A week ago I happened to overhear a gentleman’s conversation with probably his friend while I accompanied my friend’s father for his routine check up to the doctor and was sitting, waiting for our turn. This gentleman had come to seek a second opinion about his father who had been advised an angioplasty by another cardiologist. I first thought he was concerned about his father’s health but he appeared to be more concerned about the expenses. “Uncle doesn’t have health insurance?” His friend asked. “No” this gentleman replied. “He always had a good health; we never thought anything like this can happen and he is 72 yrs. No company will give him health insurance”. This is sad and dangerous – the attitude that ‘it will not happen to me’ and the lack of awareness. For the attitude ‘it will not happen to me’ I can only pray that someday the good sense would prevail; medical emergencies do not come with a prior intimation. They just happen. And for the lack of awareness, here we go.
The Indian health insurance market for senior citizens has grown and there are many companies that offer policies. A medical insurance for senior citizens helps during emergency health problems as well as long-term medical treatment which otherwise could cost a bomb. Before deciding to buy a policy, you should know what you want from your insurance cover. Discuss it with your family and friends; do some reading yourself before buying the policy. Taking a policy for health is a great investment for elderly; though the premiums to be paid may be higher than normal.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no upper age limit for claim settlement in most of the companies. If one has a valid health insurance, claim would be settled. In some companies, the entry age is up to 75 yrs where as in some companies there is no such limit at all. However, they have put a maximum sum assured of 5 lacs for senior citizens. There are 27 general insurance companies in India. The premiums of some of the companies are given below.
|Entry Age||Apollo Munich||National Insurance||Oriental Insurance||Star Health||The New India||Religare Health|
|1 Lac||2 Lac||1 Lac||2 Lac||1 Lac||2 Lac||1 Lac||2 Lac||1 Lac||2 Lac||1 Lac||2 Lac|
This is just an illustrative and not an exhaustive comparison. Readers are requested to read the policy details carefully. In some companies, for example Star Health, 70% of bill amount is paid by the Insurance Company. All pre-existing diseases are covered from first year, except those for which treatment or advice was recommended by or received during the immediately preceding 12 months from the date of proposal. In such cases, 50% of bill amount is paid by the company and 50% has to be paid by the policy holder. Whereas, in some companies, like Apollo Munich, any pre-existing condition is covered after a waiting period of three years.
Turning sixty is a major milestone. On the one hand, people tend to find more time for matters they couldn’t adequately attend to during their years of career preoccupation. On the other, there is mounting anxiety about health. A major reason for this is that once a person crosses retirement age, steady income stops and any expenses due to health problems eats into the savings. This is where a health insurance policy comes into assistance by extending reimbursement of hospitalization costs incurred due to an unfortunate health problem. You can enjoy a tax benefit under Section 80(D) of the Income Tax 1961 on the premium paid for your senior citizen parents; maximum limit being Rs 20,000/-. My sincere advise to all the sons and daughters of all the senior citizens; please buy a health insurance plan for your parents along with yours’. It’s a must. Stay insured. Stay Blessed!!
About the Author:
Vandana Dubey is a Certified Financial Planner and a corporate trainer by profession. She wants to create financial awareness. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org