With the cost of medical care skyrocketing, dealing with the expenses of a major illness or surgery can come as a shock and leave a deep hole in your wallet. Buying health insurance is a good way of planning for unexpected medical expenditure which can run into many lakhs of rupees depending on which city you live in and the kind of medical care you need.

Simply put, by paying a small amount to the insurance company periodically over a number of years, you are assured of at least a part of your medical expenses being covered. How much the insurance company pays out towards your expenses depends on the type of policy you have.

Should I get health insurance?

In one word, yes. As you grow older and the probability of your falling ill becomes greater, the cost of buying a health insurance policy will increase and you will find it increasingly expensive to get a policy at the time you need it the most. In addition, the health insurance cover from your employer will cease when you retire. Finally, with the cost of medical care constantly escalating, you will find it prohibitively expensive a few years from now to fund treatment for any major illness from out of your own pocket.

Many people (especially younger people) tend to avoid buying health insurance because it is seen as a waste of money for all the years that one is healthy and in no need of insurance coverage.  However, remember that it is cheapest to buy health insurance when you are young and relatively healthy. And if you are married or have children, it makes sense to buy a policy that covers the entire family. Though it is good to hope so, there is no guarantee that you will not have a medical issue requiring hospitalization all through your

How do I choose the right health insurance?

There are a wide variety of options to choose from in the market today. You need to think about how much coverage you need for yourself or your family. In matters of health, it is better to be cautious and plan for at least one major illness per year per family member and calculate how much coverage you need. You need to also keep in mind the cost of the premiums, the terms and conditions of the policy, the sum assured, the discounts offered, the record on claims settlements and the reputation of the insurer.

Insurance is an important aspect of your financial and mental well-being. While the number of policies available in the market might seem confusing, take the time to find out what option suits your needs the best so that you avoid any nasty financial surprises in the future.