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Health Insurance 489 views February 24, 2019
The concept of buying health insurance is gaining increasing attention as an increasing number of people are getting hospitalized to seek treatment for chronic disorders. In a world where presence on the web has made it possible to contrast similar looking products and their features, one must compare health insurance policies based on their parameters including premium charges, health coverage, types of illnesses covered and tenure among others.
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You might wonder at the idea behind comparing the health insurance policies before choosing the one that suits your needs and budgetary requirements. Insurance is, in fact, a financial product. It is an agreement that promises to keep you and your loved ones covered in the event of unforeseen circumstances without hampering your financial stability. Insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product. Many people remain unaware of the nuances and importance of buying health insurance and continue to opt for cheap medical insurance only. Before choosing to buy a health insurance plan(s), you must take into consideration the following necessary factors:-
Insurance policyholders prefer a smooth and fast claim settlement process. Hassle-free claim settlement is the hallmark of a reliable insurance company. Look at the track record of the insurance company whose health insurance policy you wish to buy. Avoid insurers with lower claim settlement ratio. If possible, consider every insurer’s solvency margins, i.e., the ability to pay out claims. Also, find out the growth in the number of customers of every insurer every year. This can be evaluated by looking at the premium growth registered by the insurers on their websites. How long the insurance company has been into this business also counts as the insurer’s expertise mirrors the experience it has gained over the past few years. In addition, you must find out about the customer support efficiency of the insurer you wish to choose. An effective customer care department ensures timely solutions to the grievances of its customers.
Many insurance companies mandate two to the three-year waiting period for pre-existing disorders. The mandate period may be more in some of them. Check out the waiting period of the insurer while opting for its health plan. It is advisable to buy health cover when you are young. This is because there are lesser chances of falling ill, thus, making it relatively easier to clear the waiting period without considering the need to file claims. Choose a health insurance plan with a lower waiting period.
Buying health insurance plans for family necessitates the need to consider their lingering health problems, the frequency at which they are hospitalized and their medical history. Also, keep in mind the pre-existing disorders your family members may be suffering from and if they are covered within the medical insurance policy.
Know the insurer’s hospital network and if it includes the hospital or health care provider you prefer to get treated from. Learn about each insurance company’s cashless network of hospitals. This is to enable the insured to avail cashless treatment option during medical emergencies as the health care provider settles the bill directly with the insurer. Buy health insurance from that insurance company with the most number of hospitals in its network.
Skyrocketing medical expenses have resulted in increased costs of maternity care too. It helps to buy a health insurance policy that offers maternity benefits and takes care of the pregnancy costs of women. However, one must look at the waiting period and sub-limits too as the same would be applicable for claiming maternity benefits. Outpatient expenses must also be covered under the medical insurance plan while exclusions must be carefully looked at.
Be it pre-hospitalisation or post-hospitalization, costs of medical treatment are rising each year. Many insurance companies cover hospitalization expenses only. Opt to buy health insurance that takes care of pre-hospitalisation expenditure including visits to the doctor, buying medicines and undergoing necessary tests. The post-hospitalization expenses including charges on following up with the doctor and buying medicines during the entire course of treatment must also be a part of the healthcare insurance plan that you buy. Also, if you have elderly parents living with you who require frequent health check-ups, then find out if your health insurance plan covers for OPD services and ambulance charges too.
Buying health insurance does not mean that you would be making claims each year. To encourage policyholders into claiming only when it is most necessary, many health insurance companies offer cumulative bonus benefits if they had not made any claim on the policy during the previous year. In the case of no claims made, the amount of bonus gets accumulated every year. The collected bonus amount may benefit the insured either in the form of the increased sum insured or discount on premiums payable in the future or both.
No one buys health insurance only for a year, which means that it is preferable to buy policies that offer the option of lifetime renewability. Renewing health insurance policies from the same company ensures that you avail all the benefits of being a loyal customer of that insurance company. Also, since you are most likely to get ill with increasing age, paying for health insurance plans that offer lifetime renewability helps in the long run.
Many people are not aware of the free medical check-up facilities that some insurance companies provide. Though this does not affect the premium charges during policy renewal, having this option informs early about any probable disease incidence.
However, many health insurance companies make way for premium variants for added services including doctors’ second opinion, vaccination cover, wellness benefits among others. Avoid falling into the trap of paying higher premium charges in lieu of services that you might not need or would not avail in the long run. Buying a high-end health cover just to avail tax benefits. Instead of spending on costly health insurance plans, buy health insurance that offers more benefits at nominal premium charges. Invest the rest of the amount in other tax-saving schemes that allow you to create wealth too.
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