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When is the Right Time to Buy a Health Insurance Plan?

dateKnowledge Centre Team dateMay 04, 2021 views111 Views
When is the Right Time to Buy a Health Insurance Plan?

You must have heard of this adage, “the best time to do it was yesterday, the second-best time is now”. The same applies to health insurance plans as well.

Changing lifestyle and environment means we need more medical attention, and growing medical expertise means the treatments are available. However, the treatment costs are also growing. In any case, the COVID-19 pandemic must have given you a glimpse of how important life and health cover is for your family.

Hence, it is important to invest in the best health insurance plans, and the earlier the better.

When is the Right Time to Buy a Health Plan?

The right time to buy a health insurance plan is – Now. The best health plan will act as a financial shield against unplanned health related expenses. It is needless to say that the current pandemic has been a wakeup call for all of us. We never thought that we will be gripped by such an outbreak for a long period. A lot of health insurance plans offer coverage for COVID treatment. Not only that - policies cover a range of terminal or critical illnesses. So, instead of worrying about the hefty medical expenses, you should buy a health plan as soon as possible. But is that all?

5 Benefits of Buying a Health Insurance Plan

A lot of people realise the importance of a health plan only when they have to pay down the medical expenses upfront. Here are 5 major benefits of buying a health insurance plan:

1. Cut Down the Cost of Emergency Healthcare

By investing in the best health insurance plan, you can have financial cover to pay for surgeries, medicines, hospitalisation expenses, ambulance fees, and doctor's consultation fees. The availability of funds in the time of need helps you focus on recovery instead of feeling anxious about the expenses.

2. Critical Illness Cover

Critical illness cover is a defined benefit health plan. This pure protection insurance plan has been designed to provide financial support to you and your family in your fight against a life-threatening illness. For example, cancer, heart failure, renal failure, and other rapidly progressing and unpredictable illnesses.

Your normal Mediclaim insurance may not be enough to cover the treatment costs of these illnesses. As many times they do not even need hospitalization. However, the treatment and medicine costs could be really high.

Also, if your ability to earn the same amount of money is affected, your entire household could risk losing financial status.

Thus, a critical illness cover disburses a large sum of money regardless of your actual expenses upon the diagnosis of any such illness. The best critical illness plans also provide a part of this benefit as a regular income for the family, which helps in running the household smoothly.

3. Cashless Claims

The health insurance companies collaborate with hospitals to provide quick emergency hospitalization to the consumers. These hospitals are called network hospitals. You are eligible for cashless claims in case you or any of the covered family members are admitted to any of the networked hospitals.

The insurance company will directly pay the hospital for the treatment that you have availed of. Cashless hospitalisation is especially useful in case of emergencies.

You must check what all expenses are not included under the cashless claim section by the health insurance company, before buying a policy. It is important, as you need to pay for the services that are not covered by the health insurance policy.

4. All Round Coverage

A family floater health insurance plan can cover your entire family including your newborn. You can try covering your parents under a separate policy, especially if they are senior citizens. While this does not mean much difference in costs, it means a lot of difference in benefits.

Senior citizen medical needs are different and senior citizen health cover is more suited to meet them.

5. Tax Savings

By investing in the best health insurance plan, you become eligible for a tax rebate under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. You can avail deduction in tax up to Rs. 25,000 every year by owning health insurance that covers you, your spouse, and your children. You can claim a tax deduction of Rs. 50,000 by owning health insurance for your parents aged above 60 years.

Learn how a health insurance plan protects you from health and financial risks.

How to Buy the Best Health Insurance Plan?

You can research most of the things online, discuss with customer care of the insurer for clarity or talk to an advisor. To make the process short and precise, consider the below-given points to choose the best health insurance plan.

1. Check the Sum Insured

The golden rule of thumb says that insurance should cover at least your 10 to 15 months’ salary. For example, if your income is Rs. 1 lakh a month then the ideal health cover would be Rs. 10 lakhs.

2. Waiting Period & No Claim Bonus

Every health insurance plan will have a waiting period for pre-existing illnesses. This period ranges from 24-48 months, and if you have a pre-existing condition that may lead to hospitalisation later, this will be an important factor for you.

Another factor to look at is the no-claim bonus and how is it applicable. Usually, policies keep increasing your sum insured until it doubles up.

3. Check Coverage Limits for Different Expenses

Check the policy documents to know how much amount will be paid in case of hospitalisation for surgery/treatment. For instance, if your policy pays Rs. 1500 room rent per day and you are admitted to a hospital that has Rs. 3000 room rent per day. Then, you must bear the remaining cost i.e., Rs.1500.

Also, check for the pre and post hospitalisation charges, as some insurance companies offer 30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalisation charges.

4. Check for Add-On Benefits

Some health insurance plans offer wide coverage. But some insurance companies provide add-on covers and they are called riders. Check if the policy offers you maximum cover or do you need to buy add-ons.

In case of buying add-ons, check the additional amount that you need to pay, as it will increase the total value of your premium. Apart from rider options, also check if you are eligible for No-Claim Bonus.

