What Type of Health Insurance Do I Need?

Out of a population of 130 crore, only 4.2 crore Indians, are covered by retail health insurance plans. What this means is that, India’s out-of-pocket medical expense stands at 65 per cent to the global average of 18 per cent. Add to it the fact that the inflation rate of healthcare has gone from 4.39 per cent (2017 – 2018) to 7.14 per cent (2018 – 2019), and will continue to increase.

According to a National Sample Survey (NSS) on health conducted in 2019, a total of 82 per cent of the urban population and 85.9 per cent of rural population isn’t covered by an insurance plan. While there are multiple government-run health care schemes, only 13.5 per cent of rural and 12.2 per cent of urban population currently benefit from it.

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe, we’re reminded of the importance of proper healthcare and medical facilities. Unless you have a proper health insurance plan, separate from a government or corporate-coverage scheme, you’re not covered. Here’s taking a look at different types of health insurance plans available, so you can find the one that suits you best.

What is Health Insurance?

Health insurance is a type of insurance that pays for medical or surgical expenses. Similar to other insurance packages, there are lots of different types of health insurance plans that provide you with different levels of coverage depending on your circumstances and what you pay. But typically, health insurance can help you get diagnosed faster and treated quicker. This gives you more choice on when and where you receive treatment.

Choosing the Best Health Insurance Plan

Finding the best health insurance plan depends on what you’re likely to use it for. It’s important to note that most insurers have a waiting-period for existing conditions. Therefore, if your family has a history of certain illnesses it’s wise to opt for health insurance early. Apart from considering the premium and sum assured, you need to become aware of certain terms like co-payment, cashless hospitalization, and day-care treatment. Here are some things to consider before reaching out to insurance providers.

1. What Do You Need A Cover For?

Consider whether there are any specific types of cover you may need in the future. For example, if your family has a history of cancer, you might want to choose a package with an added cancer cover. Or you might want your insurance to include maternity, accidental, and term-end cover. Since these covers aren’t always included in basic packages, you’ll have to specify your requirements to your provider.

2. Who Do You Need to Cover?

Decide who needs cover under your policy. You can easily opt for family health insurance plans that cover you, your spouse, your kids, and dependent parents. Sharing a policy is cost-effective and easier to manage. You have one policy, a single provider, and a single point of contact for your entire family. While opting for group health insurance saves money, it doesn’t provide as much coverage as separate health insurance plans would. It’s better to opt for a group health insurance for yourself and your kids, and a separate policy for your parents.

3. How Much Will it Cost?

There are lots of factors that can influence the cost of your health insurance plan. These include your age, your habits, your location, and the type of cover you need. The two main costs associated with a policy are premium and excess. The former is the amount you pay each month or yearly to keep the policy functioning. The latter, is the amount you pay towards a bill when you make a claim.

Generally, the higher the excess, the cheaper your premiums, and your premium will often come down when you don’t make a claim. However, it’s better to opt for a policy that covers all medical expenses and has no co-payment clause. Do note that some medical expenses like cosmetic surgery, dental implants, and injuries from dangerous sports aren’t covered by most providers.

3. What More Should I Know?

With so many health insurance plans available in the market, it can be very difficult to choose the right one. The best way to go about buying a health insurance in India is to list down all your requirements. You should list them by priority of what you absolutely require to options that you can let go of. For instance, you may not have a problem paying for ambulance but may not want to pay extra if the hospital ends up upgrading your room for some reason.

Moreover, you should stop delaying buying a health insurance plan. The primary reason for this is that when you are younger you pay less premium. Additionally, most healthcare providers only offer co-payment schemes for senior citizens. So if you want to buy a full-coverage health insurance plan for your family, the best time to buy it is now!

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