When it comes to health insurance, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan that you can rely on. Of the numerous plans in the market, you will find that each is unique in some way, with its own benefits and limits. This makes purchasing health insurance a difficult task where painstaking research is sometimes required, before you find the right plan for you.
Before you go plan-hunting, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- What is my financial ceiling?
- What do I have to cover? Am I responsible only for myself? Do I have dependents? Am I planning for retirement yet? Am I already retired?
- How often do I need to visit the doctor?
- How much premium can I afford?
- Do I have any pre-existing medical conditions?
- How comprehensive a plan do I want?
- Do I need regular dental and/or vision check-ups?
- Do I use many prescription medicines?
- How much preventive care do I want?
- Am I constantly exposed to hazards such as the possibility of an accident, exposure to toxins, a weak immune system, etc.?
- Am I at risk of any hereditary diseases?
Knowing the answer to these questions will help you recognise which slot you fall into, and what your insurance needs are. It’ll narrow down your search and give you an estimate of how much you should be spending – and what benefits you ought to get for your money.Once you know your healthcare requirements, it’s time to go shopping. Even with the field narrowed down, it’s easy to lose sight of what you need. Here are some tips you should keep in mind to ensure that you aren’t buying the wrong plan:
- Know how much the average cost of your healthcare should be. For example, it is generally accepted that a Rs.5 lakh cover is sufficient for a single adult.
- Individual covers are usually more comprehensive than family plans, and also cheaper on your wallet in the long run. Moreover, individual health insurance plans cover most, if not all your checkups, pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses, and other domiciliary costs, which are usually somewhat limited in an umbrella cover.
- Check your policy to see if it provides cover for atypical expenses, like maternity, vision, dental, etc. If it doesn’t, find out if such covers can be added to your policy, or if they will be covered after a certain number of years have elapsed.
- Never select a policy based on premium alone. Find out what your insurer’s claim settlement history is. If they have a reputation for speedy claim resolution and better payouts, go for it. If, however, the claim settlement takes ages and too much paperwork or other hassles, search for another provider.
- Assess your risk-taking ability before you choose to opt for a floater plan. Though these are comparatively cheaper than individual plans, and provide cover for your entire family, they also mean that you have to assume a higher amount of risk in exchange for a smaller premium.
- If you are employed and your employer pays for your insurance cover, it would be wise to get a separate cover privately, as well. The main reason being – though workplace insurance covers are usually very beneficial, they may be terminated when you leave your organisation. Today, most people are mobile when it comes to changing jobs, so you might not always have a cover when you’re transitioning from one job to the next.
- Consider getting additional covers, like critical illness cover, accident cover, hospital cash, surgical cover, etc. These can be added to your existing policy as riders, for an added sum to your premium.