It is never late to buy a health insurance plan but the earlier you buy the better deal you get. Health costs are rising are every year which indirectly affect the premium of your health insurance plan also. As time passes the risk associated with health also increase so buying your health plan lately may lead to losing a lot of benefits which otherwise one would have enjoyed if the plan is bought at an younger age.
If you have taken a resolution for planning for your health concerns in 2018 than Buy health insurance plans should be the first things that one should look at doing. We have mentioned below a list of factors one considered while planning for health insurance this year
Identifying the right plan: We should be very clear about the type of plan that suits one’s requirement. Typically all insurers provide three different types of plans – Individual health insurance plan , Family and Old age. Family health insurance plans are quite cheaper in terms of having separate individual plans for each family member. The plans acts like a floater which gives the family the flexibility to use the available sum assured for the benefit of one specific member. Similarly in case of Old age plans, as people at an old age have different health complications so that their policy should be always different.
So before try understanding which insurer’s policy you would take - first try to figure out the type of plans that fits your requirement.
Buying for the right sum assured: Paying more premium doesn’t insure that you always get the highest amount of sum assured. Depending on the insurer there are a lot of inclusions and exclusions in specific plans. There are plans to suit specific health requirement. Before even deciding upon the sum assured which fits in your requirements one should also consider the current health situation
Understanding the inclusions and limitations of a specific plan: Plans from different insurers come with their own set of inclusions, exclusions and limitations. There may be upper limits in terms of how much of medical expenses would get covered under a plan or limitations like copay which puts accountability on the part of the policyholders to pay a fix amount whenever a claims is raised.
While selecting a plan one should take a deep dive to understand all the limitations and inclusions so that you achieve your targets very well.
The above factors should act as a basic foundation based upon which one should start to plan for their health concerns in 2018.It is also advisable use online health insurance Premium Calculator comparison tools to understand plans from various insurers based upon the above mentioned foundations and also get incentivized by lower premium from insurers from doing the same.
If you finding your existing health insurance plan is quite overpriced or find it quite not suitable to your current requirement and still don’t want to get want to away with the benefits which you enjoy with the existing plan, portability seems to be the most feasible solution for it. Though IRDA came with a regulatory change regarding it back in 2012 but still a lot of policyholders don’t have clear understanding how to look into portability and how one make best use of this regulatory benefits to plan for better health insurance.
Going by the regulatory definition, IRDA came with this change to protect the interest of the policyholders. In days of Pre-regulatory changes if a policyholders want to get away of the old policy he/she needs to sacrifice the benefits associated like waiting period for certain health conditions lying in the old plan .There was also no obligation on the part of the new insurer to offer the same sum assured as the old policy. Which means if you had waiting period of 2 years for certain critical illnesses in your old policy and you had already served one year of it . In a pre-regulatory scenario if want you move to a new Health insurance plan which has a similar or more waiting period terms then what you have served in the old plan was not taken into consideration. So typically you investment made in the old plan becomes a dead.
With the coming of the portability regulation, IRDA’s focus was to protect the insured against all these as discussed above. Going by the definition of portability, health insurance portability is considered under the following conditions.
With medical costs rising every year and your health and financial conditions transform every five year, health insurance plan portability can be used as an effective tool to strategically plan one’s personal finance in a timely manner.
Things to remember while porting your health insurance plan:
But one thing to remember , though your new insurer or the new policy contract has to mandatorily comply with giving your at least the same amount of cover which you enjoyed with the old plan but there is no rule regarding complying to the earlier premium. Every insurer looks risks and evaluates the same in a different way so there can be a premium price differential. Another thing that one should keep into mind that insurance generally accepts portability request for young policyholders compared to old.
Now to wrap up all this if you are seriously looking at revamping your health insurance portfolio in 2018, start with comparing of other health insurance plans online way in advance and do notify your insurer way to in advance as per the minimum allotted time by the regulation.
People always want to stay in an utopia and believe that nothing can happen to them .This has always been one of reasons given by most Indians for skipping any kind of Insurance.But this is not the hardcore reality in today’s world . The inflation rate for certain important human needs like health are increasing at a much faster pace compared to the rise in household income. A lot of savings that we do today go towards building wealth for superannuation years or for the stage of life when somebody’s capacity to earn diminishes or completely stops. In fact in today's world about 80% of income that one earns go towards managing the day to day requirements of the life but when it comes to savings for emergency like one related to health people generally are not able to identify the bad effects the same can have on one’s financial health.
