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New Health Insurance Guidelines to Benefit Senior Citizens? Read Here

Updated On Jan 22, 2021

In order to make insurance simplified, standardised, and more customer-friendly, the insurance regulatory authority IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India) has introduced a number of modifications to health insurance plans. The customers can now enjoy the benefit of paying health insurance premiums in installments which were not the case earlier. As against the rules followed previously where the customers had to pay premiums annually, they can now pay premiums in monthly, quarterly, half-yearly as well as annual installments. The terms and conditions of the insurance will remain the same though, as per the IRDAI. But the free look period (a short period during which the policyholder can quit the policy term without any penalty) will be lesser than what you get if you pay annual premiums, in case you pay them monthly or quarterly. 

Apart from this, the insurance regulator has also asked the insurance providers to increase the maximum age limit for health insurance plans. Generally, the maximum age limit for health plans is kept at 65 years. 

The majority of the customers find this move of the IRDAI relieving. They are welcoming the change and believe that it will be beneficial specially for the senior citizens. But as the health insurance premium increases as the age of the insured increases, the premium for senior citizen policies offered by insurers including Universal Sompo, Star Health, New India Assurance etc. will cost more as compared to other plans. 

The Chief-Underwriting, Claims, Reinsurance and Actuary in ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Ltd, Sanjay Datta shared, "A customer with age of 60 and above will have to pay a relatively higher premium amount, this could cause a strain on the finances. Having the option to pay the premium monthly/quarterly options ensures that the customers are able to pay the premiums and continue to enjoy the benefits of their health policy.” 

As per IRDAI, the insurance companies are now allowed to increase the maximum age as well as lower the minimum age of purchasing a health plan. The companies can increase or decrease health insurance premiums by 15% on the basis of loss-ratio numbers, as per the modifications. The insurers, without waiting for IRDAI’s approval, can launch additional distribution channels for some specific products. 

Another mandate by the IRDAI is for alternative medicines. It says that a standard health insurance plan will also cover expenses arising from an alternative treatment like AYUSH (Ayurveda, Siddha or Unani). The expenses, however, will totally be decided considering fixed and standard sub-limits on the sum insured. 

With all these changes in health insurance cover, it is a good time that senior citizens re-evaluate their existing plans. They must ensure that their policies offer them protection against maximum expenses.  

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