4 key points to take note of while buying a health insurance policy

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Updated: July 22, 2021 4:44 PM

In view of the exorbitant hospital and medical bills that are being accrued be it due to COVID treatment or any other medical reason, people have started not only opting for health insurance but also choosing the best health protection available.

health insurance, health insurance plan, Covid-19 pandemic, waiting periods for pre-existing conditions, sub-limits, no claim bonus, port to a higher cover health policyNote that, buying an insurance policy directly from the insurers' website can help you avail of online discounts.

Before the pandemic, most people, especially the salaried, were happy with the employer-provided insurance schemes. Experts say, most didn’t even care to look at the documents, inclusion, exclusions or fine prints of the insurance policies.

However, after the pandemic, especially in view of the exorbitant hospital and medical bills that are being accrued be it due to COVID treatment or any other medical reason, people have started not only opting for health insurance but also choosing the best health protection available. Experts say, due to the pandemic, most people have now become well versed with the need for a comprehensive health insurance cover.

Here are some of the things you must look out for before buying an optimal health insurance policy:

Policyholder’s necessity and the demographics

An individual’s social demography, such as gender, age, income, ethnicity, education level, years of experience, location, etc. help insurers decide the average cost of hospitalization in one’s area.
Also, if one expects superior hospital rooms along with modern treatments like robotic surgeries and overseas emergency hospitalization etc. experts say one should opt for a higher coverage policy. Also, check with the policyholder for any capping or limitations on any treatment.

Industry experts say new policyholders should also avoid floater policies with lower sum-insureds as in the current pandemic scenario they have fared poorly. Opt for a policy that does not cap any treatment options or any illnesses.

Waiting Periods and policy tenure

Always try to choose a higher policy tenure ranging from 2-3 years. This is because, longer tenure comes with certain benefits, such as discounts on premium for the 2nd or 3rd year, etc. which makes it a lucrative deal.

Most health insurance comes with waiting periods. Hence, be well versed with it especially, if you have a pre-existing disease or a critical illness. Check with the insurance provider the waiting period applied within the policy. Try to opt for policies that have fewer years of the waiting period.

Policies with cashless claim options

Take note of the insurance company’s network of hospitals, and if they facilitate the facilities of cashless claim options. Experts say, during medical emergencies, it could be difficult to make upfront payments. Therefore, choose a cover that offers to make cashless claims, and coverages throughout the country along with a wider network of hospitals.

Separately, ensure that the policy that you choose comes with a lower premium, without sacrificing its benefits. For instance, buying an insurance policy directly from the insurers’ website can help you avail of online discounts. Various insurers also offer premium payment options in EMIs both monthly and quarterly, which can help many people to pay the premiums in easy instalments.

Hospitalization and other coverages

A policyholder should always consider the age and pre-existing health conditions of themselves and their dependents before buying a health insurance policy. For instance, if a policyholder already has a policy with lower sum-insured, he/she could consider opting for a super top-up policy for the additional coverage, if they want to upgrade. The super top-up policy could come with a deductible up to the existing health policy.

Hospital expenses are not limited to one’s stay at the hospital – pre-hospitalization tests and post-hospitalization expenses also need attention. Hence, experts say choose a policy that covers both pre and post-hospitalization expenses. Along with the basic hospitalization coverages, some of the comprehensive coverage that should be included in the policy are Day Care Procedures, Domiciliary Hospitalization, alternate treatments like AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), Organ Donor Expense, modern technologically advanced options like Stem Cell Therapy, Robotic Surgeries, etc.

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