Topic 4: A beginner’s guide to health insurance: All you need to know to get started

It is said that the hardest times teach us the most valuable lessons. One such lesson that we have all learned in the recent past, is the importance of financial stability and proper healthcare support. Health insurance players have observed a commendable rise in demand, thus increasing health insurance penetration in the country.

With this rise in demand and the spreading awareness comes the need to educate ourselves. It is important for people from all ages to understand the right choice of health insurance for themselves and their loved ones. A health insurance plan should be designed to support your healthcare needs depending on factors like age, fixed income and serious ailments.

Young Adults and Early Jobbers: People from the age group of 25 to 35 years, who might have just started working, sometimes have a stringent financial situation. For such people there are a few things that should be considered while choosing an insurance plan.

Minimum waiting period – These individuals should choose an insurance policy which has a minimum waiting period. It is not necessary for them to wait for a longer time period unless they require a pre-existing disease cover.

Value for money – Financial planning is an important aspect for the early jobbers, so any investment should be done considering the value for money. In addition, there are several people with capital constraints and an insurance plan which provides substantial cover with adequate investment is beneficial for them.

Healthcare Network – The chosen insurance company should offer well-networked services across all the country. It is vital for an insurer to be able to provide quality healthcare services with their network of hospitals your city or town of residence.

Hassle-free services – Due to the pattern of life we have at the early stages of our life, there remains very less time to spare. Hence, it is necessary to choose an insurance provider with hassle-free services. Insurers offering easy access to policy documents, quick claims and claims resolution is a must as this will make life easier during an unfortunate hospitalization.

Aged 35-55 years or Families: As people grow older, their financial and healthcare priorities tend to change. While considering waiting period for pre-existing disease, network hospitals and hassle free claim processes, individuals and families in the age range of 35-55 years, require a few additional factors to be included while planning to buy a health insurance policy.

Higher sum insured – Most diseases are diagnosed during the fourth and fifth decade of one’s life. So, while buying an insurance cover, one should be ready to invest in policies with higher sum insured, preferably above 5 lacs.

Coverage for family – Young couples is advised to include family coverage plans that can provide security for their spouse, children and dependent parents as well. It is also prudent for people above 45 years to individually have an adequate sum insured.

Above 55 years and Post - retirement: Health insurance is a very important part of a retirement plan. Post-retirement health insurance support can be pre-planned by an individual or it can be provided by a loved one.

Wellness and preventive services – For someone above the age of 55 years, one should identify an insurance plan that offers more wellness and preventive services like a condition management program, yoga, meditation for diabetes or hypertension. The plan must provide and cover the expenses of tailor-made advice on health and nutrition

Home-care services – In the post-retirement phase, there is utmost need for choosing a health insurance plan that includes homecare, domiciliary and day-care services. This will help families meet the care requirements of the elderly without stressing their finances.

Telemedicine Services: Many insurers now provide telemedicine services as part of their policy. This is very helpful, especially for the elderly, as they can get easy access to a qualified healthcare specialist to address their concerns without the need to travel to a hospital or be dependent on their loved ones.

Critical Illness: Health insurance policies can help people be prepared to meet unforeseen medical expenses in the conceivable future. It enables financial support during incidents of healthcare emergencies. This is crucial for anyone who is susceptible to any critical illness due to their genetics.

Early decision making – People who are familiar to the threat of a critical illness, hereditarily, should not hesitate to buy a cover at the earliest.

Disease-specific policies – When there is a requirement of an insurance cover for a serious ailment, one should opt for plans like Cancer Care Policies, Policies for people diagnosed with Heart disease, etc., The right insurer can help people to address any medical emergency in the most appropriate manner. Health Insurance is like collateral security to safeguard one’s wealth. Let us promote awareness of the need for health insurance and thus help India achieve greater penetration.
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