Rules NRIs need to know when buying health insurance in India

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) are all qualified to purchase a health insurance policy in India. The policy also proves helpful because the policy that NRIs might have in their resident countries. Usually it does not cover treatments taken in India. So, if you are planning to return to India, having a health plan in place can be helpful against unexpected medical contingencies. While NRIs are eligible to buy a health insurance policy in India, there are different rules that they should keep in mind with respect to the policy. So, here’s a look at the different rules and documents for NRI health insurance in India –

Geographical coverage

Health insurance plans in India provide coverage across India. You can buy the policy in any city and avail yourself of coverage in any other city without any limitations. However, when it comes to international coverage, the picture is different. Most health plans in India do not cover treatments taken abroad. So, you might not get coverage if you buy a plan in India and expect it to cover you in your domicile country.

Some modern-day health plans have started offering international coverage too. However, there are various terms and conditions associated with the said coverage. Some of these terms include the following –

  1. The coverage might be offered as an; optional coverage benefit or as an inbuilt benefit. You need to check the availability 
  2. There might be a co-payment associated with international treatments
  3. The coverage might be available only in the case of life-threatening illnesses
  4. The plan might restrict the otherwise available international coverage for NRIs

So, check the terms and conditions of geographical coverage before buying the policy.

The rules regarding pre-entrance health check-ups

In most plans, pre-existing health check-ups become necessary if you are old. You opt for a high sum insured or you have a medical history. In that case, you can schedule a check-up in India at the insurer’s networked facility without incurring a considerable cost. However, if you are buying the policy from abroad, you would have to undergo the check-ups in your domicile country. This will be at your cost and send the medical reports to the insurer.

The availability of plans

Not all health insurance plans might be available for NRIs. Health insurance companies offer selective policies for their NRI clients. You would, thus, have to check the policies that are available.

Furthermore, the policy might have coverage restrictions and increased premiums for NRIs. 

Payment of premium

NRIs can pay the premium for the health plan in foreign currency or in INR. However, some insurers do not accept foreign payments. In such cases, they would only have to pay the premium in Indian currency.

However, the deduction under Section 80D for health insurance premiums would be available for NRIs too.

FEMA regulations on the claim amount

According to the regulations stipulated by the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), NRIs can repatriate the claim amount to their domicile country. However, the extent of repatriation would be limited to the amount of premium paid in foreign currency. So, if the NRI pays the premium in INR; repatriation of the claim amount would not be allowed for health insurance.

Additional documents required 

To buy the health insurance policy, NRIs must submit additional documents to the insurer. These documents include their passport, income tax return, identity proof and proof of being a citizen of India. 

So, if you are planning to buy a health insurance plan in India, know the detailed rules of the same. Check more on

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