Health Insurance and You

When you were born, it is a distant possibility that your parents immediately informed the company’s insurance provider to include your name in their policy. But there is a good possibility that you will do so for your child. Health insurance in India was a nonexistent industry till about 20 years ago but health insurance today has become a necessity and will be more so tomorrow.

Even if you weren’t insured since your childhood, you found that your parents did not have any problem paying for your family’s medical expenses. Health services at that time were highly subsidized by the government, but today health services are entirely in the private domain which makes them highly expensive. Today, health services are beyond the means of most of us. So what we all need is adequate health cover that will buffer us against exorbitant medical expenses.

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This article will look into, health needs at various stages of life and health insurance plans for all of these:

Infancy, Childhood: Everyone assumes that kids are the healthiest and hence do not require any health insurance. But it is also true that kids are very sensitive and thus require more extensive treatment if they fall sick. Malaria, jaundice, viral flu, dysentery are all the diseases that are commonly found in children and simple hospitalization for these could also be expensive.

You can’t buy a policy for a child when he is very young, though there are companies that have entry age of 5. But you can add your child since the day is born or after 90 days of his birth in your policy if you are covered under Group health Insurance by your company. Another option is covering them in a Family floater, some companies accept children more than 3 months of age and others accept only after 5 years.

When you cover your kids at an earlier age, they will not have to worry at a later stage about the pre-existing diseases and the waiting period, even the ‘no-claim discounts’ will be available which will reduce the overall premium rate.

College: When you are just 18 the last thing that you will worry is about your health. It is also the age when you are your reckless best, driving fast, eating junk food and throwing caution to the winds. You will be keener on enjoying your time than filling out insurance forms. But all said and done health problems do come at all ages.

If you are living in a different city from your home, then buying a health insurance policy is a good idea because you will be out of cash when a medical emergency occurs, at such times cashless service will be the most helpful.

Single and Working: You have just started working and are getting the feel of freedom and financial independence that working brings. This is also the perfect age to get an individual health insurance besides the Group insurance that your company may provide. The reason to get an individual policy is that you can now afford to pay the premium with your own money. Also you need a back up in health insurance, in case that you change jobs, or your company decides to cut down on some of the health insurance benefits and you are left uncovered.

With the Family: You have settled in your job, married, even have kids, so now is the time to consider buying health insurance cover for your family. Raising a family you know is a tight rope and one unplanned hospitalization can throw you into financial chaos. You cannot afford such hospitalization more than once or twice, in such times, having health insurance will make you relaxed at the health front.

You can either take a Family Floater at this time or can take individual covers for all the family members. For a younger family, Floater seems a better option as it is much more economical but you have to share the cover amount among all the members. An individual policy on the other hand is expensive but gives separate cover to all the members.

Retirement: You have retired and are about to embark a life away from the fast pace and the daily stress, but you are also worrying about your health that you have been ignoring since quite some time, will catch up with you and you will have to suffer from health issues.

If you have still not bought a health insurance, it is high time you did. Now that you don’t have the company covering your health, it is up to you to ensure that you can afford hospitalization costs. You will find that most of the insurance companies have restricted entry age and demand a medical test before admission. There are Senior citizen policies that have conditions that suit the aged groups. The waiting period is also reduced to 1 year.

After an expensive Hospitalization: You have undergone a surgery or medical treatment that had been expensive and now are rethinking whether the cover amount that you have will be enough for your needs. It is at this time the ‘Top-up’ Policy that comes to rescue. In this policy, if you have claimed a specific amount or the threshold amount for a treatment you can top up the cover amount with additional cover at a comparative cheaper rate. Top-up Policy will also have exclusions like waiting period of 30 days for coverage of any disease and 4 year exclusion for pre-existing diseases.