Bringing a child into this world and planning for it is a wonderful experience for any parent but medically and financially, it could also be extremely challenging. There are numerous costs associated with child care beginning from prenatal, birth, post-natal, and the care even beyond that crucial period in the child’s life. It is essential, therefore, for couples to plan ahead and look into maternity care policies before buying health insurance.
So, what are the things one should be aware of?
1) Waiting period
Maternity-specific insurance policies have long waiting periods, usually 3-6 years. This means that one has to plan well in advance to be eligible for the benefits. There are some group insurance policies that provide maternity benefits but even they have a waiting period of 9-12 months, and they may have a low cap of around Rs. 50,000 in terms of benefit offered. Most regular health care policies either do not cover pregnancy or they cover it under OPD expenses (limited benefit), or they appear as riders (you pay extra premium to avail the benefits).
2) High Premiums
The premium charges for maternity-specific policies and also for maternity riders are higher because it is considered a high-risk product. It is high-risk not because of medical reasons but because almost 100% of those who buy it will claim benefits from the policy. The fact, however, remains that the monetary benefits and the ease-of-mind which comes from having an insurance policy is well worth the extra premium costs.
An ideal maternal care policy is supposed to cover prenatal, birth, and post-natal care of the baby including coverage for birth defects. So, some of the covers you should look for are:
- Pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation expenses
- Delivery expenses including room charges, nursing expenses, anaesthetist charges, ambulance charges, etc.
- Pre and post-natal expenses (caesarean or normal)
- Baby cover (if the infant has birth defects or is born with congenital disorders)
There are a number of things that most maternity policies do not cover including In-vitro fertilisation and infertility-related expenses, termination of pregnancy (under 12 weeks), expenses related to self-inflicted injuries, drug use or alcohol, etc. These exclusions should be kept in mind while purchasing the policy.
Which are some of the best maternity policies in India?
You can look at some of the following plans in case you are planning to have a child:
1) Religare Joy Health Insurance Plan
It provides a cover of 3-5 Lakh and has a 9 month waiting period for maternity related claims. The policy term is 3 years. The plan covers maternity, pre and post natal expenses, day care treatments, room rent for single A/C room, offers coverage for new-born babies, and 30 days Pre hospitalisation and 60 days Post hospitalisation charges.
2) Star Wedding Gift Insurance Plan
This plan has a policy term of 1 and 2 years and is an individual health policy. It provides coverage for both in-patient and out-patient treatment under one policy, covers hospital room rent and boarding expenses, nursing expenses, post-delivery complications including birth defects, among other things. This plan also covers emergency ambulance charges, cost of medicines and drugs, and doctor’s fee.
3) Digit Health Care Plus
If you are planning to have a child in the next two years or so, you could opt for this plan. It covers child delivery and coverage for newborn babies for upto 90 days. Furthermore, it is valid in over 6,400 hospitals, has no cap on room rent, and provides for zero co-payment. While a general plan does not cover prenatal and postnatal care, this policy covers both if it leads to hospitalisation.
4) HDFC my:Health Suraksha
This is a comprehensive health care plan and you can add the Parent and Child care Cover – Booster to the plan if you are looking to conceive. Under this plan, it covers Parent Care including Maternity Expenses (Medical Expenses for a delivery, including caesarean section, on Hospitalization); the lawful medical termination of pregnancy during the Policy Period; for Medical Expenses incurred for infertility treatment, assisted reproductive treatments like IVF undertaken on advice of a Medical Practitioner. Furthermore, it covers prenatal and postnatal charges, pays for medical expenses towards treatment of a new born baby, and also for expenses incurred on its vaccination.
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.