The healthcare industry has witnessed a rapid rise in demand across the country, especially since the Covid outbreak. New and complicated ailments, lifestyle diseases and better health awareness are some of the reasons for medical inflation. Going by our lifestyle patterns, there’s no way these figures are coming down in the near future. So, how do we protect ourselves and our savings? Having a good healthcare plan in place can save you from going bankrupt. It will also help you access the best facilities.
When it comes to choosing the right health insurance plan, confusion and questions are normal. There are so many healthcare providers to choose from. To add fuel to the chaos, each provider has a plethora of products (same game, different name). This is why it is impossible to cherry-pick the most appropriate health plan for yourself or your family. In case you’re stuck with the same delirium, here are five thumb rules you can follow to make an informed decision.
When it comes to healthcare plans, age isn’t just a number. This number determines the subscription price that you’ll have to pay to the healthcare provider. The rule of thumb here is that healthcare subscription charges increase with age. This is primarily because elder people have higher medical expenses compared with teenagers or young adults.
Therefore, when it comes to buying a healthcare plan, the sooner you start the better. In fact, 18 is considered the appropriate age for getting your own healthcare plan but anywhere in your early twenties is also fine, as long as you’re healthy. Also, you should carefully check the age limit criterion of a healthcare plan before you make your choice.
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This is one of the biggest conundrums when it comes to healthcare plans. Is the plan you’re thinking about really a VFM (Value for Money)? People usually fall for the marketing and upselling tactics of brokers/healthcare providers and end up getting stuck with healthcare plans that don’t offer what they promised.
Any plan purchased with little research is bound to give you the feeling of being cheated on. One way to prevent this is by avoiding long-term contracts, going for a trial period, and avoiding upfront heavy payments. This way even if you end up buying the wrong plan, you won’t lose too much money. Monthly health subscriptions by platforms like Kenko Health are therefore a better option. They offer flexibility as you don’t have to commit. You can cancel it anytime without losing your money.
Include OPD Benefits
This is one aspect that is often overlooked by most customers. Simply assuming that healthcare plans jacket everything related to health is not the best way to go. Since most healthcare products in the market don’t cover your OPD expenses, it’s important that you clarify or research this before investing your hard-earned money.
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It is estimated that 65% of our healthcare costs are spent on OPD. This includes your regular doctor visits, medicines, lab tests etc. A lot of companies have now started offering OPD benefits but there’s a limit attached to it. Make sure you go through these terms and have your doubts answered.
Look For Loopholes
Each and every loophole of the healthcare plan such as post-purchase deductions, limitations on the benefits, exclusions etc can throw you off guard. Opting for healthcare plans that are completely transparent in their settlement process is the way to go.
Generally, when agents are selling you health plans, they won’t care about explaining these finer details. The website will also cleverly leave these details out. It is important to know what you’re signing up for and what’s your contribution should you undergo a treatment or an emergency.
Go For What’s Easy
This is by far the most important point one needs to remember while buying a healthcare plan. No matter how good a plan seems upfront or how expensive it is to buy, the process for settling your benefits must always be transparent, easy and well-laid out beforehand.
How many days does it take to settle your requests? Who should be your point of contact? What to do in case of an emergency? What documents are needed after undergoing a treatment? Who pays first – you or your health plan provider? These are some questions that you must ask before making any payments.
To conclude, buying the perfect healthcare plan could feel daunting. You may also not buy one because you want to avoid these conflicts internally. However, if you follow these thumb rules, you will be able to get up the hill quicker, thus making the task comparatively less boring. Look out for a healthcare provider who is more interested in your health and financial goals and you should sail through.
(By Aniruddha Sen, Co-Founder at Kenko Health)