Challenges faced by NRIs while buying Health insurance

According to a report titled ‘International Migration 2020 Highlights’ published by the United Nations, India boasts of the largest diaspora population. About 18 million Indians live outside their home country either as NRIs (Non-Residential Indians) or PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin). While NRIs and PIOs might live abroad, their parents might live in India. In such cases, NRIs make financial provisions for their parents living in India and one such provision is a health insurance plan.

NRIs can buy a health insurance policy for their parents in India. However, when they buy the plan, they might face several challenges. Some of these challenges, which are common, include the following –

Ease of buying the policy:

While the online mode allows NRIs to buy a health insurance policy online even when they are abroad, the purchase process can get complicated. Since the parents are older, the insurer might insist on a medical check-up before issuing the policy. Arranging for a check-up with hesitant parents might prove to be a challenge when NRIs are not in India. They might find it difficult in coordinating health check-ups from miles away. This might delay policy issuance and make it a hassling process. 

The solution – NRIs can take assistance from insurance intermediaries for expert assistance in buying the plan for their parents. OneAssure is one such platform which can help NRIs secure coverage for their parents with the minimum of hassles.   

Premium payment:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) allow NRIs to pay health insurance premiums in foreign currency. In such cases, there might be a problem in currency conversion rates since the value of currencies fluctuates daily. 

The solution – NRIs can remit money to the NRE or NRO account and pay a premium in Indian currency for ease and convenience. To avoid currency fluctuations, the NRI can use the NRO account for premium payments in Indian currency. 

Geographical coverage:

While NRIs can buy a health plan for their parents in India, most plans would usually cover treatments taken within India only. If the parents are visiting the NRI in a foreign country and suffer any medical emergency, coverage might not be allowed by the plan bought in India.

The solution – NRIs can opt for health plans that offer international coverage. Alternatively, an international travel insurance plan, that comes with health insurance coverage abroad, can prove to be a cost-efficient solution if the duration of stay is less than 180 days.

Claim settlement:

If NRIs pay premiums in Indian currency, the claim would also be settled in Indian currency. This might cause a problem in the case of reimbursement claims when NRIs intend to repatriate the claim amount. They might not be able to freely repatriate the amount to their foreign bank account.

The solution – NRIs can open a joint NRO account with their parents. As such, the claim amount deposited can be used for the parents’ financial needs rather than withdrawn it. Additionally, NRIs can use this amount to make investments in India if required. ​​Also, a joint savings account, with their resident Indian parents, can help. The account allows free withdrawals and NRIs can withdraw the claim amount when needed.

Query resolution:

If NRIs face any queries or confusion when buying a health insurance plan for their parents, seeking a resolution for the query might be challenging. The time difference might make it difficult to connect with insurers during their working hours. Similarly, arranging for a call back from the insurer to an international number might also prove to be a challenge.

The solution 

NRIs can use digital channels for query resolution. They can manage the time difference and speak to an expert during working hours for personal assistance.

Every problem has a solution, one just needs to look for it. NRIs can, thus, overcome these problems and invest in a health insurance plan for their parents. The plan would give their parents the financial support needed for medical contingencies and also take off the financial burden from their shoulders. 

So, if you are an NRI, invest in a suitable health plan for your parents. For expert assistance, you can reach out to One Assure and we would help you find the best coverage for your parents’ medical needs. Check more on

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