Buying health insurance? Know which policy is best for you

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We are living in an era when buying a health insurance plan has become imperative. With COVID-19, healthcare expenses have skyrocketed, emphasising the need for a health insurance policy. Even routine medical check-ups can burn a hole in your pocket. In this situation, health insurance acts as an umbrella for financial security.  

Investing in a good health insurance plan helps us to save our finances and get the best quality of health care services anytime. It not only saves money but also reduces expenses towards doctor consultation fees, costs for medical tests, hospitalisation, etc. But with the availability of various types of health insurance plans right from individual health policy, family floater to senior citizen policy, selecting the right plan can be quite confusing. Therefore, to help you understand better, here is a quick rundown of the different kind of health insurance plans with their benefits:  

Individual Health Insurance: It is the most basic and standard health insurance plan in India, which is customised for a young individual to safeguard him or her from illness, hospitalisation, child delivery expense and other health-related issues. One can also customise the policy to cover their dependents, such as parents, spouse and kids. Currently, individual health policies are in great demand owing to their medical and tax benefits. People who fall in the age bracket of 18-70 years can avail of this insurance.  One of the benefits of buying an individual policy is that it offers the individual sum insured limit for each covered member. 

Family Floater Health Insurance Plan: Families are often stressed due to their financial responsibilities with unanticipated health expenditures. In such situations, having a family floater health insurance policy can be a smart option from a financial and health point of view. All family members can be covered in a single coverage model, i.e. the annual health insurance premium and overall sum insured is shared amongst all the family members. One important point to be kept in mind is that if one of the family members uses the entire sum insured, the others will have nothing to use. A family floater is flexible when it comes to using the insurance coverage for a group and is suited for couples and nuclear families. 

Group Health Insurance: Group health insurance provides coverage to a group of members, comprising employees or members of any organisation. It is often offered as a perquisite for employees as the employer bears the premium. In a few cases, the group health insurance is extended to the family members of the employees. The group health insurance plan is also referred to as corporate health insurance or employee health insurance. However, when we compare group health insurance to individual health insurance, although is the price is comparatively less but the employees get a fixed and lower sum insured.  

Senior Citizen Insurance Plans: These health policies are intended for elder individuals who are above 60 years of age. It offers coverage for the cost of medicines, admission in the hospital due to accident or illness, pre- and post-hospitalisation and treatment. A few other benefits, like psychiatric benefits and domiciliary hospitalisation, are also covered in such plans. There are a few insurance companies who might request for a full body check-up before they sell a senior citizen plan to the buyer to check for any pre-existing medical conditions. Also, these plans come a with lifetime renewability and the maximum entry age is up to 70 years. The frequency of senior citizens being prone to illness is quite high, so these plans might be expensive when compared to other health policies. 

Maternity Health Insurance: These are plans made for newly married couples or couples who are planning for a baby. In these plans, expenses such as pre-natal and post-natal, delivery charges and ambulance cost, too, gets covered. It also covers expenses of infertility and offers coverage for the new-born baby up to the first three months. Maternity insurance has a waiting period of a minimum of two years, so it is advisable to buy such a plan well in advance. 

Critical Illness Plans: In today’s lifestyle, health problems are difficult to avoid. Increase in stress, not having proper nutrition and intake of fast foods have only led to the deterioration of our health. Keeping this in mind, health insurance companies have come up with critical illness policies. Getting treatment for diseases such as kidney ailments, heart attacks, cancer, paralysis, stroke, etc. has become an expensive affair. Therefore, in such cases, as soon as a person is diagnosed with these diseases, insurers will pay them a predefined amount irrespective of the actual treatment cost incurred. Such plans are recommended for those who have a history of such illnesses in their family. 

Top-up Health Insurance: A top-up health insurance is designed to secure people from surging medical costs and unexpected health issues. Such plans can be bought as an extension to your current health insurance policy, ramping up the current sum insured at a lower premium. It can also come with a host of additional benefits based on what the insurer is offering.  

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Buying a health insurance policy is a must especially at the time of the pandemic, but before making a final decision one should know what kind of health policies are best fit for them and their family. One must understand one’s policy well and be clear on what is covered and what is not beforehand to avoid any confusion at the time of claim. These policies not only secure one’s family but also relieves a person from financial stress during any medical emergencies. 

(By Sudha, Head, Health and Travel at Digit Insurance) 

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