Old age brings with itself a number of health problems that can be quite expensive to treat. A senior citizen health insurance plan provides financial cover for medical treatments to individuals above the age of 60 in their time of need.
The rising cost of healthcare is a major concern for individuals everywhere. Taking the current rate of medical inflation into consideration, it is quite evident that having a health insurance policy is crucial. This holds especially true for senior citizens, who are more susceptible to diseases and disability. Paying hospital bills can prove to be a costly affair for such individuals as they are unlikely to have a regular stream of income (on account of being retired). Senior citizens are therefore advised to have a medical insurance policy in place at all times to cover the cost associated with hospitalization, should they fall ill or hurt themselves.
What is Senior Citizen Health Insurance?
As the name would suggest, senior citizen health insurance is specifically designed to meet the insurance needs of individuals between 60 years and 80 years of age. This product covers the medical treatments usually required by those falling within the age group. Almost all health insurance companies offer dedicated health insurance plans for senior citizens.
Features of Senior Citizen Health Insurance
Some of the key features of Senior Citizen Health Insurance are as follows:
- They are designed for individuals within the age group of 60 years and 80 years.
- Expenses related to hospitalization will be covered.
- Cashless hospitalization facility is available at network hospitals.
- Some companies have a co-payment clause, which requires that the insured bears a percentage of the claim amount while the insurer settles the rest.
- Many health insurance plans offer lifetime renewals.
- Underlying disease and some specific ailments would be liable to get covered after completion of the waiting period.
- Medical check-up is generally not required for availing a senior citizen health insurance plan.
- Tax benefits can be claimed for the premiums paid under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
Finding the Right Senior Citizen Health Insurance
Considering that most health insurance players offer senior citizen health insurance, it becomes crucial for one to know how to go about shortlisting the options available and selecting the best-suited policy. Here is a look at some of the factors that one must consider while looking for a senior citizen health insurance policy:
Sum Insured - The coverage amount of a medical insurance policy is an important element that must be looked into while comparing policies. The sum insured is the amount that the insurer will cover in the event of a claim. It is always advisable to opt for a policy with high sum insured as this ensures that expensive treatments are taken care of.
Co-payment - Co-payment is applicable on most senior citizens health insurance plans. It is mainly applicable for specific ailments, specified hospital charges and treatment hospital. E.g. co-payment could apply on room rent and specific illness and surgeries, including day care procedures. Under some plans, there could be co-payment if the treatment is taken in a non-network hospital.
Prior to buying medical insurance, it is necessary to get clarity on the applicability of co-payment. Individuals could ask for the waiver of co-payment in exchange for additional premium, if possible.
- Waiting Period - Senior citizens need to be very careful when they go through the waiting period of different medical insurance policies. There will be an initial waiting period of 30 days, when no diseases will be covered. However, accidental hospitalization shall be covered from day one.
Further, certain diseases are covered only after a specified period. The waiting period can range from 1 year to 4 years for certain diseases. Pre-existing ailments are usually only covered after the expiry of 4 claim-free years. It is advisable to look for those policies with minimal waiting period.
- Broad hospital network - It is recommended that one selects an insurance company that has a broad network of hospitals, particularly the good ones in the vicinity. This way, in the event of an emergency, it would be much easier for the individual to head to the hospital. One must opt for a health insurance policy from an insurer that has tied up with many hospitals, specializing in a wide range of medical treatments.
With cost of quality healthcare rising every year, it is necessary for all to have adequate medical insurance. Senior citizens should especially consider this as they are more vulnerable to infections and other health problems. Those who have only begun shopping for insurance after retirement are advised to consider availing a senior citizen health insurance plan.
While the premiums may be a tad higher than regular health plans, the individual can be assured of financial protection in the event he or she has to be hospitalized. Now, the options in the market are plenty. One can compare them on the basis of the elements mentioned above, and accordingly find the best-suited insurance policy