in the policy he chooses next.
When it comes to Health Insurance, India has a lot of scope for the Industry to mature and thrive in a grooming ecosystem of opportunities and benefits for both healthcare providers and consumers. An Insurance agent carries the responsibility of explaining the above policy essentials clearly to the member(s) purchasing Insurance or members planning renewals.
When small investments give out large benefits and most importantly peace of mind, one must purchase an Insurance that has maximum coverage and associated benefits.
Stay Insured, Stay happy.