Go for an independent policy rather than a family floater as group cover does not always include pre-existing diseases.
By Amit Chhabra
Considering the current rate of medical inflation in India, adequate health insurance has become a must-have for each and every individual, and if the individual happens to be your parent, the need to buy a senior citizen health insurance plan becomes all the more important. The insurance sector offers numerous health insurance plans that specifically target senior citizens and even those with pre-existing diseases. In the event of your parents falling ill and requiring hospitalisation, the major part of the medical expenses will be taken care of by your parents’ health plan, without burning a hole in your pocket.
Even if your parents are adequately covered under a corporate health insurance policy by your employer, the cover provided by your employer would cease to exist post-retirement. This makes it important for you as responsible children to purchase separate senior citizen health insurance.
A family floater healthcare plan can be a good option provided the age of your parents is not too much and they do not have any pre-existing diseases. While some of these health insurance covers impose a limit on the age of the parents, other insurers charge a high premium.
However, it is better to go for an independent policy as group policies do not always include pre-existing diseases. In an independent policy, most of the pre-existing diseases are covered and even the chances of claims getting approved are highest. You can even avail a tax benefit of up to Rs. 25,000 under Section 80D of Income Tax Act on health insurance premium paid for self, spouse, children, and parents. And in the case of elderly parents (above 60 years of age), the benefit goes up to Rs. 50,000 with the latest amendment in tax slabs.
Here are some crucial factors to consider when planning to buy health insurance for your elderly parents.
Most of the insurance companies have entry age criteria to be eligible for buying a health insurance cover. However, the entry age guidelines vary from one insurer to another and it is advisable to compare the different policies. It is important to consider the age of the policy seeker before issuing the policy as it plays a great role in deciding the premium of the policy..
Extent of coverage
While buying a health insurance cover for your parents, do make sure to select a plan that offers extensive coverage. Pick a plan that promises adequate coverage against various critical illnesses, particularly pre-existing diseases. Though most insurers provide coverage against these diseases after a waiting period of two or three years, review your policy document to understand the conditions carefully.
The total sum insured plays a very important role in any health insurance policy. This is the amount that the insurer will reimburse against expenses incurred for medical treatment. While buying a health insurance policy for your elderly parents, go for a higher sum insured, as you will receive a larger amount for medical emergencies.
(The writer is business head, Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com)