Health insurance is becoming the need of the hour quite similar to how bread ,shelter and food is important is one’s life. Unlike the earlier generations, the lifestyle that we follow today is not so healthy or neither things are so disciplined as it used to be. Plus the cities we live are not more that healthy . Pollution and global warming are no more theoretical phenomenon, you feel them and survive with them in day to day life.This is leading a lot of new diseases getting identified and staying healthy is becoming a challenge today. So what needs to be done is to plan your finances well in advance so that health emergencies can be handled very easily.
Health insurance is probably the cheapest way through which one can create a financial security net of handling health related emergency situations. One should look one’s current health status , check for family background to understand if there is family lineage for certain kind of diseases, even look at their profession as there are certain which can lead to health hazards and similar other factors need to taken into consideration while buying a health insurance plan online to oneself , family or dependent parents. It is always advised to have a separate insurance plan for parents and a different one for the rest of the members of the family .In case there some specific requirement that one has looking the health status, one can always look for buying specific disease related health insurance to handle the issues in a better way.So a proper planning is always need while planning for health. Though evaluating actual health insurance requirement can be bit tough for a laymen but working out on approximation can be the best way to plan to things in the right way.
You can always use Health Insurance Premium Calculator Online tools to evaluate the which specific plan can be more for a particular person. Compare health insurance plans can give one a fair idea of which one to look for and can help one save a lot of more . In today’s health insurance companies have certain specific plans very specific to the online customers. A proper planning using the right tools can help you solve a lot of problems and help one to invest their money in the right track to facilitate financial security for them.
A lot more needs to be planned looking at the current state of health care inflation prevailing in the country today. Health is an extreme challenge today and you may not even predict which new disease might catch you. People living in cities like Delhi , Bengaluru etc are prone another kind of health hazard which is quite new to this generation i.e, pollution . The lifestyle we follow today has lead to people getting affected by chronic diseases at an early age.So things need to planned well in advance so that any health emergency don’t put you in a financial trap.
People opting for health insurance plans are more guided by the tax benefits associated with them but looking at the larger scheme of things benefits associated with tax exemption is very nominal looking the long term savings it brings in handling health related emergencies. So don’t take a health insurance plan just to save tax and consider tax exemption as just an additional benefit and not the core benefit.
Another important thing that entice people from not buying their individual health plans is employer group plans. People feel that when the benefits are available at zero cost so why should one spend money in buying a separate individual health insurance policy.First we should keep in mind in this case is that cover under a group medical plan provided by your employer offers a very low sum assured which it not even enough to handle basic health emergencies.Second thing which one need to keep in mind that once you leave the employer , the benefits of the plan also comes to an end as it is no more your old employer’s liability to pay for it.So there are higher chances of you staying uninsured when you actually need it.
Let’s looking at the four most important factors which one should consider while buying a health insurance plan.
1)Amount of Sum assured: When we are talking of health insurance we are talking about an insurance plan which can help you pay for your medical costs in case of health emergency without shedding any money or a small amount of money from your own pocket.Like your insurer you should also have clear idea of you existing state of health, family health history etc so should also know what might be the cost that you might need to incur in case of a health hazard arising from any of these pre-existing condition or family health history.The sum assured value of your health insurance plan should be line with it and you should consider an extra sum assured over and the above basc cover so that it can also take care of the health care inflation.
2)Family or Individual consider before buying : One should keep in mind that individual health insurance plans are meant for individuals only but if you are family man you should consider buying family insurance plans always.Buying separate individual plans for each member of the family is not a not financially viable alternative. The best part of a family plan is that they are floater in nature. A floater plan offers priviledge to all members under the plan that they can use total sum assured at any given point of time and this feature gives better flexibility.
3)Maximum age for renewal : This is technically the most important criteria which one should consider while buying a health insurance plan.One should be cautious enough with this factor while making a plan specific decision.if your plan’s maximum renewal age is very less then can’t even take the benefits of the health insurance plan. At an older age the chances of one getting affected by a health emergency always is always very high and so the need for use of your health insurance but if the maximum renewal age is less then you can’t even reap the benefits of buying a policy.
4)Understand exclusions and inclusions under your plan : It is always advised to read to through the fine print of the policy. Exclusions and inclusions are generally the most important guiding factor which can help one take the right health insurance decisions.What is excluded or included can give a fair idea of which diseases and cost are covered and upto what extent.You should always remember that exclusion limit for particular cost can possibly affect how other costs are covered under your plan. A clear idea of exclusions and inclusions can save you fall not in the trap of your claim getting rejected.
