What should I keep in mind while purchasing Health Insurance?

1. It is always better to start your coverage at an early age.
o With age the risk to our health only increases, consequently making insurance more expensive with age
o What is also an important consideration is that most companies are now providing guaranteed renewals for life once you are issued a health insurance policy and you are most likely to ‘get in’ when young
o Another key factor is the existence of an exclusion period (generally 2-4 years) for certain illnesses or medical conditions. One could, most likely, see through this exclusion period without any complications in the early part of one’s life and be covered for such conditions at a later stage

2. Make sure that you insure yourself and / or your family for an adequate amount of cover.
o While choosing this amount do take into account the costs associated with the treatments on conditions that you want to insure for as well as your premium paying capacity.
o Do not restrict your cover to the nominal amount that may be required to meet your tax exemption limits only
o You could always choose from between Individual Health Plans that provide cover for an individual or Family Floater policies that cover the entire family (usually restricted to self, spouse and children – parents are not covered under such plans). While a family floater may turn out to be cheaper than taking 2 or more individual policies, the associated cover provided is at a family level. For e.g. if you take 2 Individual policies with a Rs. 200,000 Sum Assured each for yourself and your spouse, then both of you are covered for Rs. 200,000 each. However, if you take a family floater with a Rs. 200,000 Sum Assured then this limit applies to the two of you together

3. While you will surely compare premiums associated with various products that you compare, make sure you consider some of these features as well:
o Cashless hospitalisation: a facility in which a person can get the required treatment while the medical expenses are settled by the insurance company directly with the hospital if the hospital comes under its network. You may, therefore, also want to compare the associated network of hospitals of each insurer.
o Cumulative Bonuses or Premium Discount: Some products carry incentives for ‘claim free’ years and offer either an increased Sum Assured for no extra cost or a reduced premium for your Sum Assured
o Exclusions: Do carefully review the exclusion list of each product. Needless to say, for the same amount of cost you would want to go for the product that has the least number of exclusions. Alternately, you may want to be covered for a specific medical condition which may actually be excluded in a given product.
o Maximum age of Renewal: This is the age to which the company would continue to provide you with health insurance on payment of premiums. You may want to go for a product with a higher maximum age of renewal.
o Other benefits: You may also want to compare certain other benefits such as Ambulance charges, coverage for day care procedures (for which hospitalization is not required) etc.

It is always important to carefully review the products’ benefits, terms and conditions and associated features – get complete information on available choices and compare before you buy. As we keep saying Health Insured is Wealth Protected.

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