Escalating medical expenses has made everyone a lot more cautious about their own health as well as the kind of insurance they have. But, most of the times elders or senior citizens are not adequately insured as they are merely covered by company insurance, which falls short of the actual requirements. People are hesitant to buy additional insurance for their parents due to expensive premiums and several restrictions, but in the process they forget that they run into a huge risk of financial strain in case of medical emergency.
Therefore, it is advisable to protect your parents with adequate health insurance after considering factors such as the sum insured, premium charged, pre-existing diseases, waiting period and other features. These factors have been analyzed here to make a decision on the right form of insurance cover to be taken.
Sum Insured: A higher sum insured will be required for people falling in the higher age – group. Sum-insured currently offered by Insurers ranges from Rs. 3 lakhs to Rs. 5 lakhs, while Max Bupa offers the highest sum assured of up to Rs. 50 lakhs under its platinum plan option.
Premium: The premium for sum assured of 2 lakhs ranges from Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 30,000 for these insurers. Evidently, the premiums charged by private insurers are expensive compared to their public sector counterparts. Premiums are also dependent on other factors like pre-existing diseases and habits as these could make your premiums costly.
Waiting Period for pre-existing disease: Insurers put a waiting period clause for pre-existing medical conditions like Diabetes, Hypertension and so on that is they will not cover these diseases until the waiting period is crossed. A health insurance cover with lowest waiting period should be covered as currently waiting period is around 1 year to 4 years for different insurers.
Co-payment: Insurers have made co-payment clause mandatory, wherein the policy holder has to bear a percentage amount of the claimed amount. Definitely lower the percentage, better is the insurance. As of now, this percentage varies from 10% to 30 % among insurers.
Claim Settlement ratio : A careful analysis about the claim settlement ratio has to be done for each insurer as it shows the rate at which the insurer has settled the claim. Always prefer insurer with a good track record of the claim settlement ratio of 90% and above.
Other features: While buying a health insurance, consider additional features like a discount on premium and cumulative increase in Sum insured when there is no claim made in a year.
The Indian market is crowded with a variety of insurance policies which could put you in a fix as to decide on the best policy. If your parents have decent cover from your employer, then it’s prudent to take a secondary cover from a public sector insurer as the premiums charged by them are on a lower side. However, this will not be sufficient if a higher sum insured is required. At the same time, avoid buying insurance solely on the basis of premium, it should also be based on the additional features which vary from insurer to insurer.
Protection forms the basis of any financial planning process and protecting your parents is an equally important goal. Also, buying health insurance for your parents will help you avail tax benefit under section 80D.