Health Insurance Buyer’s Guide

Health insurance is perhaps the only arsenal available to protect yourself against the exorbitant medical bills. Due to this, almost every person goes ahead and purchases a medical insurance. However, a lot has changed in the medical insurance scenario during the last five years. This has also led to an increase in number of medical claims being rejected. To help avoid all pitfalls and to nail the best-fit health insurance plan for you and your family, we present below a comprehensive buyer’s guide for health insurance plans.

Do not delay purchase

It is often seen that the youth delays the purchase of a health plan. The major reason behind is that they see themselves as a healthy person for a long time and view health insurance as a liability which does not pay returns.

There is another class which feels they have plenty of time and thus keep looking for a dream plan which meets all their requirements. It is important to realize that no insurance plan will meet your requirements to the tee. You need to choose one that meets most of your requirements.

It is best not to delay buying health insurance plan as lower age means you need to pay lower value premiums. Moreover, there is always the risk that you can contract any disease any time especially with diseases like diabetes and heart attacks being reported in people in their twenties. The delay might mean a higher premium or even denied cover if a disease gets established.

Decide between individual and group family policy

Now that you have made your mind to purchase a policy; you need to decide if you want an individual plan or a family medical policy. After considering the health of each member of your family, you can decide to include them in the medical plan. The plan becomes more cost-effective with higher number of members included in the plan.

Assess your lifestyle to decide on cover amount

Your lifestyle is the key element in deciding the medical cover you must have as a security blanket. Following a healthy lifestyle reduces your chances of being sick and thus you can opt for a lower sum insured. However, if you do have an unhealthy lifestyle like smoking or drinking habits, then you do need to decide on a higher sum insured.

Apart from the lifestyle; you also need to take inflation into consideration. While deciding on the cumulative cover; it is important not to make healthy lifestyle as an excuse as accidents and sudden illness are part and parcel of life and should not be ignored. It’s best that you consult with an insurance expert and get the best way out.

Consider hospital room eligibility capping

Almost all health insurance policies have a cap on the maximum amount of room rent that they will pay for each day.  Very few realize but this is the all-important factor that can adversely impact the value of your health plan significantly with inflation. Any room rent above the capped amount will need payment from the patient’s pocket. There is plenty of variation in this amount in the health plan offered by different insurance companies. Thus, it’s important to clarify the amount when deciding on sum insured or between different health plans.

Verify any sublimit/co-pay

Most Indian health policies have a co-pay or sublimit attached to it. Co-pay is a mandatory cost that you must bear regardless of your sum insured while sublimit refers to the maximum cap which the health insurance provider would bear. If your costing crosses that limit, you need to pay out of your pocket. These are always mentioned in the fine print of the insurance plan and on the insurance provider website and thus must be read carefully to avoid any nasty surprises.

Verify cashless network of hospitals

Most insurance companies have their own network of hospitals where you can get admitted without paying anything upfront. The insurance companies directly settle the bills with the hospital. The network hospitals must have something convenient for you as well as to your liking.

Read the fine print and policy wordings carefully

Regardless of the policy that you are considering, read its fine print and policy wording carefully. Your insurance agent will furnish it to you in demand.  You are given a Customer Information sheet where every bit of information is mentioned explicitly. Not only would it mention all terms and conditions but would also state what is not covered under the policy like a pre-existing disease beyond a certain period of time.

Wrapping up

Before you decide on any policy; it is important to check out different health policies of various brands. Today, there are various online websites that compare and contrast various health insurance policies for you and let you know its pros and cons. Based on it, you can choose the health insurance plan that offers you maximum benefits.