Supplement employer’s COVER with one of your own

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SummaryDepending merely on the health insurance provided by your employer means you are flirting with danger. Here’s why you also need a personal cover, and points to keep in mind while buying one

Depending merely on the health insurance provided by your employer means you are flirting with danger. Here’s why you also need a personal cover, and points to keep in mind while buying one
Health insurance is a complete no-no when people are in their twenties or thirties, a possibility when they are their forties, and an absolute necessity when they are nearing their sunset years. This is the general perception and practice within society. Moreover, while we are earning, especially when employed, we rely solely on the health insurance provided by the employer. Group covers are certainly more beneficial as most of them cover normal exclusions (coverage in case of disease or illness during the first 30 days of the policy), allow maternity expenses, and also cover pre-existing diseases.

But is the health insurance cover provided by your employer enough? In this era, when there are opportunities galore and people switch jobs faster than in their parents’ generation, and when hire-and-fire policy is a reality and not merely something that one hears and reads about, relying solely on the health insurance policy provided by the employer can spell trouble.

Cause for worry
Whether you have been retrenched or are moving on to greener pastures, as soon as you move out of the ambit of your present employer the insurance cover provided by it ceases to exist. Should something happen to you in the interim after quitting the old organisation and before joining the new one, you are left to your own devices. “The coverage ceases as soon an employee leaves the company. Normally there is no portability from a group cover to an individual cover. However, some companies might decide to give this facility on individual basis,” says Sanjay Datta, head of health insurance at ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

With ever rising medical inflation — defined as the cost of getting treatment, cost of medicines and hospitalisation — it is becoming harder to get good medical treatment. Medical inflation today ranges between 12 and 15 per cent. “With rise in lifestyle-related diseases (diabetes and heart disease) and cost of medical care, you cannot afford not to have adequate health insurance,” says Alda Dhingra, vice president, Prudent Insurance Brokers.

Moreover, most employers do not take coverage depending on what current medical costs are. They take coverage depending on what their budget is, and what discount they are getting from the

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