Most people at some point in their lives have had terrible thoughts about ending up in hospital. Or contracting some dreaded illness. If you’re a hypochondriac like me, you probably have woken up in cold sweat from a nightmare around a loved one or your own horrible illness more than once! But you know what’s more horrible than that? The idea of you struggling with reams and reams of hospital bills along with dealing with the illness.
The only practical way to allay some of these fears is to invest in a good health insurance policy. With that arises the million-dollar question: Which would be the chosen one? Which health insurance policy will have the privilege to service your highness’s unforeseen health expenses? Seems like too much work? It isn’t actually.
By asking the below set of 10 questions, you will be able to understand all the important clauses and their relevance to you. So you can be the invincible hero in the “Battle of the EVIL HEALTH COST DRAGON v/s THE ULTIMATE INSURANCE UNICORN”
1) What is the coverage amount you need?
When zeroing in on the coverage amount, you must have a long-term view of your health costs. Sure, you are healthy today and may require at best, a cover of a couple of lakh rupees. But think about 10, 15, 20 years from today. There is a high chance that your medical bills will grow substantially in the coming years. That second slice of greasy pizza you just polished off may come back to haunt you 10 years ahead. Don’t wait to top up your coverage as you go along. Choose a coverage amount on the higher side, while you are younger and the premium would be low for you.
2) Are you comparing premiums to decide? Don’t.
The insurance ninjas at Coverfox work tirelessly to make it extremely simple for you to choose the policy you need, so why are you still making your choices based on premiums only? Understand and evaluate your requirements, now and in the long term. Is the policy suitably covering the illnesses you may be prone to? Zero in on the policy of your choice accordingly.
3) Is there any limit on per day of hospitalization?
While researching, you may come across several attractive looking choices, with low premiums with a tiny clause that makes all the difference. I’m talking about the per day limit on your hospitalization costs. Be careful about this. Because this means irrespective of the magnitude of the procedure you only get that cash limit coverage per day on hospitalization charges. Think about the difference in your daily hospital charges between small procedures vs big ones. This would then cause you a lot of heartburn besides, of course, burn your pockets.
4) What is maximum entry age that your chosen plan covers?
We all must agree that health insurance is most useful as we grow older and are more susceptible to illnesses. Lifestyle related or old age related illnesses are mostly chronic and come with regular and large, long drawn medical bills. With the advancement in medicine, it is happy news indeed that our average life expectancy has consistently been increasing. Most policies in the market today have an age limit. Ensure you choose the one with the maximum age, or better still no age limit. Anything below the age limit of 70 should be a complete no no. Most importantly, don't defer the option of buying a health insurance later in life, because you stand a chance of being rejected by an insurance company based on your medical history. However, no insurance company can reject renewal of an existing policy holder.
5) What is the treatment wise limit on your plan?
What is the policy saying about particular illnesses? What is the limit for, say, knee replacement? What about cardiac illnesses? You need to be cognizant of these limits, especially if you are prone to those mentioned illnesses to make the most of the policy chosen.
6) What is the policy saying for your old folks?
Most insurers will be reluctant to cover folks over 45 years. This gets worse if you have pre existing illnesses. Hence it is important, when choosing a policy to help cover your parents’ health expenses you have weighed in the limitations and clauses and restrictions within your policy so that in the time of need, this doesn’t come across as an unpleasant and a rather expensive surprise.
7) Is the company known? What is being said about overall claims experience, responsiveness?
You have been googling about cats, funny ice bucket challenge videos and the perfect daal makhni recipe. What stops you from researching a little about the company you are considering to buy your insurance from. Ask around, look for bad reviews coming up too often in your searches. What is the company’s reputation on claims, responsiveness? You will be thankful later.
8) What does the policy say about premium post 45 years of age? Does it jump substantially?
Insurance companies and statistics are best friends. They spend copious amounts of money and time to develop these insurance policies. After all, they need to make sure they don’t run into massive losses. And in the current state of affairs the number 45 raises alarm bells for insurance companies. Premiums take a steep rise post 45. So be aware of this, and work out the math as to how this changed premium will affect you.
9) Is your plan a little too extensive in terms of coverage?
Do you really want coverage on your wisdom tooth extraction? Does it really burn your pocket to pay the doctor for a routine consultation? Chances are it doesn’t. If you go looking for coverage on simple routine procedures, your insurance company may cover it, but will charge you a bomb for it. Not only that, it may also affect your claim for other, more expensive routines. Why waste money, especially when the sole purpose of investing in a health insurance policy is to safeguard yourself from large hospital bills.
10) What are the waiting periods and exclusions in disorders and procedures?
The waiting period clause is to defend the Insurance Company from fraudsters. This waiting period can be as high as 3-4 years for conditions that already exist (pre-existing conditions) before buying an insurance plan. If you have suffered from any of these or have a family history – it is very important to check what your policy says about that. Don't assume or ignore, else you might be sorry.
So what are you waiting for, your 45th birthday? Buy your health insurance today. Those evil health cost dragons aren’t going to slay themselves!