Health insurance in India has come a long way from being used primarily as a tax-saving instrument to an intrinsic part of every individual’s financial plan. While growing financial awareness has helped the surge in popularity of health insurance, many insurance features are still unknown to the vast majority of policyholders.
Here is a look at some of the lesser-known but quite impactful features offered by various health insurance plans:
1: You Can Get Coverage for Ayurvedic, Non-allopathic, Alternative Treatments
If you think health insurance only offers coverage for allopathic line of treatment, think again. As per an IRDA regulation in 2013, health insurance can cover non-allopathic and alternative treatments as part of their insurance cover. Two key points here—one: these are not standalone covers for alternative medicine, and two: Ayurvedic treatments are not covered if undergone in institutions not recognized by the government or accredited by Quality Council of India or National Accreditation Board on Health.
2: OPD and Day Care Treatment
Traditional health insurance plans were available only if the disease merited a minimum hospitalization of 24 hours. Improvements in medical science have meant that today many treatments and surgeries are done in day care or OPD, needing no overnight stay in the hospital. With changing times, health insurance plans today offer OPD policies covering outpatient expenses like consultation fee of the doctor and medical expenses of treatment.
3: Get Treatment At Home
Treatment undergone at home, if advised by the doctor, is also offered as part of health insurance coverage today. Known as domiciliary hospitalization, the reasons may vary from non-availability of rooms in the hospital, to fragile health conditions not warranting hospitalization. The pay-out for such treatments is usually value based as percentage of sum insured or a fixed lump sum amount.
4: NCB Benefit
Claim-free years can now be used as a tool to seek a cumulative bonus as health insurance companies offer no claim benefits to policyholders. NCB is offered on indemnity based health insurance policies. NCB allows for a progressive increase in the Sum Assured, by a value of at least 5% and can go as high as 50% for five claim-free years.
5: Convalescence Benefit
Convalescence or a recovery benefit is offered as a lump sum in the event of a prolonged stay in the hospital for the policyholder. The amount and period for convalescence benefit are usually predefined in the health insurance plan. Convalescence amount can be used a compensation to adhere to rise in supplementary costs for a prolonged hospital stay, loss of income etc.
6: Daily Cash Allowance
To compensate the expenses for food, travel for family members between home and hospital health insurance plans offer a daily cash allowance. If offered in the health insurance plan, such allowances usually do not need submission of bills to support the claims. Daily cash allowance for the attendant is usually restricted to a fixed number of days.
7: Maternity Expenses
Health insurance plans today offer coverage towards maternity expenses, including pre-natal and post-natal expenses. Such health insurance plans are specially designed and come with a waiting period starting from nine months. Such policies usually also offer coverage towards medical expenses of the child from birth till completion of 90 days as per the selected policy. The maternity expenses may be covered under a sub-limit of the sum assured, or up to a specified limit for procedures such as a C-section delivery.
8: Sum Insured Recharge
The sum assured is fixed during a policy term but if you end up exhausting the same before the end of the policy tenure, you can have the option of restoring your sum insured if supported by your insurance policy. The recharged sum insured can be used as a cover for any future claims provided they are unrelated to the claims made earlier in the policy term.
Health insurance plans today offer more holistic coverage for policyholders. Make sure you compare your options adequately before finalizing a feature-rich coverage for your family.
(The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com)