According to a report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, only around 14.1 per cent of rural Indians and 19.1 per cent of the urban population have health coverage. Being inadequately insured affects your ability to access quality health care. Your health insurance policy always has your back. However, finding the right insurance plan is vital.
Here are a couple of tips that can help you find the best health insurer for your needs:
1. Exercise caution while investing in plans with plenty of benefits
Invest adequate time in understanding the offerings of the policy before signing on the dotted line. Prioritise your requirements over fancy offerings that might not suit your requirements. Consider purchasing a separate plan for the eldest members of the family since the premium is calculated as per the age of the eldest member of the family increasing the premium payable.
2. Opt for a reputed company
In addition to fulfilling your terms and conditions and suiting your budget, opt for a health insurance provider that provides support when you need it. Before purchasing the policy, log into the website of the insurance provider check the ratings, claims settlement record etc. A healthy claims settlement record is one of the best ways to identify a good insurance provider. More than purchasing the right plan, it is essential to be assured that you will receive the claim when required.
3. Purchase your policy through a broker
Purchasing health insurance policy can be a difficult task considering the vast number of policies in the market. A medical insurance advisor can help you understand the offerings of the policy and help you make a more informed decision. Before purchasing a policy from a broker, ask them for their registration number and cross-verify the details from the IRDA website. Opt for an independent broker over a company agent who might tend to promote one product over the other.
4. Purchase adequate insurance
While opting for a policy, take into consideration any medical conditions you may be suffering from estimate the medical expenses you foresee in the future. Also, calculate the total ownership of the policy. Ownership policies refer to the various expenses that you might have to make out of pocket. Do not skip this step while shortlisting on insurance plans. You might discover that a plan that is the most pocket-friendly plan might not always be the best. Opt for a sum that will adequately meet your needs without causing you financial distress. Also evaluate different parameters like the waiting period, exclusions etc. before shortlisting an insurer for your needs.
5. Evaluate different riders
Top-up plans or riders are over and above one's health insurance policy that can be purchased at an additional cost. The amount used to pay premiums on top-up can be used to claim deductions under Section 80 D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
6. Check the age limit
While purchasing a floater plan, make sure to check the age requirements. Ensure that all the members right from the oldest to the youngest are within the age limit specified. Preferably opt for an insurance plan that allows lifelong renewability.
7. Verify network hospitals
Make a list of the health conditions you suffer from and those that might require hospitalization. Find out all the hospitals your insurance provider has tied up with. This can help you receive quality treatment in a hospital that you are comfortable in. Also, inquire if you can avail of cashless health insurance.
8. No Claim Bonus
Most prominent health insurance providers offer No Claim Bonus. This allows the insured benefits in the form of a reduced premium or additional amount insured at the time of renewal if no claim is made in a particular year. The amount offered as NCB varies from one provider to the other. If you plan to opt for a policy with an NCB, make sure you make yourself aware of the maximum NCB allowed by each provider.
9. Waiting Period
The waiting period is the time during which policyholders suffering from pre-existing conditions are not allowed to make claims on their health policy nor are the insurance providers allowed to accept claims filed towards treating pre-existing health issues. Inquire about the waiting period beforehand and opt for a policy that has the lowest waiting period to ensure that you are protected in case of an emergency.
The insurer lays limits on certain charges to avoid the insurer from claiming too high amounts from their insurance providers. These charges may apply on ambulance charges, doctors’ fees etc.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle and most importantly do not discontinue paying premiums during trying financial times which assures financial support when you need it the most.