The key reason behind choosing a health insurance policy is rising lifestyle diseases besides expensive treatments. There can be unexpected accidental injuries or other medical contingencies in our day-to-day life which might prove physically and financially constraining. Although physical contains may need significant time to heal, financial constraints dip our financial goals forever. This can be attributed to the ever-rising medical treatment costs and expensive medicines. Thus, health insurance plans become inevitable if you seek to mitigate financial constrain due to a medical emergency. They not only cover medical expenses or hospitalization costs but also provide medical assistance that can protect your savings.
Fortunately, there are various types of health insurance policies to choose from in India which has different types of benefits attached to them. Though, you must be careful while choosing one and consider several factors before buying a policy to ensure it offers adequate coverage to your family. Most family plans cover the medical expenses of the spouse, children and dependent parents but a few go beyond and insure your siblings, parent-in-law and other family members. Choosing the best health insurance plan for you and your family can be time-intensive, but you got to invest the right amount of time into it. If you are too considering buying a health insurance policy, read below tips and tactics to choose the best one.
How to choose the best Health Insurance Policy in India
Check terms and conditions thoroughly
If you are planning to go for value for money, never fall into the trap of brokers or marketers who portray a rosy picture to simply sell healthcare policy plans. Rather, do a little research if you do not want to be cheated at all. Avoid long-term contracts but go for a trial period, if possible. Never offer upfront payment even though you like the plan very much. This way, you will never lose your money on the wrong plans. Moreover, many reputed health insurance providers nowadays offer flexible plans which can be cancelled by the insurer without losing any money.
Go for OPD benefits in a health insurance policy plan
Most consumers ignore this part and assume that healthcare policies will cover every expense during their time of need. However, most of the healthcare policy available in the market does not cover OPD expenses that can affect your financial planning to a great extent. OPD covers around 65% of your total medical bill which includes doctor visits, lab tests and medicines. Choose a company that offers OPD benefits and go through to find if any limit is set by them.
Choosing the sum insured
To ensure that your healthcare policy covers every necessary expense, you must choose a minimum sum insured which can cover your family members’ medical treatment costs. Since medical costs have increased remarkably over the past few decades due to inflation, you must choose a little more than expected costs. But choosing a high sum insured can result in high premium cost which again proves to be an issue. You can choose a top-up plan to enhance the coverage without increasing the considerable premium amount. A top-up plan usually acts like a supplement health plan and is attached to those policies which have deductible limits.
Consider a comprehensive coverage plan
Once you are determined about the sum insured amount, the next step would be choosing a plan which can cover necessary benefits that will be suitable for your requirements. For instance, newly wedded couples can choose maternity benefit coverage and when the child is born, all the medical expenses will be taken care of by the insurance company. You must also look for limits and sub-limits applicable in an insurance policy. A plan with no sub-limit on room rent or other expenses is comparatively better.
Choose coverage for riders
If you drive yourself, you must choose the rider’s coverage option as well. The benefits, however, can be availed by paying a little extra premium but are usually optional and can be renewed in your policy each year. In fact, riders’ additional coverage usually has a very less premium amount and can enhance your ride-related insurance. Some of the plans covered include critical illness of rider, personal accident coverage, OPD charges and newborn baby cover.
Check the hospital network of the insurance company
Many health insurance service providers offer cashless treatments in hospitals where you do to have to pay a single penny against hospital bills. Instead, the insurance company pays the bill on your behalf due to cashless schemes. But the benefit is offered only if you are admitted to the hospital which is included in the insurance company’s hospital network list. Many hospitals tie a network with reputed health insurance companies to provide customers with a seamless and cashless financial and medical service. Therefore, check whether any convenient hospital is there in the insurance providers’ network list or not. Choose the company which has a long network list or the ones which are tied with medical facilities near your residence.
Look for the pre-existing waiting period
This type of healthcare policy is for those whose family member is suffering from a critical illness that is already present and may take some time to heal. Look for a waiting period before insurance cover can be provided to the insured as it may range from 12 to 48 months. If the waiting period is low, you will be able to cover your family members’ treatment costs at the earliest. But if all your members are healthy, choose for a longer waiting period as it will cost less premium amount.
Compare the premiums and look for exclusions
In India, you will find hundreds of companies that offer health insurance plans with multiple benefits. Every company follows their own pricing policy or health benefit plans. It is not enough to compare the premium costs of different health insurance companies, but you must also consider their coverage areas as well. This means you need to compare the coverage benefits and then decide upon which one offers the comprehensive scope at affordable costs. Also, check for any exclusions listed in the policy when buying a health insurance plan.
Discounts and value added-benefits
Being a competitive market, health insurance service providers offer several discounts and promotional benefits that can reduce your premium expense significantly. Choose a plan which offers the best discount to save money. But, beware of any loopholes in the policy plan such as limitations on benefits, post-purchase deductions or any other which may throw you off guard. Agents might not disclose all information while selling the policy plan to you, nor would they care about minor details. But it is very important to know about your plan which may contribute to your treatment during an emergency.