How To Pick Your First Health Insurance Plan — Where To Buy And What To Expect.
Finding the right health insurance plan can be an overwhelming experience for most people. It is difficult to understand where to begin and what to look for. Even the most basic health policies can have 40-50 technical features that can be quite confusing for the first time buyer. There are details you can miss out on and important features that you could ignore. It’s essential, therefore, that you understand health insurance to make an informed choice.
A health insurance plan is your support framework throughout your life. Because it is a contract between you and the insurer to cover your medical expenses, it acts as a safety net to protect you financially in case of both planned and unplanned medical procedures. Let’s take a closer look by answering the most urgent questions you may have. Here are some of the questions most people have:
Why do I need a health insurance plan?
Getting a health insurance plan is an investment for your future and there are benefits that cannot be ignored.
- The inflation in medical costs is one of the highest in India and even with decent health infrastructure, Indians fund more than 70% of their medical costs out of their own pockets.
- You can never plan an illness or a health calamity. You cannot choose to have health problems only when you have money in the bank. You can only prepare for them and a health insurance plan provides a suitable shield.
- Health insurance can also provide for planned medical care. Insurance for maternal care, for example, provides you financial support when you start a family by reducing your out-of-pocket expenses when your baby arrives. It provides for regular health checkups and healthcare in case of chronic illnesses.
- A good health insurance plan provides you with hassle-free claims, simple processing, and extensive coverage that means when you are already facing stress from an illness you don’t have the added burden of arranging money
- Health insurance plans allow you to claim Income Tax benefits, so you can save on taxes, while investing in your health. A double benefit that cannot be ignored.
The fact of the matter is that a good health insurance plan is not only a necessity, it is an urgent requirement for your healthy financial future.
What are the important factors I should keep in mind while buying a policy?
- Insurance feature coverage – You should look closely at the expenses covered by the insurer in terms of both the amount and the facilities. So, you should ask a lot of questions — How much is the insured sum? Does the policy cover hospital bed fees? Does the insurance cover regular checkups? Is there coverage for facilities like hiring a physiotherapist? Are the medicines covered by the insurer? Questions like these would help you understand the insurance coverage better and allow you to plan your investment in detail.
- Family plan or personal insurance – You could opt for a family floater plan if you are newly married and are planning a family. The most important benefit of a family plan is that you can insure you entire family, as long as they are under 50 years of age, at a lower cost. On the other hand, if your family has older individuals, it might be better to have separate individual plans. Or you could have individual health plans for the older people in your family and a family plan for the rest. The important point to understand is that with age or a history of illness, the future medical expenses could vary.
- What is the right sum for your coverage – This depends on your age, lifestyle, and pre-existing medical conditions. For example, if your family has a history of diabetes and you are already above the age of 30 with a not-so-healthy lifestyle then you should look at a plan with higher coverage. If, on the other hand, you are young, fit, and independent, you may seek lower coverage. This decision is completely subjective based on your own assessment of your future needs.
- One plan or many – You are eligible to buy more than one health insurance plan from the same insurer as well as from different insurers. While claiming, however, you need to exhaust the claims with one insurer before claiming benefits from the other one. Also, you need to keep the two insurers aware that you have different health policies. That being said, it is advisable to go for multiple health plans with smaller premiums to have an accumulated larger coverage. Then, based on your requirements, you can choose to claim benefits from either of them, as and when needed.
- What do they don’t cover – It is very important that you go through the policy to understand the things a health insurer does not cover. For example, some health plans may exclude things like STDs, Hernia, Cataract, etc. The excluded elements are provided in the policy and you must choose the one with the lowest number of exceptions in them.
- Sub limits and finer points – Sub limits are financial caps placed by the insurers on specific procedures or services. For example, there could be a sub-limit of Rs 2,000 per day on hospital bed charges. This means that your insurance would cover only Rs 2,000 per day for your bed in case of hospitalisation. Or there could be sub-limits on specific procedures like cataract, for example. The insurer would only cover such procedures to a predefined limit and you should carefully go through each sub-limit in your plan before investing in it.
- Waiting period – Waiting period is the time specified in your plan before which your expenses would not be covered by the insurer. Your coverage would only begin after a claim-free waiting period that often ranges from 1-2 years for most cases. Some insurers, for example, may have a mandatory waiting period of, say, 2-4 years before they cover you in case you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes, thyroid problems, a heart condition, etc. If you are planning a family and looking to get maternal health coverage, there could be a waiting period of 1-2 years. It is crucial that you take note of specific waiting periods before investing be it for a planned procedure or an unplanned emergency.
Where should I buy my insurance policy from?
Once you have done your research, you can buy the policy online, through contacting a health insurance agent, or by visiting their office. OneAssure can help you with this — clarifying your doubts and concerns with trained partners before you purchase a plan.
Health insurance, therefore, is an investment that could be the difference between great medical care and a poor one. We would suggest you don’t leave anything to chance but spend some time on finding the right policy for you and your family and invest in one. Health, after all, is wealth.
OneAssure is a distribution platform that helps you make right decisions on matters where health and finances converge. Visit oneassure.in to know more about your health insurance choices.
Tags: buy health insurance, family floater, health insurance, inflation, medical cost