Buying health insurance has become a necessary task in today’s times. Normal ageing processes notwithstanding, many younger age groups are also falling prey to lifestyle diseases and serious ailments. Apart from these, there is the threat of unexpected accidents and natural disasters. All in all, we live in extremely unpredictable times.
While it is imperative to take health insurance in India, it can become confusing to choose the perfect plan. The plan you choose must be appropriate to your needs in every way. We break down this process in 7 simple steps.
1. Select the right insurer.
This is the most crucial step. You can do your own research online or ask your friends and colleagues about their health plans and their personal experiences. Normally, it is better to look for a company that has a high claim settlement record. Also look for the variety of plans, customer service responsiveness and numbers of subscribers to their plans. Look for general insurance companies that will also offer good health insurance components in their plans.
2. Choose as per needs.
The health plan you purchase will depend on the size of your family, future needs and composition of the family. If your family includes aged parents, spouse and children, it is better to invest in a family health plan. If you are single with no dependents, a smaller health insurance plan will suffice.
3. Select between cashless and reimbursement plans.
You can make a choice between cashless hospitalisation and reimbursement plans. In the former, all medical and hospital bills are settled by third party administrators directly with the hospital. While in the latter, the customer makes all the payments and then files for insurance with the provider. There are several good options in both areas in health insurance in India, so choose wisely.
4. Compute the correct sum assured.
The sum assured of the policy is not a random, high number of your choice. It is computed basis your current income, future inflation and add-ons you take in the policy. You can compute it roughly this way: Sum assured = 8 to 10 times current gross income + at least Rs 50,000 for inflation. Ask your insurance provider the sum assured calculation before you make a decision.
5. Understand the premium payments.
Simply choosing a high sum assured does not serve any purpose, except for tagging a high premium payment per annum. The premium payment depends on the tenure of the policy, the desired sum assured and the claims already filed against the policy. If you want a high sum assured at low premiums, you can opt for a term insurance plan. Your insurance provider can provide you with a list of plans that will suit your needs.
6. Look for bonuses and rewards.
Many providers in health insurance in India offer bonuses for policies where holders have not made a claim for a certain number of years. Some plans offer a discount on the premium for not claiming insurance the previous year. Also check if the policy levies any additional interest or charges on the increased premiums.
7. Check the network hospitals.
This is important especially for those taking cashless hospital insurance. Many people wrongly assume that cashless hospital insurance in India will give them the leeway to get admitted in the hospital of their choice and claim insurance. When taking the health policy, go through the policy document carefully and know the hospitals networked with the insurance provider. You can avail of cashless hospitalisation in these hospitals only.