In case you plan to take your family member outside the country for treatment, you may need to think twice as your health insurance policy may not cover the cost of treatment incurred outside the country.
Taking care of someone seriously ill in the family is never easy. It is not just about taking care of them at home, but also providing them with the best possible healthcare facilities within the country as well as outside. However, it is not always possible because the cost of healthcare remains one of the most contentious issues. In case you plan to take your family member outside the country for treatment, you may need to think twice as your health insurance policy may not cover the cost of treatment incurred outside the country.
State of Healthcare in India
No doubt, India is one amongst the low-cost medical tourism destinations offering reliable medical treatment at affordable prices, but what if someone from your family needs to travel outside the country for the best healthcare facilities? There are numerous expenses, including travel, accommodation, food and many other expenses that must be considered. And not to forget the currency exchange price, which is significantly high in most of the developed nations providing better healthcare than India.
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Some Reliable Options Available
To help such people who do not have enough financial resources to get their loved ones treated outside India, some of the insurance companies have introduced special policies for overseas health care and to pay the claims for treatment taken outside India. One such insurer is Religare that offers an insurance plan covering the cost of treatment incurred outside India. In all such policies, the insurer only targets people with high net worth as the premium for the plans is significantly high. As per market experts, the total cost of treatment incurred abroad is quite high in comparison to that in India and such policies are only available with a high sum insured. However, most of the medical policies cover only certain specified diseases for overseas treatment.
The Global Care medical cover of Religare comes with a total sum insured of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 6 crore. Max Bupa’s Heartbeat Platinum policy provides a sum insured starting with Rs 15 lakh and goes up to Rs 1 crore. Another popular insurer offering one such policy is Royal Sundaram. The company’s Lifeline Elite policy comes with a total sum insured of Rs 25 lakh and it can go up to Rs 1.5 crore. Initially, taking treatment abroad was only restricted to the elite class. However, with the introduction of such policies, anybody can buy a medical policy for getting best treatment abroad. However, all these policies come with a set of restrictions and it is very important to understand the restrictions before buying any policy.
Critical Illness Cover
It is very important to note that each of these policies covers only limited critical illnesses. Starting with Religare Health’s Care cover, the plan covers only 5 main critical illnesses that include cancer, heart attack, organ transplant, stroke, and brain surgery. Max Bupa, apart from offering cover for these 5 major illnesses, offers cover for 4 other diseases as well. Some of the insurance policies even offer an emergency cover for the treatment of any illness that has been certified as an emergency by a medical practitioner. One prominent insurer providing such insurance is Cigna TTK.
Like in many of the contemporary medical insurance policies, the pre-existing illnesses in international treatment cover policies are only covered after a waiting period. Once the patient successfully passes the waiting period, the policyholder can avail the services and file for a claim. And yes, the waiting period varies from insurer to insurer.
Things to Note
Most of the above-mentioned insurance plans have a specified sum insured and only cover certain specified illnesses listed for international coverage plans. Also, the premium for each of these plans is high. This makes it very important to understand that the insurer must be given prior notice before travelling abroad and the services must be availed only if there is an emergency. Also, most of the insurance policies do not cover treatment in the US and Canada. However, you can avail the services by taking a separate rider.
(By Vaidyanathan Ramani, Head-Product and Innovation, Policybazaar.com)