With sky-rocketing medical costs – purchasing health insurance has become a basic necessity in today's lives. The cost of medical treatments – from minor ailments to critical illnesses – is steadily increasing across the country. The right health insurance plan can help in reducing the burden of health care for you and your family.
Without medical insurance, families have to pay for healthcare out of their pocket. It will not only burn a hole in one's pocket but could end up emptying out the entire life savings. The situation becomes more challenging, especially when the breadwinner of the family is hospitalised.
The best way to avoid these scenarios is to pay for medical insurance. With a nominal annual premium for your entire family, you can quickly reduce the financial stress during a medical emergency.
Lesser-known Features and Benefits of Health Insurance
Of late, there are numerous health insurance providers in the market and medical insurance plans have come a long way, since the mediclaim policies of yesteryears. Today, health insurance is more customer-friendly, offers high levels of customisation and multiple features and benefits.
However, the array of options available can, indeed be confusing. Worry not, here in this guide, we highlight the new-age features and benefits of health insurance plans, helping you make a smart choice.
According to IRDAI regulations, insurance providers must offer health insurance policies to individuals up to the age of 65 years. It’s a huge benefit for individuals who have not taken a health insurance policy in their younger years.
Besides the relaxed entry age, health insurers must also offer lifetime renewability. It means the policyholder can continue to renew the plan for lifelong, thereby enjoying medical coverage in the later stages of life, when it is much needed.
Comprehensive Cover for Medical Expenses
The top health insurance policies offer coverage for all medical expenses like doctor fees, specialist fees, costs of medical and diagnostic tests, ambulance charges, in-patient expenses, hospital room rents, cost of surgery and even post-hospitalisation recuperative costs. With the right health plan, you don't have to empty your savings to treat a medical emergency or illness.
A few years ago, policyholders had to pay for the medical treatment out of their pocket and then claim the amount from the insurer by furnishing the required bills and documents. However, today most health plans offer cashless treatment at network hospitals. The policyholder can avail treatments at specified hospitals, and the hospital settles the bill directly with the insurer.
Pre and Post-hospitalisation charges
Several insurance policies offer coverage for pre and post-hospitalisation charges up to 60 days, before and after the treatment.
No Claim Bonus (NCB)
For every claim-free year, the insurer offers a discount on the premium costs for the subsequent year.
Premiums paid for health insurance policies are tax-deductible under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. Besides premiums paid for self, individuals can also claim tax deductions on the premiums paid for health insurance policies for parents.
Also, known as recovery or recuperating benefits, health insurance policies take care of the recovery expenses of the insured. Besides the actual hospital bills, the insurer pays a pre-defined sum that takes care of the costs while the insured is recovering at home, post-hospitalisation. It helps in tackling the loss of income that occurs while the insured is hospitalised.
Cost of Alternative Treatment
In recent years, there has been an increase in popularity of alternative treatment procedures like Ayurveda, Siddha, Homeopathy, Yoga, Acupuncture and others. Specific health insurance policies offer coverage for the costs of alternative treatment expenses up to a certain point. However, note that most medical insurers provide this cover only when the treatment is undertaken at a government hospital or other medical institutes recognised by the National Accreditation Board on Health.
Organ Donor Expenses
Certain critical illnesses like kidney failure require organ transplant surgeries that cost anywhere from Rs. 3 lakhs to more. While most health insurance plans cover the cost of organ transplant surgeries, some plans even reimburse the cost incurred by the donor and other ancillary expenses like the cost of harvesting the organ, etc.
Few health insurance plans have expanded the coverage to include the cost of treatments taken at home. However, there is an upper limit on the number of days and the treatment costs.
Most insurance plans offer a daily allowance for attendants who are taking care of the insured. The allowance is provided for the number of days the insurer is in the hospital.
Daily Hospital Cash Allowance
Besides the in-hospital costs covered by the medical insurance policy, there are several other expenses like the cost of meals, cost of medicines, commute expenses for the attendants and family members, etc. Several insurers offer a daily cash benefit to the insured to take care of these miscellaneous expenses.
Free Periodic Health Check-up
Most medical insurance policies offer free health check-ups for the insured once every 4 to 5 claim-free years. Some health plans provide cashless whole body health check-ups at network hospitals while others reimburse the cost of the check-up.
Generally speaking, dental treatments are not included in most health insurance plans. However, of late, several insurance providers cover dental treatment within sub-limits in their policies.
Weight Loss Surgeries
Cosmetic treatments like plastic surgery, liposuction are not included in health plans. However, if patients require weight-loss surgeries due to a prevailing medical condition, he/she can claim the cost for it with a health insurance plan.
Additional Reading: Choosing a good health insurance policy
Understand the Features and Benefits and Make a Smart Decision
There's no denying the fact that – health insurance is a necessity in today's lifestyle. However, the actual benefits and coverage you receive from a plan depends on the type of plan you choose. So, make sure to understand the various features and benefits of health plans, and make a smart choice while purchasing medical insurance.