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How Indians Buy Health Insurance?

The ‘Chalta Hai’ approach of Indians has landed us in trouble several times. And when it comes to buying the suitable health insurance plan, it’s something you ought to shun.

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Sania was upset. She had just been to her office get-together where one of her colleague was also in exactly same dress as her. All her excitement just faded even before the party began. While we look for uniqueness even with as simple as a dress why standardize our health policy as our friend, relative or neighbor? When it comes to buying a health insurance policy, we tend to follow the flock. We habitually end up investing in the same plan bought and endorsed by the people around us even without understanding its appropriateness.

And if this is not sufficient, there are a few other bloopers we commit when it comes to buying a health insurance cover for ourselves. Let us see how Indians buy a health insurance plan:

  • By imitating: You might buy the same shirt your neighbor has, but do you also buy his size? Most of us imitate the plan choice of our neighbors or friends thinking that since it suits them, it would suit us too. What we ignore is that our neighbor has a family of four which he insured but we might be still in the family planning process. Won’t you require a maternity cover in the plan which your neighbor does not? Health plans have different features and when it comes to buying, you should compare the plans against their features and choose the plan most suitable to your requirement and not your neighbor’s or friend’s. Your neighbor’s choice of buying a plan should invoke a feeling of inspiration and not imitation.

  • By relying completely on your family agent: So there is an uncle who comes to your place whom you have seen all through your growing years carrying out the insurance requirements of your father and now it’s your turn. An agent may help you in buying a plan but you should not depend on him completely. He might be your trusted family agent but being the representative of one company only, the choice of plans with him will be limited. Moreover, in times of claims, the agent might not help you with the gamut of technical aspects. Another aspect of your policy is the fine prints or the term and conditions, which, your agent might overlook at the time of sale. Buying from a broker is more helpful as you can compare the plans, choose the best features and rates and your broker will also help with your claim assistance.

  • By buying the cheapest plan: If the cheapest things would have been the best, we would not have invested in recognized brands. On an average, whenever we buy health insurance, we compare between the available plans on the basis of their premium rate and buy the cheapest plan. Comparison of health plans only on the premium rate is foolish because there are the inherent features to consider too. What if your plan is cheap but provides a limited coverage? Who will pay for the other expenses not covered by your plan? The features alongside the premiums should be compared while buying health insurance and even if an all-inclusive plan costs a tad bit higher, you should buy it so that all aspect of your hospitalization are covered and you are spared of the hidden costs.

  • By ignoring the fine print: We think that once we buy a health plan, all our expenses will be covered without any exceptions. But, we are wrong. Every health plan has a list of exclusions mentioned in the policy wording, those long pages we often ignore. These demand a look-over to know which expenses are excluded so that when the claim is rejected you don’t feel cheated.

  • By hiding medical facts: The common misconception among us is that if we have certain ailment, we should not disclose it while buying a plan for the fear of either rejection or an increase in premium. Though you might be right about the consequences of hiding important medical facts, you are forgetting one thing. In case of claim, if it is found that such facts were hidden, your claim might get rejected. You should disclose all relevant facts even though they might cause an increase in premium because that would at least ensure honoring of your claim.

  • By taking the lowest cover: Most of us detest insurance and for those who are even aware of its importance, a very low cover is opted in the health insurance plan. But will the low cover be sufficient? Considering the rising medical costs coupled with the rising disease afflictions, the answer is a firm NO. You need a sufficient cover if you wish to protect your savings from any medical emergency. If you think affordability will be an issue, buy top-up plans to supplement your cover and deal with the affordability issue. Do not get trapped by the low premiums offered by low coverages, your cover should be optimum.

'Jugaad' is a common phenomenon that we Indians have devised to deal with every aspect of life. But, when it comes to health insurance, sticking to this phenomenon will surely spell your doom. Whenever a medical contingency will arise, you will suffer, both physically and financially. Hence, it’s imperative to wisely invest in a health insurance cover. And as for our good friend Sania, it didn’t take her long to realize that replicating the dress isn’t that significant but duplicating a health insurance policy, is a definite NO!

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Aniket Thakker
Written by Aniket Thakker
He lives off TV shows, movies, junk food, comics and sarcasm. When he is not working as a freelance imaginary friend to other beings like him, he works as VP of Marketing at Coverfox.

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