How to Choose the Best Health Insurance Plan in India?
Health Insurance is a coverage that is offered by the insurance company to individuals or groups to meet their uncertain medical expenses. It is a contract between individuals and the insurance provider that states that the insurance provider would compensate them for any medical expense that they incur in future against payment of a certain premium.
The compensation is worked out in two ways. Either you get the reimbursement from the insurer and you, in turn, pay it to the care provider or it can be cashless wherein insurer may directly settle the bill with the care provider.
There are a variety of health insurance plans such as critical illness, medical insurance or mediclaim policies, family floater plans, individual medical policies, group mediclaims or unit linked health plans. However, it is important for you to opt for the right plan that suffices your needs without burning a hole in your pocket.
Selecting the Best Health Insurance Plan- Following points may help you in choosing the best health insurance plan.
- Analyze Your Requirements – Prior to laying your hands on any of the health insurance policies, it is important for you to analyze your requirements. It is important for you to know that if you have a number of people in your family or you have spouse or children then a family floater plan may work well for you wherein your family gets included in less or same premiums and you are able to avail discounts as well. Or in case you are already registered in the group insurance provided by your employer then are you in need of more. Base on your age, analyze if medical insurance as of now would be sufficient for you or you need critical illness as well in your bouquet. Thus, it is important for you to first check out your requirements before opting for the health insurance plan.
- Compare Plans –There are number of insurance companies that offer different health insurance plans with varied premiums, features, offers and discounts. Once you have analyzed the kind of plan that would suffice your requirement, you just need to do some research. This is mandatory so that you are able to strike the best deal. Compare plans that are being offered by different insurance companies.
- Monitor Changes while re-enrolling – If you are the one who already has an existing policy and wishes to re-enroll than it is important for you to identify your changes in preference before going in for a policy as this may help you save the unexpected costs that might have to be incurred for the change.
- Switching of Plans – You may also consider switching your plan if you find some other policy giving you higher benefits without burning a hole in your pocket. Your preferences cannot remain the same throughout your life. Switching of plans can be considered if you are single and holding a policy and are getting married now or if planning a family is on your mind then you may wish to have maternity coverage as well. Switching of plans may help you deal with your ever changing requirements.
- Don’t get carried away by freebies – In the cut-throat scenario of survival of the fittest, companies are often seen competing with each other and in the event of placing themselves on top they often try to lure consumers by freebies, discounts and offers. It is always advisable that you make sure its health and safety that should be your priority. Don’t ever get lured by the freebies may make you either under-insured or over-insured or trap you in a plan that does not solve your purpose.
- Check the Tenure of Your Health Plan – It is important for you to keep into account the tenure of your policy. The plans offered to you by general insurers (in forms of mediclaim) call for renewal every year whereas those health covers offered by life insurers can be renewed after three years or even more than that depending upon the plan that you have opted and your preference of the company.
- Annual Limit of Policy – Going by the experts, annual limit of policy is yet another thing that needs to be considered. If you are the one who is putting in a small or mid-sized city then your aim of cover should at least be ranging from Rs 2 – 3.5 Lakhs whereas if you live in a metropolitan than your cover should not fall anywhere less than Rs 4 – 5.5 Lakhs.
- Network of Hospitals – You should also research and look for the network of hospitals that are being covered by your insurance provider when it comes to health insurance. It goes without saying that you should opt for plans that cover reputed hospitals and healthcare centers. An icing on cake can be if the hospital near to your home is also covered because that is the first place that you tend to rush in the hour of any emergency.
- Do not ignore Clause on Sub-Limit – With the rising healthcare costs, companies have now introduced sub-limits in mediclaim policies. Room rent, diagnostics and doctor’s fees are the most commonly introduced sub-limits. Sub-limits means that your insurer specifies a limit for an expense and anything above that needs to be borne by you. For example, if your insurer has designated a limit of 1-2 percent of the sum insured for room rent then it clearly indicates that you should not opt for a room that rents for more than Rs 1100 approx. If you do so then you need to shell out the difference from your pocket.
- Seek Clarity on Pre-Existing Disease Clause – When you opt for a plan primarily for a senior citizen then this clause should be clearly seen and understood. Check for ambiguities in the renewal clause and seek clarity on pre-existing disease clause.
- Tax Benefits – Health insurance polices come attached with tax benefits under Section 80D. Make sure that you opt for a plan that covers you against the unforeseen health related issues, gives you tax benefits and comes at a premium which is affordable to you.
Contributed By: Megha Sharma
Megha Sharma works as a guest lecturer in Delhi. She holds an MBA & Doctorate from the UPTU. With extensive knowledge and experience in various financial products, she also works as a consultant in banking & finance domains wherein she offers advice to her clients in managing personal finance.
- K N DAS:Please suggest best mediclaim policy for my family31-Jul-2016 04:16 AMReply