The birth of a child is probably the most important event in the life of parents. Apart from the basic cost of raising a child and providing quality education, parents need to provide proper health care to the child. This is because right from birth and up until preteens, children need special care. Immunity is low for newborn babies hence proper health monitoring and timely vaccination are required for a healthy life. Hence, insurance experts suggest that one should look for health insurance policies that provide cover for newborn babies.
Vivek Narain, Health Insurance Specialist at SANA.Insure, told FE Online that “an essential part of financial planning for your children’s future is having a comprehensive health and wellbeing program. It should be geared to take care of the mother right from conception to when the child matures and says, ‘I am good to take care of myself’”.
“An essential element of the planning is having a health insurance policy very early on. In India, there are a wide variety of very comprehensive health insurance, available with optional scale-ups, to cover your child,” he said.
According to Narain, the right approach to choosing the best health insurance policy for children would be according to key life cycle milestones, such as:
- Prenatal Coverage: Parents-to-be should look for Maternity Benefits in their Health Insurance policies which cater to pregnancy and delivery-related hospitalization, diagnoses and pre-birth medical expenses, both for the mother and the baby. A lower waiting period to avail these benefits would be optimal. It is also imperative to check the policy terms and conditions for a list of congenital diseases that may be excluded. Assisted Reproduction Treatments (such as IVF) are not normally covered by default, but certain insurers extend this cover as an add-on rider for additional premium, often up to a specified sub-limit. This would be a good option for couples seeking medical support in conceiving.
- At Birth: Opting for health insurance plans that provide automatic just born baby cover would be wise, so that the child’s health insurance is secured from birth itself. Here, too, there are several conditions attached, such as a cap on Sum Insured, up to a certain number of days from birth, and/or only if the mother is covered under Maternity Benefits. Additionally, look for new born baby cover which is usually applicable after 90 days from birth upon intimation to the insurer and for additional premium – do not assume that the newborn gets covered automatically or by default. Ensure that the plan takes care of Newborn Vaccinations and Inoculations to safeguard the baby’s health at birth.
- Childhood to Teenage Years: These are the most precarious years in children’s growth, as they tend to fall prey to communicable diseases and are prone to accidents while at play. Having a health insurance policy that covers your child for such medical exigencies up to the full Sum Insured will be a relief for parents as it would mean less worry to organize funds. Instead, they can focus on ensuring their child receives the best treatment and is nursed safely back to good health. Here, a minimum Age at Entry for Dependents would be optimal, as it allows you to include your children early on within your family floater plan. If you wish to take a separate individual health insurance policy for your child, then, too, an early Age at Entry would be a good choice.
- Young Adults: As children grow up to be adults and start their careers, that would be the best time to consider converting their family floater plan to an individual policy so that they are guaranteed ample health insurance coverage. Here, look for a plan that allows for maximum Age at Exit for Dependents, so that your family has sufficient time to consider various plans and select the best individual option for the young adult.
According to Aatur Thakkar, Co-founder and Director at Alliance Insurance Brokers, it is always advisable to choose a health insurance policy at the early stage of your child. There are plans which cover a child from an early age. Family floater policies or what is known as a comprehensive health care plan provide multiple benefits in terms of your child’s health. Under such policies, you are likely to find value-added benefits like health risk assessments, apart from basic covers critical illnesses are also covered under such comprehensive policies.
“One should choose a policy that covers inoculations and regular check-ups. Most of the health insurance policies available in the market cover every stage of their growth, with the plan tailor-made for a particular stage. Your child’s health insurance plan should also cover critical illness plan as it avoids the financial risk by covering the high medical cost to treat critical illness of your child,” Thakkar told FE Online.
Subrata Mondal, Executive Vice President (Health Underwriting), IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company Limited, said that health insurance plans offered by general insurance companies come with a wide range of benefits and coverage. According to Mondal, while choosing a health insurance plan, some of the thumb rules you should follow are:
– Check the list of network hospitals that have tie-ups with the health insurance provider so that you can avail of cashless treatment.
– Check whether the hospital has experienced pediatricians & child specialists to ensure the best treatment in case of an emergency.
– Choose an adequate Sum Insured. If you have a family floater health insurance policy with a higher sum insured, then it can cover higher hospitalisation expenses