Top 6 Things to Consider While Buying Health Insurance

Published On 06 Nov 2019 By Sakshi Aggarwal

One cannot deny the importance of having covered under a good health insurance policy these days. The skyrocketing health care expenses make it imperative to buy one to save yourself from the financial crunch at the time of health emergency. 

However, before heading towards shopping for a good and relevant health insurance plan, it is necessary to know the types of plans and their advantages. There are two types of health insurance plans-indemnity and fixed benefit. The former covers hospitalisation expenses up to the set limit, whereas the latter pays a fixed amount for specified diseases, instead of providing incurred hospitalisation expenses. The customers can also choose between a family floater and an individual health insurance plan. 

So, let us understand in detail the six main aspects that should not be ignored while selecting a health insurance plan for yourself and your dear ones:

1. Need: 

Being specific about the requirements of you and your family is more important than anything else. Which type of plan to buy or even the add on benefits come later in the order. To be more clear of what you actually require, the need analysis can be done keeping some factors like the number of family members to be covered, age, family’s health history for hereditary diseases, pre-existing diseases and the current health condition. 

On the basis of this, you can consider buying a family floater health insurance policy or an individual health insurance policy. For instance, a newly married couple may require a health insurance plan that necessarily provides maternity cover, but a youngster may want to have an individual plan. A family floater plan, however, turns out to be more cost-effective. 

2. Affordability:

Choosing a plan according to your requirements will be fruitful if only you are able to buy the plan which has the shortlisted features. Which is why a plan with a lot of benefits might not always be the best option for you, as it will entail high premium, which would become a burden for you. Thus, you must narrow down your requirements to the actual ones and buy a plan that you can pay for in future as well and reap the benefits in the long term. 

3. Required sum insured:

Note your age, the number of family members to be covered and their exact age (for family floater plan), and the current health condition of all the members before deciding on the sum insured. While selecting the sum insured, also keep in mind the inflation rate over the years and with every passing year, the healthcare expenses will shoot only.  

4. Claim settlement: 

Another important aspect is investing your money with a reliable health insurance company. If a company is reliable or not, can be analysed by knowing about its Claim Settlement Ratio (CSR). CSR of an insurance company tells the potential customers if the company is trustworthy enough to be able to settle claims timely and in a smooth manner. High Claim Settlement Ratio depicts that there are high chances that the company will settle claims quickly. 

Claims for health insurance can be made in two modes-cashless or reimbursement. In the former, the insured gets paid by the Third Party Administrator or the insurer when he/she gets hospitalised. As far as the reimbursement process is concerned, the insured gets paid by the company later. One must choose this feature carefully as it might not always be feasible to shell out a lot of money for treatment. 

5. Inclusions and exclusions: 

Exclusions are certain conditions under which the insurer is not liable to pay the policyholders for expenses incurred. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly read and understand the exclusions listed under every health insurance plan before deciding on any. Evaluate exclusions like cover for pre-existing diseases, maternity, HIV/AIDS, alternative treatments, etc. and decide on a plan according to your needs.   

6. Bonuses and discounts:

Health insurance companies often give policyholders various bonuses and discounts. These, if used wisely, can make the plan much cheaper and attractive. For instance, many companies offer discounts if you buy cover for more than one person under the same plan. For instance, HDFC Ergo, Star Health, and Tata AIG offer a discount if more than one persons are included under the plan. Not only based on family members, but you may avail discounts even if you choose to pay in advance for a two or three-year policy term. ICICI Lombard and Max Bupa are some insurance companies to offer this. NCB (No Claim Bonus) is another perk that the policyholders get if they didn’t make any claim in the last year. In this, the policyholders sum insured gets increased for every claim-free year up to a specific limit. 

Thus, proper planning and need analysis is all that is required to purchase the right health insurance policy. If still in doubt, you can get in touch with the leading health insurance brokers like Insurancedekho for the best advice. 

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