Every individual’s health is different and needs vary accordingly. However one thing every individual should buy is a health insurance. This is because medical inflation is at rise coupled with lifestyle related diseases. With multiple health insurance insurance plans available in the market, it is confusing especially for a first time buyer to choose a desired plan and most importantly the insurer.
Here are the common health plans available in the already flooded Indian insurance market:
Individual health plan: It is a very basic healthcare plan typically covering treatments undertaken when hospitalized. The cover extends to pre- and post- hospitalization expenses on medication and diagnostics, subject to limits and conditions in the policy.
Family floater plans: This is an extended version of individual health plan. It covers a family by spreading the risk across the members. For instance, a Rs. 2, 00, 000 cover is spread across four members; two adults and two children. This plan is most recommended to those who cannot afford individual plans for every member of the family. Although different families have different healthcare needs, a family floater policy with a sum insured of minimum 10-15 Lakh is highly recommended for families living in metro cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and others. The reason for higher sum insured plan is because in such cities the cost of medical treatment is very high compared to smaller cities like Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Surat, and others.
Read more on family vs. individual plans.
Senior citizen health plans: As they name indicates, these are the plans for individuals who’ve crossed 60 years of age. Such plans come with a lower value of cover, due to the predictable risks associated. If you are a senior person with no health insurance in the kitty, then you should buy a basic health cover to reduce the financial burden on you or your dependents, in case of any hospitalization. But remember that, not many companies in India offer plans for senior as probability of health risks go up as you grow older. And if they do, exclusions create hindrance. This is the reason why medical insurance should be bought at an early age as premium is low as risks are minimal.
Check out what to look for in a senior citizen plan.
Group health cover: Provided by employer to their employees with additional benefits that individual plan do not offer. The most important benefit is that the pregnancy is covered in most of the plans, which typically is not covered in an individual or family floater. And if covered, waiting period is applied.
Hospital cash: Such plan pays a fixed sum for each day spent in the hospital. This sum excludes room rent and medical treatment undergone during the stay at the hospital. It acts as a buffer as it prevents income loss due to hospitalization.
Critical illness plan: Long term critical illness health lists wide range of cost, low incidence critical health conditions such as cancer, stroke, or kidney failure that it covers for 20 years period. Most recommended to individuals having family history of critical ailment or the ones leading a lifestyle which typically leads to such illnesses. It also helps to cover medical bills and other related expenses and acts as a supplement to health insurance plan.
Top-up and super-top up plans: This cover goes beyond the threshold limit or the maximum limit of the existing health insurance policies. For instance, if an individual has an individual cover of Rs. 3, 00,000 and also a top-up cover for 10, 00,000; the threshold limit of 3 lakh will work the best.
If you are not happy with your health plan, then transfer option is also available.
Choosing a right insurer after going through terms and conditions in detail is also a key factor to be considered in addition to the type of plan. It’s your duty to know as much as possible about your policy and its features/benefits.