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Difference Between Individual and Group Health Insurance: Which is Right for You?

Published On Aug 22, 2023, Updated On Aug 29, 2023

Owning a health insurance plan is crucial for all individuals, as it provides financial protection against increasing medical treatment expenses. Various inclusive health insurance schemes are available, generally divided into personal and group health insurance policies.

While both kinds of policies provide basic coverage, disparities exist between group and individual health insurance. By examining these two varieties, you can determine the most suitable option according to your requirements. Continue reading to discover the significant contrasts between these two classifications.

How Do Group Health Insurance Policies Work?

Group health insurance pertains to an insurance plan bundle procured by a corporation for its workforce as part of their employment advantages. Corporations can obtain a tailored insurance scheme or acquire a pre-established policy from an insurance provider. Furthermore, organisations like associations, business collectives, residential societies, and alumni associations can also acquire such policies to present an attractive perk to potential new members.

Difference between individual health insurance and group health insurance

Typically, a group health insurance plan provides a predetermined coverage amount that addresses expenses related to medical care, treatment of particular illnesses, unexpected hospital stays, and more. In some cases, family members might also be covered. The extent of coverage and the insured sum vary based on the salary package provided by different employers.

The premium for these health insurance policies is determined by assessing the combined risks of all enrolled members. When contrasting group insurance with individual insurance, it becomes evident that group insurance policies are more cost-effective. This proves advantageous for employers, as obtaining individual policies for their staff would incur considerably higher expenses.

How Do Individual Health Insurance Policies Work?

This type of health insurance policy provides coverage for the medical costs of a single individual. Such plans furnish a coverage amount tailored to an individual's circumstances and can be personalised according to specific preferences.

The extent of coverage and the premium associated with individual health insurance plans are influenced by factors like the insured person's age, medical history, family medical background, and more. Elements such as employment status and affiliations do not impact the premium calculation for these policies.

Most personal policies encompass pre- and post-hospitalisation care expenses, road ambulance services, outpatient procedures, alternative therapies, room charges, surgical expenses, and similar aspects. Additionally, you have the option to acquire supplementary benefits known as riders to augment your health insurance coverage.

Consequently, a notable disparity between individual and group insurance lies in the fact that the former is entirely tailored to your requirements. Furthermore, there is no need to divide the coverage amount, which differs from family floater plans and group health insurance arrangements.

Key Differences between Group Insurance and Individual Insurance Policies

Let's examine the subsequent factors to analyse the distinctions between group and individual health insurance schemes:

Cost: Group health insurance policies typically come at a minimal or zero expense for employees. They are more economical than individual health insurance plans, as employers can secure them at a reduced rate due to bulk purchases.

Relevance: Group insurance policies remain valid only if you remain employed and your employer covers the premium. You can convert the group coverage into an individual policy upon leaving the company. However, the conversion cost occasionally exceeds that of a new individual policy.

Convenience: Individuals facing health-related issues might encounter challenges when seeking a health insurance plan. Nevertheless, group insurance plans extend coverage to all company employees, often bypassing individual underwriting requirements.

Freedom of Choice: Another contrast between individual and group insurance is that the former grants you complete autonomy to choose the terms. You can opt for a provider and policy based on your personal, medical, and financial circumstances. In the case of group insurance, the terms are contingent upon your employer's choices.

No Claim Bonus: Group insurance doesn't offer any benefits if no claims are made within a year. Individual health insurance policies provide a No Claim Bonus (NCB) as a reward for not filing claims, resulting in premium discounts or additional advantages.

The subsequent table succinctly outlines the principal divergences between group and individual health insurance plans:

Basis of Comparison

Group Health Insurance

Individual Health Insurance

Who is insured

An insured person and his/her family members

The policyholder


Your employer

The policyholder

Premium amount

Deducted from your salary

Paid as per your choice

Sum insured

Usually lower than individual health policies

Option to choose a higher sum insured


Uniform coverage for all employees

Policy buyer has full control over coverage amount

Policy duration

Till the employee leaves the company or retires

Up to the exit age (depends on the insurer)

Option for riders

Limited or none

Policyholders can buy any rider benefit

No claim bonus



Coverage for pre-existing diseases

From the first day

After the end of the waiting period

Tax Benefits


Available under Section 80D

Group Health Insurance vs Individual Health Insurance - Which Is Better?

Group health insurance policies can be a cost-effective solution for both companies and employees due to their economic rates. This is why many individuals, especially those facing financial challenges, often depend on their group health insurance plans.

Another benefit of these policies is the immediate coverage they provide for pre-existing conditions. Nevertheless, your coverage remains effective only while you're employed within your current company. Upon departure or retirement, you'll need to secure an individual health plan or a fresh group policy.

In contrast to group insurance plans, individual insurance policies offer greater flexibility in tailoring the policy's terms. You have the freedom to define inclusions and exclusions. Beyond determining whether critical insurance coverage is required, you can also select the insured sum, designate family members to be covered, and more in accordance with your specific needs.

Opting for individual insurance early holds merit because obtaining coverage post-retirement can be challenging once your group insurance ceases. Therefore, conducting thorough research to choose a preferred insurance policy is advisable. Some individuals opt for a combination of both, using group insurance as a supplementary safety net.


The distinctions between individual and group insurance policies highlight the advantages and disadvantages associated with investing in them. Opting for a group health insurance policy can be advantageous if you're seeking basic coverage. Based on your need for financial security, you have the option to supplement the coverage provided by your group plan with an individual health plan.


  1. What are some common exclusions in individual health plans?

Many individual health insurance policies do not cover the following:

  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Cosmetic treatments
  • Obesity treatments
  • Dental procedures
  • Alcohol or drug abuse treatments
  • Infertility treatments
  • HIV/AIDS treatments
  • Congenital external anomalies
  • Injuries from hazardous sports
  • Illnesses or injuries arising from war, terrorism, or nuclear incidents.
  1. Is group insurance cheaper than individual insurance?

Group insurance often offers lower premiums due to collective bargaining power, but individual insurance allows for more customisation.

  1. Does group insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Group insurance may cover pre-existing conditions, while individual insurance might involve more stringent underwriting for such conditions.

  1. Can I choose my coverage with individual insurance?

Yes, individual insurance allows you to select coverage options that best suit your medical needs and budget.

  1. Which option is more customisable?

Individual insurance is generally more customisable since you can choose coverage, deductibles, and limits based on your preferences.


This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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