An insurance plan can help safeguard your savings in times of any unfortunate incidents such as critical illness, accidents or any other disasters. You do not have to shell out a huge amount of money from your hard-earned savings.
Every individual must have a health insurance that covers the insured and the family members against all types of critical illnesses and hospitalisation expenses. Worried about finding the right health insurance plan? Here are 7 tips that can help you buy the best health insurance plan.
#1. Buying health insurance early in your life has more benefits
Most people assume that buying health insurance is necessary only when the health is deteriorating, which is a wrong decision. Buying a health plan early has a lot more benefits: the premium will be lower, you can serve the waiting period when you are in good health, you can get tax benefits under section 80D of the Income Tax Act 1961, you have lower chances of rejection, etc.
The right time to get a health insurance plan would be just right after you have started your job. Generally, it is ideal to get a health plan when you turn 25 or before you complete your 30 years of age.
Many insurers exclude several pre-existing conditions for applicants who are in their late 40s. This can get you no proper benefits from the health plan. Hence, the health insurance serves its purpose when you apply while you are young.
Additional Reading: 11 Essential Benefits Health Insurance Plans Must Cover
#2. Know your needs
Your needs may not be equal to the needs of others. For example, a family having senior citizens and kids may require a different health plan than a family having no kids and senior citizens. If you are recently married, having a health policy with maternity benefits will help you cover the hospital expenses during childbirth.
There are health policies for salaried, self-employed individuals, family plans, group plans, etc. Each policy may have different terms and coverage. You need to analyse your requirements, pre-existing medical conditions, and number of people to be covered in a health policy.
#3. Compare the plans
A comprehensive health plan should cover all the benefits. Before opting for a health plan, compare it with multiple plans and choose the one that is right for in every way. Check if your insurer has higher claim settlement ratio and wide network of hospitals. Your health plan should provide pre and post hospitalisation expenses, organ donation expenses, ambulance cover, day care procedures, maternity benefits, critical illnesses cover, Ayurvedic treatment, free health check-up, vaccinations cover, cashless claim benefit, etc.
#4. Check the network of hospitals
A hospital is an institution which has been established to provide treatment for all types of illnesses and injuries. Hospitals are run by government and private individuals, companies, trusts, etc. The insurance companies have tie-ups with a network of hospitals from whom you can get cashless claim benefit. You do not need to pay for any hospitalisation expenses before or after the treatment. Moreover, the claim process is easier when the treatment is taken from the network of hospitals.
You can also choose to take treatment from non-network hospitals. As the insurance provider is not associated with these hospitals, you need to pay all the bills from your pocket. After paying the bills, you need to collect all the documents from the hospital and submit it to your insurer for making a claim. After all the documents are verified, the insurer will sanction the insurance amount.
Instead of going through such a lengthy procedure, it is smarter to find out the list of network hospitals of your health insurance provider. You can get treatment for any type of diseases without having to pay a penny out of your own pocket.
#5. Check the waiting period carefully
Waiting period in a health insurance policy is defined as the duration which the policy holder must pass to make any claims and get coverage. No claims are admitted during this period. There are different types of waiting period in a health insurance plan.
Initial waiting period: Most insurance policies have this initial waiting period which is usually up to 90 days. Any diseases contracted during this period will not be covered by the insurer except for the accident cases.
Waiting period for pre-existing diseases: Pre-existing diseases or condition such as diabetes, blood pressure, etc., will have a waiting period of up to 4 years. This implies that the policy holder cannot make any claims during those 4 years for treatment towards these conditions. Hence, it is advantageous to take a health insurance policy much ahead in life.
Maternity benefits waiting period: Maternity benefits are generally an add-on rider in a health insurance. It covers all the hospitalisation expenses for the expecting mother and the new-born. Most insurance policies have a waiting period, ranging between 2 to 4 years for claiming maternity benefits.
Some companies let you reduce the waiting period by paying a little extra on your premium.
#6. See what riders are offered
A rider in an insurance policy is an additional benefit that is included based on your requirement and at a lower cost. Following are the riders that are generally available on a health insurance plan.
Room rent waiver: Many policies come with a cap on room rent charges. By selecting this rider, you can select a room of your choice without paying extra.
Maternity cover: Expenses incurred during childbirth can be covered with this rider. However, there is a minimum waiting period of 2 years to claim this benefit.
Critical illness cover: Some insurers provide coverage against all critical illnesses in the main policy and some don’t. If you feel that you need additional cover against certain illnesses, you can opt for this rider and enjoy the benefits.
Hospital cash: In this rider, a fixed amount is given to the policy holder on a daily basis throughout the hospitalisation.
Personal accident rider: This rider can be added to the basic insurance plan that covers expenses related to hospitalisation, disability, injuries, etc., caused due to an accident.
#7. Check if there is restoration benefit
Restore feature in a health insurance plan restores the entire sum insured if it is exhausted in a given period of time. Check with the insurer if restoration benefit is included in the health insurance. Some insurers automatically activate the restoration benefit, and some activate it only after exhausting the entire sum assured.
Buying a health insurance is a great step indeed that can protect your savings when you are hospitalised due to some illness. Get your health insurance plan as early as possible so that you can get comprehensive benefits.