Health insurance is a type of insurance that covers medical expenses that arise due to an illness. These expenses could be related to hospitalisation costs, cost of medicines or doctor consultation fees.
Types of Health Insurance
There are two basic types of health insurance:
1. Mediclaim Plans
Mediclaim or hospitalisation plans are the most basic type of health insurance plans. They cover the cost of treatment when you are admitted to the hospital. The payout is made on actual expenses incurred in the hospital by submitting original bills. Most of these plans cover the entire family up to a certain limit.
2. Critical Illness Insurance Plans
Critical Illness Insurance Plans cover specific life-threatening diseases. These diseases could require prolonged treatment or even change in lifestyle. Unlike hospitalisation plans, the payout is made on Critical Illness cover chosen by the customer and not on actual expenses incurred in the hospital. The cover gives the flexibility to use the monies for changing lifestyle and medicines. Also it’s a substitute for income for the time you could not resume work due to illness. Payout under these plans are made on the diagnosis of the disease for which the original medical bills are not required.
Why do you need Health Insurance now?
No one plans to fall ill or get hurt, but a serious illness can strike anyone at any time. The cost of treating the illness can cause severe financial strain on the savings you have accumulated over time. This means that you might have to compromise on providing your child the best quality education or defaulting on your home loan payments. Today, the cost of medical treatment is continuously rising.
For e.g., Herceptin, a cancer medicine costs approximately 1,10,000 for a vial of 440 mg. Depending on the weight, a patient usually requires 17-19 bottles for treatment over a year . That’s 18 – 20 lakh just for the medicine~. Then add hospitalisation costs, doctor consultation fees, chemotherapy costs, etc. and your overall expenses could exceed 25 lakhs. These costs which are already very high are increasing every year. Most smart people have taken necessary precautions to insure their health as soon as possible. Health insurance is a living benefit, where you would need monies at the time of dire need. One disease can drain out all the savings you have made for your children’s education, marriage, for buying a house or even retirement. You would not want your family’s dreams to get shattered just because of an illness, especially when you could have protected yourself financially. It is beneficial to take a health insurance policy when you are young and healthy . As you get older, not only does your premium increase, but you also stand a chance of being denied a health cover by the insurance company.
How to choose a good health insurance plan?
Anybody who has a health insurance policy will tell you that buying one is one of the smartest financial decisions by any earning individual. Now, that you have decided to buy a health insurance policy, you need to know how to select a good health insurance plan that will take care of all your needs. Here is a list of benefits any good health insurance plan should offer you:
- Protection against a large number of critical illnesses
- Flexibility to choose your health cover
- No increase in premiums during the policy term even if your health condition changes
- Long policy term that covers you even in your old age
- Large hospital network for easy access to medical treatment
Should I buy a Mediclaim plan or a Critical Illness Insurance plan?
A Mediclaim plan will either reimburse all your hospitalisation expenses or settle the hospital bills via a cashless facility. With a Critical Illness Insurance plan, you will receive a lump-sum payout on the detection of a critical illness. You don’t have to be hospitalised for the same. If you are unable to work because of the illness, then you can use the amount as a substitute for your monthly income. You can even use the money to cover expenses for doctor visits, medicine purchases, medical tests or any other expense that might arise during this time. That is why you need both – a Mediclaim plan to cover your hospitalisation expenses and a Critical Illness Insurance plan to cover your loss of income and other expenses that arise due to an illness.
Different Types of Health Insurance in India
- 1.Individual insurance plans: This is the most common type of health insurance plan in India. Such a policy only covers an individual. It takes care of your medical costs in case you get admitted into a hospital. The premium in such cases will depend on personal factors such as your age, medical history, etc.
- 2.Family floater insurance plans: As the name suggests, this type of health insurance plan covers the entire family. It is similar to an individual policy except that the sum insured in this case is usually higher and is shared between the family members. One of the main advantages of such an insurance plan is that you need not manage different policies. Moreover, such policies are also more cost-effective than buying an individual policy for each member.
- 3.Senior citizen insurance plans: These health insurance policies are specially designed for senior citizens who are usually above the age of 60. Since old people are more likely to make a claim, the premium to be paid is higher in such cases. Also, many insurers don’t stress on a pre-medical screening or exclude pre-existing diseases before granting senior citizen insurance because old age often comes with health issues.
- 4.Critical illness insurance plans: A critical illness insurance plan insures you for fatal diseases such as kidney ailments, heart attacks, cancer, paralysis, etc. In such cases, the policyholder receives a lumpsum amount on the diagnosis of the covered illness. Unlike individual policies, no hospitalization is needed for claiming the money. Such a plan is advisable for those who have a history of such illnesses in their family.
- 5.Personal accident insurance plans: Accidents are common and the expenses they bring along can drain all your savings. A personal accident insurance covers the cost of medical treatment needed after an accident. Usually, such a policy offers benefits against 3 events – partial disability, total disability, and death due to accident.
- 6.Maternity insurance plans: These are women-specific health insurance plans. Such plans provide coverage for pre-natal and post-natal expenses along with the delivery and ambulance cost. A baby cover is also provided wherein the expenses related to the new-born baby are covered up to a certain duration. Most maternity plans have a waiting period before they get active. Thus, it is prudent to buy such cover as soon as a woman gets married. These can also be taken as an add on to a basic policy.
- 7.Unit Linked Insurance plans: Unit Linked Insurance Plans or ULIPs are insurance plans that double up as investments. When you pay the premium, a part of it is utilized for providing cover to you, as usual. The remaining amount of the premium is invested in a mix of equity and debt. With ULIPs, you not only secure your health but also build wealth for the future with the returns.
- 8.To sum it up: Illness can strike anytime and the cost of treatments, medicines and other medical expenses can run into lakhs. Thus, buying health insurance should be one of the first steps of an individual’s financial planning journey. There are different types of health insurance plans in India. You must assess your needs and personal conditions before choosing one.
Check out the health insurance benefits
Affordable Health Cover
Get `20 lakh health insurance cover for heart and cancer at less than `176 per month1
Existing Customers Discount
5% loyalty discount on first-year premium for all existing customers3
Payout On Diagnosis
Get paid on diagnosis of any of the listed Minor/Major conditions4
Waiver Of Premium
In the case of a minor/major claim or on the diagnosis of permanent disability due to accident5