Having good health is a victory in itself. A walk in the morning and a wholesome diet are already on your health chart. However, we here tell you to beef up your chart with the addition of a suitable health insurance so that your lifestyle remains undisrupted.
A chronic or occasional health problem could not just affect your daily life but take a toll on your psychological well-being. Having a good health insurance cover is a must for you and your family to pay off the medical expenses.
Here are a few ways to reduce the associated expenses of maintaining a health cover.
Check renewability and buy early
Get a health insurance early in life and ensure it has lifetime renewability, as you are more likely to require assistance at an older age. If you wait to buy insurance at a later stage in life when your chances of getting ailments are higher, not only will you find it hard to buy a health cover, you might also end up paying higher premium. For example, a health cover worth Rs 500,000 costs around Rs 5,000 for a 25-year-old with no pre-existing diseases, while it costs above Rs. 7,000 for a 45-year-old.
Compare before you shop
Before you go shopping for your insurance, make sure you run your research and compare policies to find the one that suits you best. You can choose policies on the basis of factors such as cost, benefit restoration, benefits, room rent limits, co-pay limits, ambulance coverage, and pre-existing disease waiting period.
Opt for group insurance
Even if you have individual health covers, we suggest you list your dependents under the group insurance plan provided by your employer. The value of the cover might be modest but it is surely of help in covering primary hospitalisation.
However, you must have an individual plan and the employer’s plan should be your second line of defence. It comes handy in case of chronic diseases. Also, remember your employer’s plan will cease, once you retire or leave the job, leaving you vulnerable, if you don’t have individual cover.
Get a single insurance for family
You can avoid the hassles of maintaining separate policies for your family members by opting for the family floater plan, which covers all your loved ones under one umbrella and helps you save on premium cost. The benefits of the policy are shared among the members covered by the insurance.
Avail NCB and bonus cover
If you don’t file claim against your insurance policy for a year, some insurance providers give incentives (NCB) for not using the cover. The incentives are either in the form of discounts on the payable premium or an increase on the insured amount. For example, if you have a cover of Rs 10 lakh and you do not claim it for a year, you might receive a cover of Rs 11 lakh upon renewal of the policy.
Assess family medical history
You could financially prepare yourself better for unforeseen health hazards by going through your family history and studying the genetic pre-disposition to certain diseases. You should especially check for conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and cancer in your linear ascendants and blood relatives.
This may reveal your genetic susceptibility to such diseases and therefore equip you to take early preventive measures, eventually helping you to plan and save on medical expense. If you do have such susceptibility, it would be advisable to seek critical illness cover which would pay you a lump sum upon diagnosis.
Improve your lifestyle
We might also remind you that your lifestyle today plays a vital role in determining your future expenses towards healthcare. Improving your eating habits and exercise regimen, and curbing on alcohol and drug consumption are some of the pointers you should focus on. Hypertension, cancer, and diabetes are some common lifestyle diseases that directly influence the premium. The premium is also typically high for a smoker, so we suggest you to pick plans that offer high cover through low premiums.
There is a series of insurance products available in the market and it is always good to make an informed choice.
(The author is CEO, BankBazaar.com)