5. Day Care Expenses

While the rules of inclusion and exclusions of major policies are almost the same, you should have a look at the day-care expenses. Progress in medical science has made treatments for many diseases just a few hours businesses which otherwise needed few days of hospitalisation. Thus, such treatments do not fall under the normal Mediclaim cover.

However, the best health insurers allow you to claim a refund of your expenses for such treatments.

Should You Worry About the Hospital Network?

This is a simple equation. You want maximum hospitals in your area and across the country on this list. However, it does not mean you should reject policies just because they have a lower number of hospitals on the list. Look at the features and benefits and if the plan is good, get it for your family.

Learn more about Health First Plan by Canara HSBC Life Insurance.

The hospital network is a continuously growing feature, the longer the insurer spends in the market, the larger the network grows. Also, even when a hospital is not in the insurer’s network, it could be connected to a TPA connected to the insurer.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Life Insurance

Buying health insurance online is cheaper and more convenient than getting a policy through an agent. Insurance companies work on the premise that people who have access to the internet and are willing to buy policies online are more likely to be better-off and healthy. Moreover, online plans save a lot of money for the companies as the administrative costs such as documentation and office space get eliminated. The insurance companies pass on the savings to the customer and offer lower premiums on online health insurance plans. With online plans, you do not have to visit the bank of the insurer’s branch and can buy the policy sitting in the comfort of your home.

Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance provides a comprehensive health insurance plan named Health First. It is a fixed benefit plan that provides a lump-sum amount on the occurrence of heart or cancer-related conditions, besides 26 other major critical illnesses. It is a flexible plan that gives you the freedom to choose the cover you need along with various options to customize the plan according to your requirements.

Diseases can strike without any warnings. Having a health plan protects you from unforeseen financial hardships and helps you lead a stress-free life. A health plan also ensures that you receive quality treatment in case you are diagnosed with a serious illness. A health plan creates a buffer around your savings, which remains unscathed even in cases of substantial treatment costs.

There are no uniform rules to select an insurance policy as the needs and medical history of people vary. However, Health First plan from Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance offers comprehensive coverage, which could be adequate to take care of all your health insurance needs.

The health insurance premium depends on a variety of factors such as age, geographical location, lifestyle habits and occupation. The best way to calculate health insurance premiums is to use a good online premium calculator which is easily available.

With the change in lifestyles, the incidence of diseases has increased drastically. Health insurance is necessary to cover against lifestyle diseases, which are on the rise due to poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and pollution.

A health insurance policy ensures that you and your loved ones do not have to think about the finances while opting for treatment. In the event of hospitalisation, a knowledge of the claim process saves the policyholder from undue hassles. A hospitalisation can generate reams of bills and documents. The claim process of fixed-benefit health insurance is very simple as the payout does not depend on the cost of treatment. In case a critical illness is diagnosed you just have to intimate the insurance company. The insured just has to fill a claims form and attach the doctor’s report on the illness. One doesn’t need detailed bills and prescriptions to claim the sum assured. The entire process is very simple and hassle-free.

Health insurance premiums can help you in reducing tax outgo, as it is eligible for tax deduction under Section 80D of the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961. If you choose a health insurance plan for parents aged 60 years and above, you can claim Rs. 50,000 as a tax deduction. Senior citizens up to 60 years can also claim up to Rs 25,000 as a deduction for the health insurance premiums paid for themselves, or for their spouse or children. This deduction will be available with respect to payments towards annual premium on a health insurance policy, or preventive health check-up of a senior citizen. It is also available for any other medical expenses related to senior citizens. In such a case, if you are paying the health insurance premiums for your senior citizen parents, the total deduction you can avail is Rs. 75,000 per year.

There are no fixed guidelines for choosing adequate health insurance cover, but the cover should depend on factors such as income, family history of diseases and geographical location. Considering the high cost of medical care in metro cities, one should have a minimum cover of Rs 10 lakhs. The cost of hospitalisation and associated costs are higher in large cities. Smaller cities have lower cost of living and a cover of Rs 4-5 lakhs would suffice.

Health insurance plans do not cover all the diseases and certain conditions are excluded from the cover. Some of the common exclusions are:

  • 1.Pre-existing medical conditions
  • 2.Alternative therapies
  • 3.Cosmetic treatments
  • 4.Pregnancy and child birth
  • 5.Diagnostic expenses
  • 6.Dental
  • 7.Injuries caused due to a suicide attempt
  • 8.Waiting period clause
  • 9.Permanent exclusions: Injuries due to war, HIV, intentional injuries, congenital diseases, and others are permanent exclusions

Diseases can strike without any warnings. Having a health plan protects you from unforeseen financial hardships and helps you lead a stress-free life. A health plan also ensures that you receive quality treatment in case you are diagnosed with a serious illness. A health plan creates a buffer around your savings, which remains unscathed even in cases of substantial treatment costs.

Employer waiting period: Waiting period is the length of time that an employer will make a new hire wait before the employee is eligible for coverage access under the company's health

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