We all understand the benefits of having a health insurance plan with the right amount of cover. Plans offered today by insurers come with various kind of value added services which we need to understand before we opt for it. We should remember than nothing comes free so we should always make a conscious decision.
Let’s try understand the various value added services which are in offer today and evaluate the merits and demerits around it.
A Wellness program is more off like a reward program for the policyholders and they get incentivized with additional benefits for maintaining good and healthy habits. The whole idea behind a program like this is that it a saves a lot of future costs for the insurer. The underlying idea of cost savings comes from the fact that people staying healthy would raise lesser claims. Some of the common examples of Wellness program is insurers offering loyalty points for quitting cigarettes. Like some insurers provides a set off of loyalty points for following certain healthy practices like going to gym, doing yoga on a regular basis etc.
Under most these wellness programs which are part of a base policy , the policyholder can avail an option to cash out the loyalty points and use the same as reimbursement against medical expenses which are not covered under the base policy.
If you go by the structure of health insurance plans and compare health insurance plans offering ayush benefits and those which are not , plans without benefits are preferably more comprehensive whereas the plans offering ayush benefits are more cheaper. Ayush benefits are more related to covering medical costs if the treatment availed by the policyholder through a ayurvedic , unani or any other forms of alternative medicine and which are not covered by any base policy.
We should remember in case of Ayush Health insurance cover benefit , one need to go through a 24 hour hospitalization under any medical facility offering ayush services and the services should be recognized by a government hospital and should be accredited by Quality Council of India or National Accreditation Board on Health. We should also keep in mind that outpatient services under Ayush medication methodology are not covered under ayush benefits.
As the name suggests, it is related to cost involved in taking a second opinion from a different medical expert. In terms of ailment management this can act a real boon. People who have a hereditary history or a predisposition to certain illness the option can be quite helpful. Plans offering this particular value added service offer it as an embedded service and generally charge no extra cost.
Most of the existing plans become ineffective outside India and that is why travel insurance plans are recommended. But there are lot of health insurance plans which have started offering this benefit as an additional value. We all know that medical cost outside India is always costly and if in case of an emergency situation the policyholder is forced to depot to the home country in a state of medical emergency, this particular value added service can be quite helpful.
But one thing that we need to keep in mind the claims under this special benefit are only settled if and only if the base policy also addresses the claim.
This is a common value add service which provided by most insurers. In case of claim years we all know that the sum assured get reduced by the amount of the claim but for the policy to run efficiently the sum assured need to maintained. This particular value added service comes with an extra cost and while opting for the same one should effective compare with the benefits of a top up plan. It is better to do a cost benefit analysis.
You may get enticed by offers made your existing health insurer that you can make your parents a part of the existing family floater plan at a discounted price or you can always buy family floater plan with your parents being included into it so that you don’t have to buy a separate plan. Though this offer might look very attractive but don’t make a mistake by doing that.
We all understand that health is actual wealth and a buying the right health insurance policy is the first step towards protecting it. Things have to be planned in a proper manner to get right benefits underlying a policy and it is helpful when you actually need it. Hasty decision while buying a health plan can be sometime be very dangerous.
One of the foremost reason why including your parents in your family plan is a big mistake is because health needs are different at different stages of life and your health insurance company calculates the premium based upon the risk associated with insuring a family and the age of the eldest member defines everything. So in case if you have including your elderly parents as a part of the family floater plan the cost of insuring the family drastically increases and if there is a pre-existing health conditions with your parents, it puts an extra load on the premium even though of the members of your family are healthy.
Another important factor is the effect the same will have on NCB benefits of your policy. In any case if you have claim free years you can accumulate the benefits as NCB or non claim bonus and which you can utilize at the time of policy renewal by availing the same as discount. But once you get your parents includes the NCB value depletes because at an older age there are higher chances of raising a claim. You should always prefer to have separate policy for your parents because that ensures NCB protection on your family plan under which you, your spouse and your kids are included.
Third most important factor that need to be considered is that since in any floater plan the total cover can be used for the benefit of any member of the family, your parents making regular claims because of their health condition can eat up the total sum assured during any Health insurance policy term and the same becomes ineffective for the rest of the members.
Since your parents always need an extra support for their health care and they might be making a constant claim, you should always have a separate policy for them. Though a separate plan and extra sum assured might look like an extra cost it always helps because it gives an extra protection to them. Other than you can always claim for extra tax benefits under it under Section 80D and you can increase your tax benefit limit from Rs.25000 to Rs.50000 which is a huge jump.