There are numerous health insurance plans and optional covers available in the market that are designed to target the women population with coverages for hospitalization expenses and critical illness cover. According to industry experts, ideally, women should opt for health insurance plans that are highly customizable and provide them with extensive women-specific coverage options.
Priya Deshmukh Gilbile, Chief Operating Officer, ManipalCigna Health Insurance says, “Like Breast Cancer Screening, Ovarian Cancer Screening, Osteoporosis Screening, Psychiatric and Psychological Consultations, Cervical Cancer Screening, etc. should be included, apart from providing for hospitalization expenses arising out of lifestyle diseases and/or critical illnesses.”
For instance, the Lifetime Health plan of ManipalCigna offers Women+ optional wellness package specially designed for the female of age 12 years and above, which once selected by the insured while buying the policy, provides access to the various screening programs and also covers the cost of Cervical Cancer vaccination. In addition to a comprehensive cover, one can go for yearly screening for diseases including breast cancer, cervical cancer and ovarian cancer.
What are the benefits of a maternity plan for pregnant women?
Maternity is not normally covered in standard health insurance policies. Hence, first, check if coverage is available and also the waiting period applicable if such cover is available.
Subramanyam Brahmajosyula, Head – Product Development, SBI General Insurance says, “If your policy covers maternity benefits, costs incurred during hospitalisation as a result of maternity will be covered up to the sum insured limit. In some instances, the cover is also available for any medical complications of the newborn child.”
The major benefits of having a maternity insurance cover are pre and post-hospitalization cover, delivery expenses, vaccination charges for the infant, ambulance charges, pre and post-natal expenses. Expenses such as nursing and room charges, surgeon fees, doctor consultation, and some consultations are also covered, as per policy terms and conditions.
Additionally, Deshmukh says, “an individual can also choose to opt for a separate maternity cover but the premium on these separate maternity covers can be a little high, as compared to other policies. Hence, it is advisable to top-up an existing insurance policy by adding a maternity rider with some additional premiums.”
Therefore, experts say, it is best to opt for a comprehensive insurance policy that provides sufficiently high limits in terms of the sum insured and also one without too many cappings for specific ailments or benefits. The golden rule is to start investing in health insurance at an early age and ensure that there is no break in insurance so that you can enjoy the long-term uninterrupted cover.
How to buy health insurance with maternity coverage?
The cost of healthcare and medical expenses associated with pregnancy has gone up excessively. Standard delivery or caesarean procedure can cost anywhere from Rs 60,000 to Rs 2 lakh. The rising medical costs have compelled couples, planning to expand their families, to search for appropriate financial aid. In such cases, it is advisable to opt for a maternity insurance cover.
The features and benefits of maternity insurance differ from one policy provider to another. Having said so, Deshmukh adds, “in general, the salient features of maternity cover pregnancy and delivery, including all medical expenses related to pregnancy. It covers the daily expenses, infant vaccination, ambulance charges, baby cover in case of disorders, and other emergencies. However, there are a few aspects, like medical costs, dental expenses, and IVF-specific expenses that aren’t included in some plans. Thus, you must also read and understand the policy terms thoroughly before buying a maternity policy to enjoy full benefits.”
Lastly, one should take a look at the most important aspect i.e. waiting period. Experts say this is one of the essential elements to consider while buying insurance for pregnant women. Usually, the waiting period, the time before which no claim and benefits can be redeemed, ranges from 2-6 years. However, in the case of a group insurance policy, the maternity cover waiting period is not more than 9 months, depending on whether the provider has opted to add maternity to the group plan or not. Hence, get clarity on such terms and conditions when it comes to maternity insurance.